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Personal papers of Harold Orel

Call Number: PP 615


Harold Orel was a Professor of English specializing in Victorian and Edwardian literature at the University of Kansas. His papers include professional correspondence, teaching and research materials, conference materials and speaking notes, materials related to publications by Orel and other scholars, and personal ephemera.


  • Creation: 1941 - 2012


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Harold Orel

Harold "Hal" Orel was born in 1926 in Boston, Massachusetts. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as part of the Atlantic Fleet Camera Party, and went on to earn his BA in English at the University of New Hampshire in 1948. In 1949 he received his MA in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, followed by his PhD in English Language and Literature from the same university in 1952.

On completion of his PhD, Orel taught for four years in the English Department of the University of Maryland, including a year in their overseas program in Germany, Austria, and England. He then took up an associate professorship in the English Department of the University of Kansas (KU), earning the title of Distinguished Professor in 1975.

In addition to his teaching duties, Orel served as the Assistant Dean of Faculties in the Office of Research Administration from 1964 to 1967. During his time at KU, Orel published 30 books, of which he was either editor or author, and contributed numerous essays to encylopedias, anthologies, and academic journals. The majority of his monographs concern Thomas Hardy, but Orel wrote on a wide variety of other authors, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Darwin, and Rebecca West. Orel retired from KU in 1997, but remained an active scholar, publishing books and articles with regularity until shortly before his death in 2017.

Orel was active in a number of professional organizations and societies relating to his research interests, including the English and American branches of the Thomas Hardy Society, Modern Language Assocation (MLA), Royal Society of Literature, and American Committee on Irish Studies (now the American Conference for Irish Studies), of which he was a co-founder.

Orel also had a keen interest in technical writing and editing, working as a technical editor and consultant at the Applied Physics Laboratory in Silver Spring, MD and in the General Electric Aviation Jet Turbine Division in Cinncinnati, Ohio. After arriving in Kansas, he began work as a consultant at the Midwest Research Institute (MRI), giving training and seminars to staff on technical writing, with a particular emphasis on proposals and technical reports. He also gave guest lectures and seminars on technical writing to engineering students at KU.


29.5 Linear Feet (30 boxes + 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

Orel's papers comprise materials relating to Orel's academic and teaching career at the University of Maryland and at KU, arranged into four sub-series: University materials, including professional correspondence, university committee documentation, and teaching materials. Other series include Professional organizations and development, including materials from organizations and societies to which Orel belonged as well as conference and speaking engagement materials; Publications, including research materials and publications by Orel, sometimes in collaboration with others, on various topics in English literature; and Personal ephemera, comprising materials from Orel's youth through the end of his career.

Physical Location

PP 615

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Tim Orel, 2017, 2019.

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Guide to the Harold Orel Collection
Personal papers of Harold Orel
Finding aid prepared by vej, 2019. Finding aid encoded by vej, 2019. Finding aid revised by eje, 2022.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Harold Orel, PP 615, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States