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Guide to the Richard Rhodes Collection

Richard Rhodes papers


Creator:Rhodes, Richard, 1937-
Title: Richard Rhodes papers
Dates: 1938-2011
Quantity: 85.70 linear feet (86 boxes + 8 oversize boxes)
Abstract:Richard Rhodes, born in Kansas City, Kansas, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose many books and articles reflect his wide ranging subject interests. In these papers are manuscripts of his writings, copies of his many published works, related correspondence, some personal material and photographs, and the author's extensive research files, containing more than one hundred audio tapes of interviews that he conducted.
Language: Multiple languages
Language: Mostly English; also Spanish, Polish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, German, and Korean.

Call Number:

RH MS 1134
RH Cassette Tape 47
RH MS-P 1134(f)
RH MS-P 1134
RH MS R246
RH MS 1239
RH MS Q344
RH MS R309
RH Tape 38
RH MS 1260
RH MS Q356

Call Number:

RH MS 1134
RH Cassette Tape 47
RH MS-P 1134(f)
RH MS-P 1134
RH MS R246
RH MS 1239
RH MS Q344
RH MS R309
RH Tape 38
RH MS 1260
RH MS Q356

Repository: University of Kansas
Kenneth Spencer Research Library
1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence, KS 66045-7616
URL: http://spencer.lib.ku.edu/
Finding aid prepared by sh and sf, 2008; revised by cc, 2011; revised by mwh, 2018.
This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2018-01-18 12:38:04 -0600.

BIOGRAPHY of Richard Lee Rhodes

Richard Lee Rhodes was born on July 4, 1937 at Kansas City, Kansas, the youngest of three sons born to Arthur and Georgia Collier Rhodes. Following his mother's suicide in 1938 and his father's subsequent remarriage, Rhodes and his brother Stanley suffered severe childhood abuse, which culminated in their admittance to the Andrew Drumm Institute for orphaned boys at Independence, Missouri.

In 1959, Rhodes graduated cum laude from Yale University, earning a bachelor's degree in history and letters. He afterward trained as a writer at Newsweek magazine, taught English, and worked in corporate public relations before turning full-time to writing.

Rhodes' many books, both fiction and non-fiction, and articles in numerous fields of interest have been widely published. His 1986 history of the atomic bomb's development, The Making of the Bomb, was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction as well as a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award. Topics of Rhodes' major works have included the American Middle West, the Ozarks, the 19th century artist and naturalist John James Audubon, the development of the hydrogen bomb, the history of "mad cow" and other similar diseases, the history of Adolf Hitler's death squad, the life of criminologist Lonnie Athens, case histories of childhood abuse, and the ill-fated pioneers of the Donner Party.

Rhodes is an affiliate of Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation and has received grants from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Scope and Contents

The Richard Rhodes papers date from 1938 to 2011 and are arranged in 7 series: Family/Personal Papers, Correspondence, Writings, an addition to the collection, oversize materials, Photographs, and Audiovisual materials.

The photographic images, which include prints, negatives, slides, and microfilm, are located at RH MS-P 1134. Oversize photographs are at RH MS-P 1134 (f). The collection's compact audio cassettes, which include microcassettes, are at RH Cassette Tape 47. They include more than 100 interviews conducted by Rhodes for purposes of his research. In Boxes 76 and 77 are several videotapes, sound recordings, and 8-track audio cassettes.

RH MS 1239, RH MS Q344, RH MS R309, and RH Tape 38 are all later additions to this collection. They mainly consist of research materials for many of his articles, most of which are included in this collection in their final form, as well as drafts and galley proofs of some of Rhodes's books.

RH MS 1260 is an addition onto the Richard Rhodes papers dating from 1938 to 2006. This series includes drafts for his more recent books dating to 2007 through 2011. This series is made up of three boxes.

RH MS Q356 is an addition onto the Richard Rhodes papers dating from 1938 to 2006. This series contains oversize drafts of the illustration inserts for his more recent books.

Series List


Conditions Governing Access

Access to RH MS 1134 box 50 of this collection is prohibited prior to the year 2050, except by permission of Richard Rhodes or his heirs.

Conditions Governing Use

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



Alvarez, Luis W., 1911-1988
Athens, Lonnie H.
Audubon, John James, 1785-1851


Adult child sexual abuse victims -- United States -- Case studies
Atomic bomb -- History
Criminal psychology -- Case studies
Donner Party -- Fiction
Germany -- History -- 1933-1945
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Middle West -- Social life and customs
Nuclear energy -- United States
Ozark Mountains -- Description and travel
Prion diseases -- Popular works
Technology -- History -- 20th century

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Richard Rhodes papers, RH MS 1134, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas