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Paul F. Boller, Jr. Papers

Identifier: MS101

Scope and Content

The papers document the life and career of Paul Boller. The papers consist of materials related to Boller’s published and unpublished writings, as well as professional correspondence, research material, and course material. Included in the papers are personal correspondence and diaries that provide an insight into Boller’s private life, as well as promotional material for his written works.


  • Creation: 1887-2010 (inclusive), 1948-2004 (bulk).
  • Creation: 1948 - 2004


Terms Governing Use

Collection is open for research. Copyright has been transferred to Texas Christian University.

Biographical Sketch

Paul F. Boller, Jr. was born on December 31, 1916 in Spring Lake, New Jersey. He graduated from Yale University in 1939 with a B.A. degree and proceeded to Yale Graduate School. He attended the U.S. Navy Language School in Boulder, Colorado in 1942 and 1943 and served in the U.S. Navy as a translator of Japanese in the Language Section JICPOA [Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Area] in Honolulu and Guam. After completing his naval service in 1946, Boller returned to Yale and graduated with his Ph.D. in 1947. Over the next sixty years, Boller worked as a professor of history at various academic institutions and as a writer of nationally best-selling histories.

After leaving Yale in 1947, Boller worked as a political-economic Naval Intelligence Analyst in the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C. In 1948, he left this civilian analyst position to become an assistant professor of history at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he later became a full professor. He taught as a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin during 1963 and at Queens College in New York during the summer of 1964. During his tenure as a professor in Texas Boller began writing books, beginning with 1961’s controversial high school textbook, This Is Our Nation, with Jean Tilford. Critics questioned his loyalty to American values and accused Boller of being associated with “communist-front organizations.” A group called Texans for America, especially spokesman J. Evetts Haley, unsuccessfully attempted to have the textbook banned from classrooms due to its so-called “soft” stance on communism. In 1963, he wrote George Washington and Religion. Disagreements with the administration at SMU led Boller to leave the school for a position at the University of Massachusetts at Boston in 1966. During the ten years in which he taught there, he wrote three notable books, Quotesmanship: the Use and Abuse of Quotations for Polemical and Other Purposes in 1967, American Thought in Transition: the Impact of Evolutionary Nationalism, 1865-1900 in 1969, and American Transcendentalism,1830-1860: an Intellectual Inquiry in 1974.

Boller left the University of Massachusetts in 1976 to take up the appointment of the newly-created Lyndon Baines Johnson Chair of American History at Texas Christian University. In 1978 he wrote Freedom and Fate in American Thought before becoming a nationally best-selling author with Presidential Anecdotes in 1981. Anecdotesbecame a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and led to an Oxford book tour in the fall of 1981. He retired from teaching in 1983 to become a professor emeritus and devoted himself to scholarship. He completed his trilogy of presidential books with Presidential Campaigns in 1984 and Presidential Wives in 1988. Other books Boller wrote after he retired included Hollywood Anecdotes in 1987, A More Perfect Union with Ron Story in 1988, They Never Said It with John George in 1989, Congressional Anecdotes in 1991, Memoirs of an Obscure Professor in 1992, Not So!: Popular Myths About America in 1995, and Presidential Inaugurations in 2001.

During his distinguished career, Dr. Boller received the Henry Seward Fellowship, the Ford Foundation Faculty Fellowship, the Foote-Sheldon Clark Fellowship, the Macy- Howard Fellowship, the TCU Brachman Award for Excellence in Teaching, MortarBoard Top Professor Award, Honorary Alumnus Award, the John H. McGinnis Award, the Honors Faculty Recognition Award, and a 1993 doctorate in literature, honoris causa, from Texas Wesleyan University.


15.25 Linear feet

Language of Materials



Arranged in four series and four additions: Series I. Personal Papers, 1887-2004. Series II. Correspondence, 1935-2004. Series III. Writings, 1937-2004. Series IV. Course Material, 1949-1993. Accession 2007-M-008, 1920-2007. Accession 2009-M-001, 1940-2009. Accession 2009-M-004, 2004-2007. Accession 2010-M-001, 1972- 2010; Accession 2011-M-004, 2007-2011, Accession 2012- M-001, 2009-2012.


Gift of Paul F. Boller, Jr., 2004, 2007, 2009, and 2010.

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Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Mary Couts Burnett Library Repository

TCU Box 298400
2800 S. University Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76129-0001
Fort Worth Texas 76129
(817) 257-4566
(817) 257-7282 (Fax)