• IdentificationMidwest MS Young
  • TitleInventory of the Alfred F. Young Papers, ca. 1950-2011 Midwest.MS.Young
  • PublisherThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • RepositoryThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • Physical Description47.5 linear feet (38 record cartons)
  • Dateca. 1950-2011
  • Location1 50 4-5; 1 51 4-5
  • AbstractResearch working files, correspondence, and writings of Alfred F. Young, prominent historian of the ordinary people of the American Revolution and mentor to a whole generation of younger scholars. Young taught for over 25 years at Northern Illinois University and after his retirement was a senior research fellow at the Newberry Library.
  • OriginationYoung, Alfred Fabian, 1925-

Gift, Marilyn M. Young, 2015.

The Alfred F. Young Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

The Alfred F. Young Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Alfred F. Young Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Martha T. Briggs, 2015.

Northern Illinois professor of history specializing in the study of the ordinary people of the American Revolution, and Newberry Library senior scholar in residence.

Upon completing his education at Columbia and Northwestern, and teaching in eastern colleges, Young arrived at Northern Illinois University in 1964. During his 25-year career there, he became one of the institution’s most influential scholars, redefining the study of America’s founding by emphasizing the role of ordinary people. His widely acclaimed published works include The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution (Beacon Press, 2000), Masquerade: The Life and Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier (Vintage, 2005), and Liberty Tree: Ordinary People and the American Revolution (NYU Press, 2006).

In addition to his academic duties, Young also promoted history among the general public. During the nation’s 1976 Bicentennial, he took his slideshow about Revolutionary era artisans on the road, and years later worked on an American Social History Project video about Boston shoemaker George Robert Twelves Hewes. Young also co-curated “We the People,” a Chicago Historical Society exhibition that ran from 1987-2005.

Al Young spent much of his retirement as a Senior Scholar in Residence at the Newberry. There he helped create a vibrant scholarly community and assisted in founding the library’s Early American History Seminar, one of the Newberry’s longest continuously running scholarly gatherings.

Mainly Young’s research working files and notes, together with his manuscripts of his writings, correspondence, and the works of historian colleagues. Most of this material focuses on Young’s research into the lives of everyday people, especially in Boston and New England. His correspondence with historians, graduate students, and others reveals his importance to many as a professional colleague and mentor.

Young’s research working files are followed by his own works and correspondence, the writings of others, and slides. Boxed alphabetically by major topic as they were kept by Young, the research files also contain correspondence and writings of Young and his colleagues.

Collection is unprocessed and remains in the order imposed upon it by the creator.

  • Names
    • Gannett, Deborah Sampson, 1760-1827
    • Hewes, George R. T., (George Robert Twelves), 1742-1840
    • Northern Illinois University.
    • Young, Alfred Fabian, 1925-
  • Subject
    • Chicago
    • Manuscripts, American -- Illinois -- Chicago
    • Women