James O. Breeden collection of student papers
A Guide to the Collection
Dr. James O. Breeden worked as a professor of American history at Southern Methodist University. Breeden received a Ph.D. from Tulane University in New Orleans, and taught at SMU from 1969 until 2004.
He specialized in antebellum Southern history, and also taught an undergraduate course on the history of SMU. As Dr. Breeden explained, the great benefit of the class was to give students writing experience. Rather than simply looking up secondary source information, students engaged in primary research using university records from the SMU Archives in the DeGolyer Library on campus. "I expect them to improve their powers of analysis and to use creativity to put information together from different types of sources," Breeden said. "If they understand the history of where they are, they will be better equipped to deal with it."
Topics researched in the class included the development of the SMU athletic program in the early years of the university, events in the life of SMU during a particular era, and the history of SMU fundraising drives. The papers that students wrote were expected to be roughly twenty pages in length. Copies of the papers were kept in the SMU archives for future use by researchers.
In addition, students also studied the history of higher education in the United States; Dr. Breeden assigned SMU professor Marshall Terry’s book From High on the Hilltop: A Brief History of SMU as a class textbook.
Now retired, Dr. Breeden holds the title of professor emeritus of history from SMU.
"Hilltop history: Students use archives to conduct research on University." Annotations (Vol. III, No. II), Fall 2001, pg. 2.
Mears, John. Recollections on James Breeden. Email, Southern Methodist University Clements Department of History.
The papers in this collection have been arranged into one series. The majority of the collection is made up of student papers written for Dr. Breeden’s course on the history of SMU. They date from the early 1990s. The topics of the papers range from the history of the baseball program at SMU; to the writing of "Varsity," the school song; to SMU students’ reactions to the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
Also included are drafts from SMU English professor Marshall Terry’s book From High on the Hilltop, a brief history of the university that was used as a textbook for Dr. Breeden’s class.
Users should note that the SMU Archives also contains another collection of papers from Dr. Breeden. The Breeden faculty papers collection (SMU 1993.0200) contains material on the SMU history department, faculty and administration, academic- and campus life-related committees on which Dr. Breeden served, and SMU athletics. These papers date from about 1972 until 1992. This collection is also open for research use.
Access to Collection:
Collection is open for research use.
Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.
James O. Breeden collection of student papers, Southern Methodist University Archives, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.
Gift, James O. Breeden.
Paul H. Santa Cruz, 2009.
Lara Corazalla, 2009.
Detailed Description of the Collection