Scope and Contents
The collection consists of writings, lectures and speeches, correspondence, research material, and material on the invention of the McCormick Reaper spanning 1913-1930. The writings (approximately 1913-1926) form the largest series and contain partial drafts of three of Latané's works: History of the United States (1918), History of American Foreign Policy (1927), and From Isolation to Leadership (1918, 1922).
Latané was interested in the political issues surrounding World War I and the inter-war period. His concerns included the use of the Monroe Doctrine, neutrality, the role of the League of Nations, and U.S.-Latin American relations. These matters are reflected in both his writings and speeches. Essays on "Arbitration, Security and Disarmament," "The Monroe Doctrine and American Policy of Isolation in Relation to a Just and Durable Peace," and "The Revised Covenant of the League of Nations" illustrate his views.
Unfortunately, the papers do not contain any letters by or to Latané that address contemporary concerns. The correspondence (1923-1926) is mostly administrative, and deals with graduate school admissions and job applications. Occasionally, Latané would go into greater detail with a student about his work. His correspondence with S. G. Coe discusses Coe's work on the Continental Congress and the finer points of his dissertation. Also, correspondence with J. Franklin Jameson of the Carnegie Institute, details dissertations in progress, dissertations finished and courses taught between 1923-1925.
In 1913, Latané undertook an investigation of the invention of the reaper. Descendants of Cyrus McCormick's brother, Leander, claimed that the reaper had actually been Cyrus's father's idea. At the request of a Mrs. Emmons Blaine of Chicago, Latané researched (with the help of W. G. McDowell) the claims of both sides. He established, through contemporary newspaper accounts and interviews with long-time residents of Rockbridge County, Virginia, that Cyrus had indeed invented the reaper. Latané's research notes and a typescript of his findings form the McCormick Reaper series.
The research material series consists mainly of printed material about World War I, the Mexican Revolution, and post-war issues gathered by Latané. Subjects covered include the League of Nations, the World Court, and United States-Latin American relations (particularly with Nicaragua).