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University of Texas at Austin

Gregory Vlastos:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Vlastos, Gregory, 1907-1991
Title: Gregory Vlastos Papers
Dates: circa 1930s-1991
Extent: 100 document boxes (42.00 linear feet)
Abstract: The papers of philosopher Gregory Vlastos, a scholar of ancient Greek philosophy who spent most of his career studying the thought of Plato and Socrates, document his studies, his writings, and his career as an educator at several American universities.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-4361
Language: English, with Ancient Greek, French, German, Italian, Latin, Modern Greek, and Spanish
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. Part or all of this collection is housed off-site and may require up to three business days’ notice for access in the Ransom Center’s Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material:

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Gifts, 1993-2010 (G9070, G9134, G9163, G9225, G9252, G9628, G9979, G9982, G10214, G10288, G11877, 10-03-014-G)
Processed by: Hope Rider, 2006; updated by Joan Sibley, 2016

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

The papers of philosopher Gregory Vlastos (1907-1991), a scholar of ancient Greek philosophy who spent most of his career studying the thought of Plato and Socrates, document his studies, his writings, and his career as an educator at several American universities, especially Cornell, Princeton, and The University of California at Berkeley. The papers are arranged in six series: I. Correspondence and Offprint Files, II. Study, Lecture, and Teaching Files, III. Works, IV. Works by Others, V. Miscellaneous, and VI. Offprints Removed from Manuscripts.
The Correspondence and Offprint Files (35 boxes) in Series I. represent Vlastos' extensive correspondence with other philosophers, classicists, former students, academics, and others. The files are arranged alphabetically by correspondent name, and generally include not only letters received, but copies of Vlastos' responses. Many of the letters contain significant debates on philosophical and scholarly issues, including commentary on classical texts. Among the correspondents are Julia Annas, Richard B. Brandt, Hector-Neri Castañeda, Harold Cherniss, Alan Code, Donald Davidson, Gail J. Fine, Dorothea Frede, Kurt von Fritz, Gilbert H. Harman, Carl G. Hempel, Terence H. Irwin, Jonathan Lear, Anthony A. Long, Jürgen Mittelstrass, Alexander P. D. Mourelatos, Amélie Rorty, Richard Rorty, John R. Searle, W. J. Verdenius, and many others. Offprints received with incoming letters were kept with the relevant file if they were annotated by Vlastos or otherwise provided useful context. All other offprints were separated to Series VI., Offprints Removed from Manuscripts.
Series II. Study, Lecture, and Teaching Files (20 boxes) contains Vlastos' files for classes, presentations, and his extensive working files of study notes. The files are arranged alphabetically, chiefly by subject. Topics include his primary interests in the pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, ethics, social philosophy, and politics, as well as his explorations into other subjects such as Homer, Sophocles, Thucydides, Aristotle, Plotinus, Kant, and Marx. Many of the study files show Vlastos' working method: notes taken from careful reading of texts and secondary sources assembled together with draft writings sent to colleagues for comments, exchanges of correspondence with colleagues, and his subsequent revisions to the drafts. Most of the lecture and teaching files date from Cornell and Princeton, but there are also notes and related materials created for his summer seminars for college teachers at Berkeley.
Manuscripts of articles and books written or edited by Vlastos make up Series III. Works (17 boxes); they are arranged alphabetically by title. This series is dominated by materials for the highly acclaimed Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher (1991) and its posthumously published sequel, Socratic Studies (edited by Myles Burnyeat, 1994). The manuscripts are sometimes accompanied by notes and research (sometimes overlapping with materials in Series II.) as well as correspondence and reviews.
Series IV. Works by Others (4 boxes), contains manuscripts of works by colleagues or students sent to Vlastos for his review. These files are arranged alphabetically by creator of the work. Frequently included with these are comments by Vlastos, either in the form of annotations on the manuscripts themselves, or written on separate sheets.
A small group of miscellaneous files, arranged alphabetically by title, makes up Series V. Miscellaneous (1 box). Among these are an address files, a commonplace book, royalty statements and related correspondence.
Series VI. Offprints Removed from Manuscripts (23 boxes), holds the offprints without annotations or meaningful context that were removed from correspondence sent to Vlastos. The offprints are arranged alphabetically by author, and subsequently by title when multiple titles are present for a single author.
Note: An Index of Names and Subjects is provided at the end of this finding aid to facilitate detailed access to the contents of the Vlastos Papers. Surveying the Index first is recommended to a gain quicker understanding of the subject content especially.
For further information, see:
Mourelatos, Alexander P. D. "The Gregory Vlastos Archive at the Harry Ransom Center of The University of Texas at Austin," Philosophical Inquiry, Vol. 40, No. 1-2 (Winter-Spring 2016): 113-125.

Separated Material

Of the approximately 300 books from Vlastos' library that accompanied the archive, those with significant annotations by Vlastos (229) were added to the Ransom Center Library; these are cataloged in the online University of Texas Library Catalog. The remainder were placed either in the general collection of the UT Library or the Albert P. Brogan Reading Room of the UT Philosophy Department. The Ransom Center also holds a small amount of electronic records received in the form of back-up diskettes and a zip drive with files copied from Vlastos' computer hard drive.

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