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Stanley Diamond papers

Identifier: NA-0007-01


Stanley Diamond (1922-1991) was an anthropologist and poet instrumental in establishing the Anthropology Department of the New School for Social Research. He chaired the department for fourteen years, during which time he founded and edited the journal Dialectical Anthropology. These papers document Diamond's writings and research, his role as a teacher and administrator, and material related to his participation in conferences and public seminars.

Includes drafts of journal articles and presentations, ethnographic research data and notes, teaching materials, and correspondence with colleagues and publishers. Materials span the entirety of Diamond's career, from his doctoral dissertation on the Kingdom of Dahomey to his later interest in the intersection of anthropology and poetry. Some files are restricted. Please email for details.


  • circa 1934 - 1991
  • Majority of material found within 1961 - 1988



13.9 Cubic Feet (12 boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

Stanley Diamond's papers document his work as scholar, author, researcher, teacher, editor, poet and university administrator. Materials include ethnographic fieldwork, syllabi and lecture notes, conference materials, typescripts and offprints of writings authored by Diamond, as well as by colleagues, as well as his work as founder and editor of the journal, Dialectical Anthropology. Correspondence in the collection represents Diamond's deep engagement with an international circle of colleagues. The papers also document Diamond's activities as a progressive intellectual and activist for indigenous rights and nuclear disarmament, and his work promoting anthropologists who, like himself, were poets.

The collection is organized into nine series:

Series I. Biographical and personal, consists of just a few files relating to Diamond's life outside of his professional and academic pursuits. Other personal correspondence may be found in Series III. Correspondence and subject files.

Series II. Conferences and public seminars, includes Diamond's correspondence with conference organizers pertaining to his participation as organizer and presenter, as well as invitations, schedules, programs, and other printed material.

Series III. Correspondence and subject files, is primarily comprised of communications with colleagues, academic associates, professional organizations, journal editors and publishers. Files sometimes include manuscripts by colleagues--these will also be found in Series IX Writings by others,

Series IV. New School for Social Research, includes materials relating to Diamond's administrative role as chair of the New School Anthropology Department, 1971-1985, and his involvement with issues related to the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science, more generally.

Series V. Poetry book project and related activities, primarily documents Diamond's efforts to publish an anthology of poetry by himself and anthropologist colleagues.

Series VI. Research, consists predominantly of material collected and created in connection with Diamond's research on Africa--in particular Nigeria and Biafra--as well as work on the Seneca Nation of Indians in the Allegany Indian Territories, and on kibbutzim and residents of a neighboring Arab town in Israel.

Series VII. Teaching, consists of material Diamond generated in preparation for his classes, spanning almost the entirety of his teaching career, including courses at the New School, Syracuse University, and Bard College.

Series VIII. Writings by Diamond, presents a range of Diamond's writings, from his dissertation on the African Kingdom of Dahomey to his late work on poetry and anthropology, as well as his own poetry. Included are typescript drafts, many with handwritten revisions and comments, as well as correspondence, contracts, and memoranda regarding the publication of articles, monographs, conference proceedings, and edited anthologies.

Series IX. Writings by others, consists largely of materials from the 1970s and 1980s amassed during Diamond's tenure as editer of Dialectical Anthropology, with mansucripts, revisions and final drafts of papers published by the journal, as well as correspondence with authors.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use, excepting material restricted due to internal policies set for confidential records. Files with faculty or other personnel salary, performance reviews, grievance or hiring information are restricted for 50 years from creation date of item (or last creation date in file). Records reporting research on human subjects are restricted for 50 years after person's death. Please contact for further information.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Biographical Note

Stanley Diamond (1922-1991) was born in New York City into an intellectual and progressive Jewish family; his paternal grandfather was a founder of Yiddish theater. Diamond attended the University of North Carolina for two years, completing his undergraduate degree at New York University in 1942 with majors in philosophy and English. After serving in North Africa during World War II, Diamond entered graduate school at Columbia University, earning a PhD in anthropology in 1951. From there he went on to conduct fieldwork in Israel on a kibbutz and a Palestinian village as an area research fellow for the Social Science Research Council (1951-1953). He lectured at the University of California, Los Angeles (1953), Columbia University (1954-1956 summer sessions), and Brandeis University (1956-1959). In 1963 he joined the faculty at Syracuse University and returned to Columbia as senior lecturer from 1966-1969. Major research projects included the Ford Foundation-sponsored Cultural Regularities Project in Nigeria (1958-1959), the Seneca Nation of Indians project (summer 1962), and the United States Office of Education Research Development "Culture of Schools" project (1964-1967).

Diamond began lecturing at the New School Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science in 1966. In 1970, he played a key role in the division of the Anthropology and Sociology into separate departments, and became chair of the Committee on Anthropology, an interdisciplary program of study. He remained in this position for the next fourteen years, shaping the department's curriculum, faculty and mission. During his tenure, he was involved in the New York State evaluation of the doctoral program and reorganization of the social science departments. During this time he also held visiting professorships at Columbia University, the Free University of Berlin, and Bard College, lectured at more than thirty other institutions of higher learning, and organized and presented at many conferences.

In 1975, Diamond founded Dialectical Anthropology, editing the Marxist peer-reviewed academic journal from then until his death. He was also involved in editorial work or oversight of the publications, Africa Today, Alcheringa (a journal of Native American tribal literature and poetry), and Social Research (the flagship journal of the New School).

Diamond's best-known book in the field of anthropology is In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civilization. Diamond was also a poet. In addition to two books of poetry, Totems and Going West, he promoted other anthropologists who were poets. At the New School, he created and occupied the position of University Poet after concluding his work as chair of the Anthropology Department.

Stanley Diamond died of liver cancer at the age of 69 in New York City on March 31, 1991.

Organization and Arrangement

Series are arranged alphabetically by subject: 1. Biographical and personal, 1969-1991 2. Conferences and public seminars, 1960s-1983 3. Correspondence and subject files, 1960-1990 IV.New School for Social Research, 1960s-1989 5. Poetry book project and related activities, 1950s-1991 6. Research, 1934-1987 7. Teaching, 1946-1988 8. Writings by Diamond, 1951-1990 9. Writings by others, 1961-1988

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the New School's Raymond Fogelman Library to the New School Archives and Special Collections soon after the Archives was established in 2012.

Processing Information

All material from a separate group of files relating to the journal Dialectical Anthropology have been incorporated into this collection.

Guide to the Stanley Diamond papers
Wendy Scheir, Aaron Winslow, and Jennifer Ulrich.
April 10, 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • July 1, 2021: New School Archives staff added notes regarding publications on Africa and Biafra.