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Bailey Diffie papers


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Bailey Diffie papers, 1941-1977 | University of Miami Special Collections

By William E. Brown, Jr. and Karen Hudson

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Collection Overview

Title: Bailey Diffie papers, 1941-1977Add to your cart.

ID: ASM0057

Creator: Diffie, Bailey W. (1902-1983)

Extent: 21.0 Boxes


SERIES I: CORRESPONDENCE, relates to publication, teaching appointments and Diffie's experiences in Brazil in 1941. Society for the History of Discovery Newsletters and memos to Columbia University faculty also appear in this series. Topics include the results of a survey of attitudes in Brazil during World War II and a critique of United States policy towards Latin America.

In these letters and writings, Diffie reveals that Brazil would readily support Germany rather than the American war effort, but would prefer neutrality.  He writes that "It is much easier to arouse sentiment against the United States than against any other country, especially against Germany...This civilization is based on the control of the masses by an elite...Democracy is a word that...represents danger to the government in power...what they are trying to do here is prevent the spread of democracy...And in Germany and Italy they see nations with similar aspirations. ...They argue that Germany could take over Brazil, and...would leave the present government in power and merely lend a guiding hand...Brazil's choice would be neutrality, however, and I feel

that is the course she will follow if possible."

In addition to this analysis, Diffie also describes the customs and  "psychology" of the people and presents his views on several issues. Diffie argues against incorporating Latin American studies into the curriculum of American primary and secondary schools.  He opposes the additions because they will displace rather than supplement European studies which he judges to be more significant.  In a section "On Propaganda" Diffie argues that an American campaign to win Brazilian support during the war would be ineffective.  

SERIES II: WRITINGS, consists of numerous chapter drafts of Latin American Civilization, and notes, chapter drafts and completed copies of a Prelude to Empire.  Drafts of articles include "How Bad Is the Good Neighbor Policy?," "A Latin American Policy for Americans--Democrats and Republicans," "Evolution of Latin American Culture" and other articles. Notes on Brazil, the Monroe Doctrine, on Latin American history and other miscellaneous writings are arranged in this series.  

SERIES III: TOPICAL FILES, includes bibliographies on topics in Latin American and Caribbean history such as Indians and African-Americans, individual Latin American countries, Amerigo Vespucci, religion, revolutions, mining, and other topics.  Also included  in this series are book lists, classroom materials such as syllabi and course outlines, programs and bulletins from various conferences on Latin America, copies of Foreign Policy Reports and other reprints and journal issues.  Papers on Latin American history include both student papers written by members of Diffie's classes and professional papers presented at conferences and seminars. Newspaper clippings in the series date from 1934-68 and relate to rumors of communist revolution in America circulating in 1934; other articles concern Portugal and the role of women in overseas expansion, and communism in Latin America.

SERIES IV: RESEARCH MATERIALS cotains files compiled by Diffie in the course of his scholarly research efforts.

Formats/Genres: Brazil - Pictorial works, Drafts (documents), Maps, Photographs

Languages: English, Spanish;Castilian

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Bailey Diffie Papers include manuscripts, notes, copies, correspondence, classroom materials, bibliographies and other materials related to Diffie's research, teaching and publications on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Biographical Note

Historian Bailey Diffie specialized in medieval and early modern Portuguese history, as well as in that of colonial Brazil and Latin America.  Bailey taught at City College in New York, Columbia University, the University of Washington, and the University of Texas.  His major publications include Puerto Rico: A Broken Pledge (1945), Latin American Civilization: Colonial Period (1945), Prelude to Empire: Portugal Overseas before Henry the Navigator (1960) and Foundations of the Portuguese Empire, 1415-1580 (1977). Diffie's teaching career as well as his influential work, Latin American Civilization established a significant place for him in the field of Latin American Studies.

Subject/Index Terms

Brazil - History - 20th century
Latin America - Civilization
Latin America - Foreign relations - United States
Monroe doctrine
Portugal - Commerce
Portugal - History - To 1385

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research, but is kept in an off campus storage facility. Please allow up to 72 hours for delivery of requested materials.

Use Restrictions: Bailey Diffie Papers Finding Aid © 1994 University of Miami. Requests to reproduce or publish materials from this collection should be directed to

Container List (PDF):

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[Series I: Correspondence],
[Series II: Writings],
[Series III: Topical Files],
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Series I: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Brazil, 1941Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Columbia UniversityAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Critique of bookAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Society for the History of DiscoveryAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: MiscellaneousAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: MiscellaneousAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Correspondence],
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