The correspondence in this series consists both of personal and professional correspondence, with the latter predominating. It covers Professor Rapoport’s career at three universities and his post-retirement years in Toronto. While the majority of the letters are written in English, there are also a considerable number in German and Russian, with scattered ones in French and Spanish.
The series begins with files titled ‘Chamber of Horrors’, a collection of oddball letters that Professor Rapoport received between 1948 and 1967. Next is professional correspondence with his long-time assistant at the University of Michigan, Claire Adler, primarily from the years after his departure from that university. The arrangement of the remaining correspondence is chronological, in five-year increments for the most part (following the system created by Professor Rapoport), and alphabetical within each increment. Where the volume of letters in any increment warrants, there is a file by name of correspondent.
The correspondence, both personal and professional, covers Professor Rapoport’s wide interests and contain an ongoing exchange of ideas. There are letters about his books, articles, reports, book reviews and talks (sometimes with accompanying drafts), and numerous letters to the editor. He was frequently asked for references and was continuously asked to comment on other people’s professional work; some of his commentary appeared in the ‘comments’ sections of professional journals. For many years he contributed to the Mathematical Review; the requests are in this series, while his commentary is found in Series 5. Correspondence relating to his editorial work at General Systems, the Journal of Conflict Resolution (editor, Russell Joyner), Behavioral Science, and ETC: A Review of General Semantics is included in this series, along with letters about his work on the editorial boards of other journals, especially the International Journal of Game Theory, and with scientific associations, some of which he helped found. One that appears frequently is the International Society for General Semantics. In later years his involvement with peace initiatives is well documented.
There is also considerable correspondence with the publishing houses, especially Academic Press, Harper Row, Dover, Kluwer, Sage, and University of Michigan Press (editor, Colin Day). The correspondence with the journals and publishing houses appears sometimes under the name of the organization but also under the names of editors and others associated with it.
Professor Rapoport had many correspondents, with some of whom he exchanged letters over forty years or more. Most are from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, but there is a good representation from other countries, especially Japan. His European correspondents were primarily German, Austrian, and Russian academics and intelligentsia, a number of whom became émigrés at American universities. The principal ones are Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Andreas Diekmann, Felix Geyer, Aron Katsenelinboigen, Andrey Kokoshin, Vladimir Lefebvre, Albrecht Neubert, Nicholas Rashevsky, Boris Sadowsky, Adam Schaff, Gunther Schwartz, Georg Schwitzer-Meyer, Dieter Senglass, Pyotr Schedrovitsky, Walter Simon, and Markus Schwaninger. American correspondents include Arthur Mendel (Princeton), G.E. Norton (Michigan), Lester Thompson (Harvard) and S.I. Hayakaya. Martin Shubik at Yale remained in contact over many years. His Japanese correspondents included members of Soka Gakkai and others in the peace movement.
Before Professor Rapoport arrived in Toronto in 1970, his principal correspondent at the University of Toronto was Chandler Davis, with whom he continued to exchange letters after his arrival in Canada. In the 1980s he corresponded frequently with Thomas Homer-Dixon and, then and later with faculty members involved with the peace movement, especially Science for Peace. He also maintained close contact with other peace groups, especially the Canadian Pugwash Group and its director, Leonard V. Johnson.