Stephen B. Weeks, State’s First Professional Historian

Stephen B. WeeksOn May 3, 1918, Stephen Beauregard Weeks died at age 53. A native of Pasquotank County, Weeks became the state’s first professionally-trained historian to earn his living specifically from his skills as a historian.

Weeks graduated second in his class at UNC in 1886. He went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees from the school’s Department of English before entering Johns Hopkins University to focus on history. There he learned primary source research and historical objectivity.

Weeks graduated with a doctorate in history from Johns Hopkins in 1891, and then joined the faculty of Trinity College, now part of Duke University, in Randolph County. There he established the Department of History and Political Science and the Trinity College Historical Society. At Trinity, Weeks founded modern historical scholarship in North Carolina. Though he resigned from Trinity after only two years, he continued to work in education and editing for the rest of his life.

Weeks was a prolific writer, and is credited with more than 200 books and articles; he avidly collected material related to North Carolina, amassing a library of over 9,000 items. At his death, UNC purchased his collection and used it to supplement the special collections now housed in Wilson Library.

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