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Raoul Naroll papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 22-9F-1107

Scope and Contents

The papers of Raoul Naroll include professional and some personal correspondence, fieldwork, typescripts, drafts and research for Naroll's books, as well as materials concerning HRAF (Human Relations Area Files) and related projects. Papers on Naroll's war and culture research are found in Series III: War, Stress and Culture Project and V: Military Deterrence in History.

A significant amount of material in the collection covers Naroll's research into what he called "the Human Situation," intended to be a three-volume work of which only Volume I, The moral order: An introduction to the human situation (1983) was completed. Painful Progress was to be Volume II. Preliminary research for this volume is included in Series VII. The final portion of the collection (Series X) documents Naroll's computer programming.


  • 1941-1986


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Raoul Naroll papers, 1941-1986, are open for research.
Please note: This collection is stored off-site. Access to collection requires 3 business days’ notice. Contact University Archives at (716) 645-2916 or to schedule an appointment.


Copyright is held by The State University of New York at Buffalo, University Archives. Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

Raoul Naroll was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1920. He grew up in Los Angeles, California and attended UCLA at the age of 16. In 1939, he joined the U.S. Army and served in Hawaii and Germany during World War II. Naroll served in an infantry division, then as an Officer in the Army Finance Department and in the Military Intelligence Service, screening officials and prisoners of war in Germany. After the war, Naroll returned to UCLA, receiving an A.B. in 1950, a Master's in 1952, and his Ph.D. in history in 1953. He conducted fieldwork in Austria (1956) and in Greece, Switzerland and Belgium (1965-1966).

Naroll was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University from 1954-1955. Afterward he went to the Washington, D.C. branch of the Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF) to work as a research associate where he wrote country background studies. Returning to California in 1957, he taught anthropology at California State University-Northridge, then known as San Fernando Valley State College. He moved to Chicago, teaching at Northwestern University (1962-1967) in the departments of anthropology, sociology and political science. At Northwestern, Naroll worked on cross-cultural research and applied his methods to military deterrence and data quality.

Naroll joined the Department of Anthropology at the University at Buffalo in 1967 where he taught until 1984. He was named a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and continued his research in cross-disciplinary cultural studies, while serving as President of HRAF from 1973-1983. Naroll wrote eight books, three manuals, numerous articles and book reviews and was an avid computer programmer and engineer. After a battle with cancer, Naroll died in Buffalo in 1985 at the age of 64.

His books include: Data Quality Control (1962), Imperial Cycles and World Order (1966), Handbook of Method in Cultural Anthropology (1970), Main Currents in Cultural Anthropology (1973), Military Deterrence in History: A Pilot Cross-Historical Survey (1974), HRAFLIB (HRAF Hologeistic Computer Program Library) (1975), Worldwide Theory Testing (1976), and The Moral Order: An Introduction to the Human Situation (1983).


35 Linear Feet (31 cartons, 1 half manuscript box, 9 card file boxes)


The professional papers of University at Buffalo professor and comparative anthropologist Raoul Naroll.


Collection is organized into ten series: I. Professional files; II. Human Relations Area file; III. War, Stress and Culture project; IV. Data quality control, a new research technique: Prolegomena to a cross- cultural study of culture stress (1962); V. Military deterrence in history: A pilot cross-historical survey (1974); VI. The moral order: An introduction to the human situation (1983); VII. The human situation: Volume II: Painful Progress (unpublished); VIII. Other writings; IX. Subject files; and X. Computer programming.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Frada Naroll, January 18, 1989. Accessioned as 89-004.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

22/9/1053 Frederick O. Gearing, Center for the Study of Cultural Transmission and the Project in Ethnography in Education records, 1971-1980

Processing Information

Collection processed by Mark McGuire, January-September 2007.


Finding Aid for the Raoul Naroll papers
Finding aid prepared by Mark McGuire.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)