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Benjamin G. Kohl papers

Identifier: MS-0384

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Scope and Contents

The papers of historian Benjamin G. Kohl consist of research material and personal papers ranging in date from 1960 to 2006, including a series of correspondence between Kohl and his mentor, Frederic Chapin Lane. The research materials are for Kohl’s book Culture and Politics in Early Renaissance Padua. The personal series includes correspondence from 1965 through 1998; information on grant applications; correspondence with JHU Press regarding publication of the Origins of Venice and the Jews of Venice; and reprints.

A highlight of the personal series are forty-five letters, mostly those of Lane, written during a period when Kohl was finishing the doctorate program at Hopkins, searching for an academic position, and later conducting research in Italy. The final letters in the collection were written by Kohl in 1985 after Lane's death and were addressed to colleagues in the History Department at Hopkins. It was Kohl's plan to publish a collection of Lane's papers as a tribute to his friend and mentor.

The letters, sometimes affectionate, sometimes chastising, relate the association between a student (later a colleague) and a noted professor both of whom shared a passionate interest in historical scholarship.


  • Creation: 1960-2006, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

This collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Benjamin G. Kohl (Benjamin Gibbs Kohl), author and historian, was born in Middletown, Delaware October. 26, 1938. He was educated at Bowdoin College (AB 1960), the University of Delaware (MA 1962), and he received the Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1968. Kohl specialized in the field of Renaissance History.

At Hopkins, Kohl was a student of historian and Renaissance scholar, Frederic Chapin Lane (1900-1984), who acted as advisor for Kohl's dissertation, "The Signoria of Francesco il Vecchio da Carrara in Padua, 1350-1388." With Lane's support, Kohl taught at Hopkins, 1965-1966. He left to accept a position in the history department at Vassar and was appointed full professor in 1981. Among Kohl's published works in Renaissance studies are Dialogue between Giovanni and a Letter (1989), The Earthly Republic: Italian Humanists on Government and Society (1978), and with Frederic Chapin Lane, Studies in Venetian Social and Economic History (1987).

Benjamin G. Kohl resided in Poughkeepsie, NY.


6.5 Cubic Feet (4 record center cartons, 2 letter size document boxes, 1 flat box (15.5 x 10.5 x 3 inches), 1 custom box (15.25 x 7.5 x 10.25 inches))

Language of Materials



Benjamin G. Kohl (1938-2010) was an author and historian who specialized in the history of the Renaissance. The collection consists of research material and personal papers ranging in date from 1960-2006, including a series of correspondence between Kohl and his mentor, Frederic Chapin Lane.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was a gift to the University from Benjamin G. Kohl in June 1996. The Accession Number is 95-96.27.

Additional materials were added in November 2007; the accession number is 07-08.30


Grade books and letters of recommendation were deaccessioned in January 2018 per Archives policy.

Related Materials

Letters of Benjamin G. Kohl written to Frederic Chapin Lane are included in the Frederic Chapin Lane Papers (MS.0381) in Special Collections.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in March 1997. File names have been copied directly from the original folders.

Guide to the Benjamin G. Kohl papers
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA