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Robert La Forte Papers, 1923 - 2005 | University Archives

By Rachel Motes

Collection Overview

Title: Robert La Forte Papers, 1923 - 2005Add to your cart.
Predominant Dates:1954 - 2005
ID: 02/17/U0141
Extent: 42.0 Boxes
Arrangement: This collection consists of 5 series: Personal, Professional, Community Involvement, Oversized Items, and Separated Materials. The boxes within this collection were delivered with no folders or order, resulting in its’ contents being organized by the processing agent into folders by topic or type of material. The folders themselves are arranged in alphabetical order within their Series [and sub-series] while their contents are either organized alphabetically or chronologically as appropriate.
Date Acquired: 00/00/2005. More info below under Accruals.
Languages: English

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Abstract

Papers and family photographs of late Professor Emeritus of History faculty member and first university Archivist, Robert S. La Forte, who laid the groundwork for the creation of the University of North Texas Archives.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

These papers, photographs, and artifacts document the life of late Professor Emeritus of History and first university Archivist, Robert S. La Forte, who laid the groundwork for the creation of the University of North Texas Archives which was later officially established in 1975 by UNT President C. C. Nolan.  They include images and papers from his childhood, his time in military service, and from his personal and professional life, which includes his interest in prisoners of war in World War II.

Collection Historical Note

Robert Sherman La Forte was born on September 8, 1933 in Frontenac, Kansas as the second child of Modest Nathaniel La Forte and Josephine Ann La Forte [née Slapsak].  He grew up and went to school in Frontenac along-side his sister Rose Josephine La Forte [later to become Mrs. Alai].  By May 24, 1951, he had graduated from Frontenac High school.

Following that, throughout the combined years of August 1952 to May 1954 and January 1957 to February 1958, La Forte went to school at the Kansas State Teachers College where he later received a Bachelor’s of Science in Education.  During the time between the above listed dates, from 1955 to 1957, La Forte served in the U.S. Army were he attained the rank of Specialist Third-Class.  In addition to his time spent at school and in military service, La Forte also married Margaret Ann Colegrove in 1954, had his first son Mark Francis La Forte in 1955, and then in 1958, La Forte divorced his first wife.

After that portion of his life, Robert La Forte went on to the Kansas State College of Pittsburg (September 1958 to August 1959) where he earned a Master’s of Science in History followed by a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from the University of Kansas in Lawrence (September 1959 to August 1964).  In 1959, he also married his second wife, Frances Ann Crain, and later had two sons with her, Geoffrey Louis La Forte in 1963 and Russell Andre La Forte in 1965.

His educational background also includes receiving a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Texas at Austin after taking classes there from June 1967 to August 1968.

Beyond spending most of his time in Higher Education earning different degrees, La Forte also worked in various institutes of higher learning.  From 1959 to 1962, he taught Western Civilization at the University of Kansas and then from 1961 through 1964, he taught History.  After his time spent there, La Forte went on to teach History at the East Texas State University from 1964 to 1967 and then in 1968, he began teaching History at the North Texas State University (NTSU).

While employed at the NTSU (and later known to as the University of North Texas), Robert La Forte took part in numerous instructional, scholarly, professional, and community service activities.   He served as Chair of the History Department and on several university committees until his retirement in 1998.  He helped to establish the UNT Archives in 1975 and even co-wrote several books: Remembering Pearl Harbor: Eyewitness Accounts by U.S. Military Men and Women, Building the Death Railway: The Ordeal of American POWs in Burma, 1942-45, With Only the Will to Live: Accounts of Americans in Japanese Prison Camps, 1941-45, and Down the Corridor of Years: A Centennial History of the University of North Texas in Photographs, 1890-1990.  After his retirement from UNT, La Forte donated a collection of hundreds of books to the UNT Archives regarding World War II, mostly by and about prisoners of war.  In addition to all of this, La Forte also served on several City of Denton committees and in various other organizations.

Robert S. La Forte died at the age of 80 on July 11, 2014 after a long battle with cancer.

Administrative Information

Repository: University Archives
Accruals: 1979-028, 1980-030, 2005-007
Access Restrictions: This collection is not restricted.
Use Restrictions: Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Special Collections department. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Physical Access Note: This collection is stored off-site and requires a minimum of 24 hours notice prior to use.
Acquisition Source: Robert La Forte
Acquisition Method: Gift
Separated Materials: "A Collection of The Cowboy Poems of Tex West, DC Ph, with Alvin G. Davis: The Cowboy Poet Lariat of the Plains of Texas" edited and with a foreword by Alvin G. Davis has been separated from this collection to be placed within the Texana Collection.
Preferred Citation: Robert La Forte Papers, University of North Texas Special Collections.
Finding Aid Revision History: 11-28-2016; 05-03-2017; 05-16-2017; 05-19-2017

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:


Series 4: OversizedAdd to your cart.
 
Box 35: Oversized Papers and ArtifactsAdd to your cart.
 
Barcode: 652157
Item 1: Denton: A Twenty Year Comprehensive Plan, 1974 – 1994Add to your cart.
Prepared by the Community Development Department
Item 2: Resolution of Appreciation, 10 - 24 - 1984Add to your cart.
In regards to his time as Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission
Item 3: Resolution of Appreciation, 08 - 14 - 1985Add to your cart.
In regards to his time as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission
Item 4: Certificate of Meritorious Services for Outstanding Americanism Program, 08 - 13 - 1982Add to your cart.
 
Item 5: Large Father’s Day CardAdd to your cart.
 
Item 6: Lloyd Odle For County Commissioner StickerAdd to your cart.
 
Item 7: Master of Library Science Degree from The University of Texas at Austin, 08 - 27 - 1968Add to your cart.
 
Item 8: Large PhotographAdd to your cart.
Individual photographed is unknown but it is addressed "To Bob; Regards Alf"
Item 9: Black Scrapbook Page 1Add to your cart.
 
Item 10: Black Scrapbook Page 2Add to your cart.
 
Folder 11: Loose Items Taken from Black Scrapbook Page 1Add to your cart.
 
Folder 12: Loose Items Taken from Black Scrapbook Page2Add to your cart.
 
Item 13: Mean Green NTSU School ‘Flag’ BannerAdd to your cart.
It is green with text and logo outline in white.  It also has the ‘Flying Worm’ Logo.
Box 38: Wooden PlaquesAdd to your cart.
 
Barcode: 624091
Item 1: Student Association Honor Professor Award, 04 - 25 - 1993Add to your cart.
This wooden award plaque with metal plating states that it was “presented to Dr. Robert S. LaForte for excellence in teaching, research, and outstanding unselfish service to the students.”
Item 2: Centennial Society Membership Plaque, 2000Add to your cart.
This wooden plaque with metal plating states that “Pittsburg State University Honors Robert S. & Frances A. LaForte with membership in the Centennial Society as a University Sponsor 2000.”
Item 3: President’s Council Teaching Award, 08 - 24 - 1992Add to your cart.
This wooden award plaque with metal plating states that it was “presented at Faculty Convocation.”
Item 4: Appreciation Plaque for Frances La Forte, 1994Add to your cart.
This wooden plaque with metal plating states “In appreciation of 25 years as Librarian, Vivian Field Middle School, Dedicated to the services of students and teachers, 1994, Vivian Field Staff.”
Item 5: Resolution in Appreciation, 09 - 20 - 1990Add to your cart.
This a wooden plaque with metal plating states that it is a “Resolution in Appreciation of Dr. Robert LaForte” for having served as a member of the Public Utilities Board of the City of Denton.
Box 39: Wooden PlaquesAdd to your cart.
 
Barcode: 624092
Item 1: “In Appreciation” Plaque, 2000Add to your cart.
This wooden plaque states “In appreciation for dedicated and loyal service, Robert LaForte, PH.D. 1968-2000”
Item 2: Student Association Honor Professor Award, 04 - 24 - 1992Add to your cart.
This wooden award plaque with metal plating states that it was “presented to Dr. Robert S. LaForte for excellence in teaching, research, and outstanding unselfish service to the students.”
Item 3: Outstanding Frontenac High School Alumni Plaque, 1993Add to your cart.
This wooden award plaque with metal plating states that “Frontenac Homecoming and Alumni Association are proud to present Robert S. LaForte; Outstanding Frontenac High School Alumni, 1993.”
Item 4: Alumni Meritorious Achievement Award, 12 - 14 - 2001Add to your cart.
This wooden award plaque with metal plating states “Pittsburg State University, Alumni Meritorious Achievement Award presented to Robert S. La Forte, BSED 1959, MS 1959, December 14, 2001.”
Box 40: Oversized Papers and ArtifactAdd to your cart.
 
Barcode: 624090
Item 1: ‘Fessor Graham Award Plate, 04 - 08 - 1994Add to your cart.
This award plate states “’Fessor Graham Award, University of North Texas to Robert S. La Forte for unselfish service and total dedication to the students and the University, April 8, 1994.”
Item 2: Salute to Frances La ForteAdd to your cart.
This is a framed document that states “The Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District salutes Frances La Forte, Vivian Field Middle School, for twenty-five years of dedicated service to the children and youth of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.”
Item 3: Salute to Frances LaForteAdd to your cart.
This is a framed document that states “Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District Board of Trustees salutes Frances LaForte, Vivian Field Junior High School, a member of the Very Important Profession of Teaching for promoting the spirit of Learning and Liberty to the students of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.”
Box 41: PlateAdd to your cart.
 
Barcode: 652194
Item 1: Frontenac, Kansas 1886-1986 Centennial Plate, 1986Add to your cart.
The top of the plate has scenes of historical building in Frontenac.  These buildings are: City Hall, 1914; North School Columbus, 1910; Post Office, 1910; No. 9 Deep Mine, 1887; Washington Building High School, 1925; Santa Fe Depot, 1889; Methodist Church, 1895; Sacred Heart Church, 1891/Catholic School, 1896.  The back of the plate has a concise paragraph about the history and origin of Frontenac, Kansas.
Barcode: 652194
Box 42: Medals and AwardsAdd to your cart.
 
Barcode: 708135
Item 1: President’s Council Service Award, 08 - 19 - 1991Add to your cart.
This wooden award plaque with metal plating states that it was “presented at Faculty Convocation.”
Item 2: Vivian Field JHS, National School of Excellence Award, 1993Add to your cart.
This award is made out of a White Carrara Marble base
Item 3: Sigma Phi Epsilon Recognition, 1994Add to your cart.
This wooden plaque with metal plating states “Sigma Phi Epsilon recognizes Dr. Robert LaForte as an outstanding faculty member, Spring 1994.”
Item 4: Frances LaForte Wooden StandAdd to your cart.
This is a wooden stand possibly used to prop something up with a metal plating that states “Frances LaForte.”
Item 5: President’s Council Plate and StandAdd to your cart.
This is a two-part award; a metal plate and its’ wooden stand.  The plate states “President’s Council, University of North Texas” while the stand has metal plating with “ Bob and Frances LaForte, President’s Council” on it.
Item 6: Fraternity MedallionAdd to your cart.
This is an unknown fraternity medal that states “founded 1897,” hanging from a blue ribbon.
Item 7: Meritorious Achievement Medal, 12 - 14 - 2001Add to your cart.
This is a medal from Pittsburg State University hanging from a red velvet or velveteen ribbon.

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