Cabinet housing the Preyer Collection
About the Collection
The Preyer American History Collection consists of 98 of Dr. Norris Preyer's personal books, focusing on American History. The books are non-circulating but may be accessed by patrons with librarian assistance. The books are housed in a beautiful cabinet donated by Kathryn Preyer. The collection also consists of photos and mementos from Dr. Preyer's study and his tenure at Queens.
Dr. Norris Preyer
Dr. Norris Preyer, honored scholar and beloved professor, came to Queens in 1957 and served the University until his retirement in 1990. His enthusiasm and love of his subject made him a favorite with students for more than 30 years. He served as Chair of the History Department during most of those years and was named the very prestigious Dana Professor of History.
Dr. Preyer developed courses in African-American history (after an American Political Science study tour of Africa), an honors program in history, and public history program with internships in archives, museums, and historic sites. He specialized in Southern history and the Revolutionary and Early National periods of American history. He gave tours of the Old South, led student groups studying in Vienna, and with other department members and students organized symposiums.
Author of two books (including Hezekiah Alexander and the Revolution in the Backcounty) and numerous articles in scholarly publications, Dr. Preyer's articles were published in Essays on Jacksonian America, the Encyclopedia of Southern History, the Biographical Directory of NC History, and the Encyclopedia of NC History.
After graduating from Chapel Hill with a B.A in History, Dr. Preyer attended the University of Virginia where he earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American history. He taught American History for 33 years, first at Guilford College (1953-57) and then at Queens College (now University) from 1957 until retirement in 1990.
Kathryn Preyer has also been very influential at Queens. She is the founder of Friends of the Library and a founding member of Friends of Music and Friends of Art. She received the distinguished Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from Queens in 1974. Both Kathryn and Norris have been named Honorary Alumni by the Queens Alumni Association. They have two children: Norris, Jr., a physics professor, and Janet Preyer Nelson, a 1977 graduate of Queens and a loyal alumna.