Kennan and Forrestal papers processing project completed

Princeton University’s Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library has completed a one-year project to process the papers of George Kennan and James Forrestal, two Princeton alumni who were important figures in shaping U.S. policy at the inception of the Cold War.

George F. Kennan, U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia, is greeted by Marshal Josip Broz Tito. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, looks on. Circa 1962-1963. Source: George F. Kennan Papers, Box 184, Folder 14.

Kennan, a diplomat and historian, is best known for writing the “Long Telegram” and the subsequent “X” article in Foreign Affairs in which he advocated for a new course in U.S.-Soviet relations that became known as “containment.” Kennan, a 1925 Princeton graduate, was involved in diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union throughout most of his distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service. As a historian at the Institute for Advanced Study, he studied modern Russian and European history and became an important critic of American foreign policy. His papers document his entire career.


Forrestal, a 1915 Princeton alumnus and a Wall Street businessman, was the first U.S. secretary of defense, overseeing the unification of the U.S. military departments in 1947. He previously served as assistant to President Franklin Roosevelt as well as undersecretary and secretary of the Navy. His papers date from his service in the U.S. government during and immediately after World War II.

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oahu on his return trip from the Iwo Jima combat area. Forrestal speaks with Lamoine C. Weber, hospital apprentice first class, USNR, who was wounded during the invasion. Circa March-April 1945. Source: James V. Forrestal Papers, Box 183.

The finding aid for the George F. Kennan Papers is available online at http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/n009w2294 and the finding aid for the James V. Forrestal Papers is available at http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/8w32r561t. The processing of these papers was completed in June and managed by project archivist Adriane Hanson. It was made possible through the support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

As part of this project, the Arnold A. Rogow Papers on James V. Forrestal also were processed. The Rogow papers are composed of materials he collected for his book “James Forrestal: A Study of Personality, Politics and Policy” (1963) and include correspondence with individuals who knew Forrestal, Rogow’s notes and other research materials. The finding aid is available at http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/2v23vt455

For further information about these collections or about conducting research at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, visit the library website at http://www.princeton.edu/~mudd/.

One thought on “Kennan and Forrestal papers processing project completed

  1. Among the resources of the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library

    is a copy, as a graphic image PDF file, of the Navy’s investigative report on Forrestal’s death known as the Willcutts Report. The library offers it online at:

    http://www.princeton.edu/~mudd/finding_aids/willcutts/

    It’s a copy of a rather poor photocopy furnished by the Navy, legible but in many places only barely so. Recently a third party has done the hard work of puzzling out the near illegible parts and created an HTML version of the report. Besides making it easy to read, your computer can instantly search for text, unlike with the graphic image PDF version. It’s all on one webpage, preceded by an informative introduction and followed by pictures of Bethesda Naval Hospital. The URL is:

    http://jamesforrestal.ariwatch.com/WillcuttsReport.htm#Page1

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