Allen Dulles and the Warren Commission

The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death on Friday, November 22, has brought renewed attention to the Warren Commission and its conclusions on the assassination.  Then-retired CIA Director Allen Dulles served on the commission and the Mudd Manuscript

Warren Commission; F.B.I Investigation Report: Visual Aids, circa 1964:

Warren Commission; F.B.I Investigation Report: Visual Aids, circa 1964:

Library recently digitized five boxes of Dulles’ personal files documenting his work on the commission as part of our NHPRC funded large-scale digitization project.  Images and downloadable PDFs of every folder related to Dulles’ Warren Commission work are available by clicking on any of the folder titles from the Warren Commission section of our finding aid for the Allen Dulles Papers.


The Warren Commission material includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, preliminary drafts of the final Commission report, clippings, articles and interviews relating to Dulles’ service on the Warren Commission. The correspondence includes incoming and outgoing notes and letters, articles and clippings. Correspondents range from members of the Commission to citizens offering their own analysis of the assassination.

The administrative material documents the official activities of the Commission. Included are minutes, agendas, financial information and memoranda, which demonstrate how the Commission was organized and its guidelines for procedures. Also included are intra-Commission memoranda as well as memoranda with other governmental organizations, including the F.B.I. and Secret Service. The findings of these two agencies, plus the Dallas police, were submitted to the Commission, and much of this material documents the life of Lee Harvey Oswald.

First page of Psychiatric Report on L.H. Oswald, 1964:

First page of Psychiatric Report on L.H. Oswald, 1964:

Over 64 boxes, and 96,900 pages of documents, from the Dulles Papers were digitized as part the NHPRC project.  In addition to the Warren Commission files, Dulles’ correspondence is now available online.  The correspondence includes letters to and from Kennedy and his brothers Robert and Edward as well as material related to Kennedy created after the assassination.

Kennan on Kennedy: “Dismal Foreboding for the Future of this Country”

George Kennan, like so many others, remembered exactly where he was and what he did upon hearing the news of John F. Kennedy’s death:

“I had been at a luncheon when I heard he had been shot, but on returning to the office shortly afterward I received confirmation of his death.  My reaction, in addition to the obvious shock, was one of the most dismal foreboding for the future of this country.  The first person I went to, to talk about it, was Robert Oppenheimer, and we both had the impression that this event marked in many ways a deterioration of the entire situation in this country.”


George Kennan on Kennedy Assassination, November 1968


Kennan, most noted for his influence on U.S. policy towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War and advocacy of a policy of containment, served as Kennedy’s ambassador to Yugoslavia from 1961 to July 1963.  Kennan’s correspondence with Kennedy dates from 1959 and includes an 8 page letter of foreign policy advice written to during the 1960 presidential campaign.

On October 22, 1963, exactly one month before Kennedy’s death, Kennan sent a handwritten note of encouragement to Kennedy, writing “I don’t think we have seen a better standard of statesmanship in White House in the present century.” Kennan also wrote that he hoped Kennedy would be discouraged “neither by the appalling pressures of your office nor by the obtuseness and obstruction you encounter in another branch of government,” and expressed gratitude to Kennedy “for the courage and patience and perception for which you carry on.”


Typescript of George Kennan's handwritten note to John F. Kennedy, October 22, 1963

Typescript of George Kennan’s handwritten note to John F. Kennedy, October 22, 1963

Kennedy responded a few days later, on October 28th saying he would keep the letter nearby “for reference and reinforcement on hard days.”  Kennedy died in Dallas only 26 days later.

John F. Kennedy letter to George Kennan, October 28, 1963

John F. Kennedy letter to George Kennan, October 28, 1963

The Kennedy-Kennan correspondence consists of 79 pages, a small percentage of the  72,545 pages of Kennan’s papers digitized as part of our NHPRC-funded digitization grant.  All of the digitized documents, including Kennan’s permanent correspondence files and unpublished writings can be accessed by clicking on the folder titles listed in the finding aid.

Archival Description Group Wins National Award

The University Library’s Archival Description Working Group has won another award for its efforts in finding new ways to deliver information about our collections to our users. The Society of American Archivists will present the C.F.W Coker Award to the group in August for, the University Library’s interface for descriptions of Princeton archives and manuscript collections. Society of American Archivists Logo The Coker Award “recognizes finding aids, finding aid systems, innovative development in archival description, or descriptive tools that enable archivists to produce more effective finding aids. To merit consideration for the award, nominees must set national standards, represent a model for archives description, or otherwise have a substantial impact on national descriptive practice.” It is awarded to archives throughout North America; previous winners include the Archivists’ Toolkit project, the Online Archives of California, and the working group that developed Encoded Archival Description.

The Award Committee noted that the team at Princeton “created a complete user experience of the Princeton University collections that is elegant in its outward simplicity and robust in its search capabilities. . . . The site is, in short, a triumph of innovative descriptive practice.” Maureen Callahan, John Delaney, Shaun Ellis, Regine Heberlein, Dan Santamaria, Jon Stroop, and Don Thornbury serve on the Working Group. The site also builds on descriptive data created by many staff involved with aggressive processing and data conversion projects over the last seven years.

The site was publicly released last September. The group was also awarded the Mid Atlantic Regional Archives Conference’s Finding Aid Award in April. As always, our biggest reward is the use of the finding aids, and the material they describe, by our patrons, but it’s great to receive recognition for all the effort that went into developing the site.

Princeton wins MARAC Finding Aid Award

We are very pleased to announce that the Princeton University Library’s Archival Description working group has been awarded the 2012 Frederic M. Miller Finding Aid Award by the Mid Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC). The award recognizes outstanding finding aids and finding aid systems in the Mid Atlantic region. Submissions are evaluated in the areas of content, design, innovation, and adherence to descriptive standards.

Main Page for the new finding aids site

Main Page for the new finding aids site

Princeton’s archival description working group includes two Mudd staff members: Maureen Callahan and Dan Santamaria, who serves as chair of the group. Former Mudd staff member Regine Heberlein is also a key member of the group, as are Don Thornbury and John Delaney from Firestone Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections and Jon Stroop and Shaun Ellis of the library’s digital initiatives group.

The group was awarded first prize in the 2012 competition for, the redesigned finding aids interface for descriptions of Princeton’s archives and manuscripts collections. The new interface was the result of more than a year of close collaboration between Department of Rare Books and Special Collections and Digital Initiatives staff. The site contains descriptions of all of the archival and manuscript collections held at Princeton and includes a number of innovations including:

Images of the collection in the context of the finding aid

Images of the collection in the context of the finding aid

• Delivery of images of actual collections material directly from the finding aid interface

Contents lists that are sortable by title, date, or physical location in the collection

Enhanced topic features, listing collections related to our collecting strengths

• Better options for users to contact the library and connect with each other, including “Ask a Question” buttons for reference requests and commenting features for users wishing to request a description enhancement or share information within their own social networks

• Automated requesting of collections material from all contents lists

• Direct access to components of collections (often boxes and folders) from search results and Faceting and browsing options from search results.

In addition to the work of the team that developed the finding aids site, it should be noted the site is built on data created by dozens of library staff over the last several years. The innovations described above would not be possible without the work of these staff members in processing and describing our collections.

The award comes with a small monetary prize, which will be donated to a small historical society in New Jersey. While use of the finding aids by our patrons is our biggest reward, it’s great to receive recognition for the hard work that went into developing the site. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Digitization and the Council on Foreign Relations

In March our vendor began scanning the first batch of material to be digitized as part of our grant.  We’ve sent 15 boxes (and over 15,000 pages) of the Council on Foreign Relations Records to be scanned.  The material will be returning to Mudd in April and all 15,000+ images should be available to anyone with an internet connection later in the Spring.

The Harold Pratt House, Council of Foreign Relations headquarters, New York City.

The Harold Pratt House, Council of Foreign Relations headquarters, New York City.

As students and scholars of the Cold War know, the Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting improved understanding of international affairs and to contributing ideas to United States foreign policy.  The Council records document the work of people prominent in diplomacy, government, and business who come together to study pressing issues in foreign policy.  At the time we wrote the grant the Council on Foreign Relations Records as a whole were the fourth most requested collection within Mudd’s Public Policy Papers; researchers requested and viewed more than 1500 boxes of material from 2008-2011, with many more asking questions or requesting copies from around the world.

The fifteen boxes that we are digitizing document the Council’s Studies Department.  Sometimes referred to as the Council’s “think tank” the Studies Department spearheads the Council’s efforts to promote discussion on issues shaping the international agenda.  The department includes a large number of scholars and research associates who engage each other, Council members, and non-affiliated individuals in research on topics and regions related to United States foreign policy, which historically have included topics such as international trade, arms control, and economic development, and regions such as the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Latin America, to name a few.

These records reveal the Council’s work on international problems during the interwar years and how, once World War II began, it almost immediately began studying how to establish a lasting peace upon its conclusion. Though a non-government organization, CFR’s members were part of the foreign policy establishment and the work of its study groups played an influential role in post-war planning, as evidenced by the fact that many of its members, including John Foster Dulles, attended the San Francisco Conference to establish the United Nations.  In his history of the Council, Michael Wala writes that “during World War II the Council grew into the role of respected advisor and listening post for the attitude of elites throughout the nation…In its study and discussion groups the Council could assemble elites” drawn from public agencies and private organizations who were “bound together through formal and informal ties.”

These ties are documented in the study group records.  In fact, many of the individuals whose papers will be digitized as part of the grant were involved with or spoke at the Council.  While we work towards posting the study group materials during the coming weeks, you can already listen to meetings and presentations involving Allen Dulles, John Foster Dulles, George Kennan, and Adlai Stevenson from our finding aids site.

Throughout its history the Council has been subject to criticism about its reach and influence. In his book Wala notes that the “development of conspiratorial theories about its reach and function” is partly the result of a lack of access to documentary material.  The availability of the Council records at Mudd over the last decade has helped to address that lack of access and we hope that the availability of the study group material online will open these records to new audiences.

Redesigned Finding Aids Site Now Live

The Finding Aids site for Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has been completely overhauled and enhanced with many new features to make it easier to search through our holdings.

We officially released the site on September 4:

Main Page for the new finding aids site

Main Page for the new finding aids site


(The previous finding aid site will remain available until September 28 at the following URL:

There are many features and enhancements related to the new interface; a few are listed below. One of the most prominent features is the ability to view images of archival material directly from the finding aids:

“Thumbnail View” of image browsing feature in the new finding aid interface.

Selected Site Features:

• Delivery of images directly from the finding aid interface
• Greatly improved relevancy rankings from search results
• Advanced faceting and browsing options from search results
• Contents lists that are sortable by title, date, or physical location in the collection
• A more modular display of the finding aids – users will not be required to navigate several hundred page documents on the web (but can view the entire finding aid as a single page if they prefer)
• Enhanced topic features
• Better options for users to contact the library and connect with each other, including an “Ask a Question” (for reference requests) and a commenting feature for users wishing to request an enhancement to the description or discuss the content of the collection.
• Ability to place online requests to view material in our reading rooms.
• A much cleaner, and more modern, look and feel.

Several instructional videos which provide information on using the site are available online. We will be adding to the videos in the coming months. General help topics are also available, via the Special Collections Research Account Website.

A number of Department of Rare Books and Special Collections staff, including Maureen Callahan, John Delaney, Regine Heberlein, Dan Santamaria, and Don Thornbury, collaborated with Jon Stroop and Shaun Ellis of the Library’s Digital Initiatives Group in order to develop the new interface. It builds on descriptive data created by dozens of staff involved with aggressive processing and data conversion projects over the last seven years. We’re very proud of the results and think it is one of the most advanced archival access systems available anywhere.

We welcome your comments and questions through the “site feedback” link which is at the top of every page or the commenting feature available on finding aids themselves. We hope you’ll use the finding aids as much as possible in your work and we look forward to your feedback.

IRT Subway Posters available online

Digitizing The Subway Sun and The Elevated Express


“No More Standing In Line”, “New Tunnel to Brooklyn”, “The Shrunken Nickel”…These are a few of the headlines in The Subway Sun and The Elevated Express which passengers read while riding on subway cars or elevated trains of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, New York City’s first subway system, in the early twentieth century. A collection of 385 subway posters from the Interborough Rapid Transit Company has been digitized and is available on the Princeton University Library Digital Collections website: The original prints are a part of the Ivy Lee Papers housed and maintained at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. The posters document developments in New York City transit and make a part of early advertising history available online.

The Interborough Rapid Transit Company, also known as IRT, opened in 1904 in New York City. In 1916, IRT hired Ivy Ledbetter Lee, a leading public relations specialist and member of the Princeton Class of 1898, to promote the company over its new competitor, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company (BMT). Central to the advertising campaign were two series of posters called The Subway Sun and The Elevated Express, which appeared concurrently. The posters implemented Ivy Lee’s innovative advertising philosophy to educate and inform by communicating directly with passengers, and to present facts and statistics instead of rhetoric. Several of the early posters are messages from IRT President Theodore P. Shonts. The message titled “Coal for Your Service” (1919) provided exact figures showing an 84 per cent increase in the cost of coal from 1916 to 1919. Other posters addressed pressing issues such as the rise in operating costs, congestion, and the need for a fare increase. In “All other prices have been going up” from 1925, a graphic by illustrator C.E. Millard depicted the rising price of food, rent, materials and wages in opposition to the static five-cent subway fare.


Marketed as “The World’s Safest Railroad”, IRT often publicized safety and the development of time and labor saving devices. “No More Standing In Line” (1921) featured the new “Feather-Weight Pressure” Gate, which reduced the time spent waiting in line at the gates and the need for extra booth operators. Another issue, “Fire Proof” (1921), informed passengers that every part of the subway was fireproof from the subway cars to the stairs.

The series began in 1918 and lasted until the company’s decline in 1932, spanning major U.S. events such as World War I and the Great Depression. The third issue of The Subway Sun, titled “The Call to War” (1918), included a public service announcement notifying every man between the ages of 18 and 45 that he must register for the Draft. The posters also served as a way of announcing service changes or travel tips and of promoting New York City’s local attractions. The series called “Time Savers” (1925) provided maps with routes that helped passengers avoid delays of street traffic. “Ride on the “L” and See New York” (1929) encouraged riders to enjoy the fresh air and sunlight on the elevated trains while viewing the sites of the City.

To learn more about the IRT Subway Posters, listen to the Online Gallery Talk –

“The World’s Safest Railroad” How Ivy Lee Promoted New York’s Subway System, 1916-1932 available on the New York Transit Museum website:


Mudd Library New Accessions, July 2008: More than Meets the Eye

This month’s highlighted accession is a Princeton University flag signed by director Michael Bay, Shia Lebouf, and other cast members of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (accession number: AR.2008.108) . To answer the most commonly asked question about this accession: Optimus Prime was, unfortunately, unavailable for the signing. The flag was obtained by the Communications Office while Transformers was filming in Princeton earlier in the summer and transferred to the University Archives.


The list below includes information on items and collections accessioned in July 2008. Though they do not relate to future summer blockbusters, their evidential and/or informational value is at least as high as that of the Transformers flag. As always, anyone interested in additional information about the accessions listed below should contact the library through our general email account.

Public Policy Papers

Council on Foreign Relations Records Accrual, 1996-1999


Princeton University Archives

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Student Photo-Identification Cards and Photographs, 1993-1997


Newspaper Clippings, Ephemera and Photographs of Princeton Alumni, 1963-1988


Constitution and By-Laws of the Metropolitan Club of the City of Washington, 1966


“Going Back” Fifty-Two Members of the Class of 1952 Revisit Their Undergraduate Days, undated


Princeton Summer Theater Brochures and Promotional Correspondence, 2008


Princeton Summer Theater Promotional Materials and Newspaper Clippings, 2005-2007


Princetoniana Committee Oral History Project Accrual, 1994


Rockefeller College Student Academic Files, 2004-2008


Office of Communications Faculty Files, 1948-2008


Class of 1883, 45th Reunion Buttons and Princeton Lapel Pin, 1928, undated


Grade and Attendance Book for History 102 Precepts, 1957


Fifth Year Record of the Class of 1906, 1912


Student Course Guides, 1978, 1985


Class of 1970 Alumni Materials and Henry Martin ’48 File, 1945-2001


Office of Stewardship Scholarship Files for Classes 1909-1922, 1971-2000


Mathey College Student Academic Files, 1989-2008


Near Eastern Studies Department Records, 1976-1999


Theatre Intime Photographs, 1977-2001


Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Publications: “News” and “Hotline,” 1997-2007


The Progressive Review, Correspondence File of John Oakes, 1982-1983


Law School of the College of New Jersey Document, 1846


Autograph Book Belonging to Charles Dunning, Class of 1883, 1883


Flag Signed by Director and Cast of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2008


1748 Charter and Early Trustees Minutes Available Online.

The earliest document held by the Princeton University Archives, the 1748 Charter of the College of New Jersey, along with the first two volumes of the University’s Board of Trustees Minutes, have been digitized and are now available online through the Princeton University Library’s Digital Collections website:

Images of the documents are also linked from the online finding aid for the Board of Trustees Records:


The original charter, which has been lost, was issued in 1746 by John Hamilton, president of the Council of the Province of New Jersey, who was acting as governor at the time. Because Hamilton’s authority was questioned, the legal status of the College came under attack, and a second charter was therefore issued in 1748 by Jonathan Belcher, newly appointed governor of the province. It corresponded, for the most part, to the charter of 1746, but it increased the maximum number of trustees from twelve to twenty-three, made the governor of New Jersey a trustee ex-officio, and stipulated that twelve trustees were to be inhabitants of the State of New Jersey. The charter granted the trustees and their successors full power and authority to acquire real and personal property, to erect buildings, to elect a president, tutors, professors, and other officers, to grant degrees, and to establish ordinances and laws.

Volumes 1 and 2 of the Trustees minutes, which date from 1746 to 1823, contain a wealth of information about the personalities and activities of the young College of New Jersey. As these minutes date from the very beginning of the College, they address the multitude of issues and problems the trustees initially addressed.


The minutes contain the names of officials, trustees, teachers, and students. They also provide a record of the major decisions of the College (such as the election of new presidents) as well as smaller ones (such as which foods the steward could sell to students and where the account books would be kept). Researchers will find information related to the standards for admission and graduation; legacies received; names of members of the graduating classes; names of recipients of honorary degrees; the list of books donated by Governor Jonathan Belcher; the hiring and firing of tutors; the selection and election of presidents; the purchase and sale of land; the establishment of accounting methods; the maintenance of the College facilities; fundraising efforts; the running of the Grammar School; the rate of board for students; and the continual hiring and firing of stewards. Perhaps the most frequent topic of discussion in the early records is the state of the College’s finances.


We hope to continue to digitize Trustee minutes as well other important records of the University in the coming years.

Mudd Library New Accessions: May/June 2008

The list below includes information on items and collections accessioned in May and June 2008. As always, anyone interested in additional information about the accessions listed below should contact the library through our general email account.

Public Policy Papers

John Van Antwerp MacMurray Films, circa 1926-1928


Allen Macy Dulles Papers, 1940-2007


United States Senators Photographic Negatives, 1956-1980. Includes images of Howard Alexander Smith ’01, Bill Bradley ’65 and George McGovern.


Allen W. Dulles Papers Accrual, 1926-1968. Consists of correspondence between Allen Welsh Dulles and George Gaevernitz regarding the making of a film about Operation Sunrise in World War II. Also includes a document purported to be a forged Bank of England twenty pound note produced in a World War II era concentration camp. (see image below.) ML.2008.019 banknote_sm

Marten Van Heuven Speaking Notes, 2007-2008


Margaret Snyder Papers Accrual, 1977-2005


Princeton University Archives

Clarence Porter Cowles and Woodrow Wilson Digital Images, 2008


Class of 1873 Student Photograph Album, 1873


John Archibald Wheeler Digital Images, undated


Michelle Obama Digital Image, circa 1985


Princeton Tiger Editorial Board Photograph, 1947


Class of 1909 Ceramic Mugs, undated


Class of 1945 Mini-Reunion Trip Photographs and Letter, 2008


Photographs by Marie Bellis, 1969-1975


John Cobb Cooper Papers, 1917-1966


Physics Notebook of Robert H. Dicke, Class of 1939, circa 1935-1939


Princeton University Library Records Cotsen Children’s Library Accrual, circa 2003-2004


Class of 1971 Twenty-fifth Reunion Survey Materials, 1990-1996


Stuart R. Stevenson Letter and Charter Club Document, 1917, 1943


Photocopied sources on James West Clark, Class of 1779, 1762-1996


Princeton University Store Bookmark, circa 1988


Digital Video Recording of Opening Reception for Robert Goheen Library Exhibit, 2006


Robert F. Goheen Memorial Service Programs and Audio Recordings, 2008


Opening Reception Program for Exhibition: The Alternative is Not Possible to Contemplate, Eleanor Roosevelt and a Vision of Freedom and Peace, 1985


Subject Index of the Library of Industrial Relations Section and J. Douglas Brown, A Record of Service Booklet, 1951-1959


Commencement Publications and Reunion Photograph, 1932-1946


Tom Reed Graphic Illustration: Dragons and Tigers and Dreams, Oh Yes! 2008


Reunions 2008 Program, Fan and Alumni Council Meeting Agenda, 2008


John Maclean, Jr. Papers Accrual, 1790-1890


Class of 1973, 35th Reunion Women’s Bandana, 2008


Chronicle of News Coverage On the Planning and Opening of Whitman College, 2008


George A. Vaughn, Jr. Papers, 1941-1991


Class of 1978, 30th Reunion Potato Chip Bags, 2008


Princeton School Committee Slide Show, 1967-1975


Admissions Materials, 1940-1944


Programs for the Princeton’s 16th Annual Summer Carillon Series, 2008


Digital Video Recordings of Reunion Activities and Lacrosse Game, 1927-1934


The Princeton Connection, A Century of Princetonians in Greensboro, Vermont, 1996-1999


Princeton Association of Northern Ohio Records, 2003-2007


Alumni Association Accrual, 1961-2008


Princeton University Library Records Cotsen Children’s Library Accrual, 1996-2007


Dean of the College Student Academic Files and Tulane University Visiting Student Files, 1943-2008


Dean of the College Student Academic Files from Whitman College, circa 2004-2008


Dean of the College Student Academic Files from Forbes College, 2004-2008


Office of the Treasurer Finance Committee Meeting Materials, 1999-2003