Allen Dulles papers released by CIA to Princeton are now online

The Central Intelligence Agency has released to Princeton University some 7,800 documents covering the career of Allen W. Dulles, the agency’s longest-serving director, which now can be viewed online at

Dulles (1893-1969), a Princeton alumnus who headed the CIA from 1953 to 1961, was renowned for his role in shaping U.S. intelligence operations during the Cold War. Last March, the CIA released to Princeton a collection of letters, memoranda, reports and other papers — some still redacted — that the agency had removed from Dulles’ papers after his death and before their transfer to the University in 1974.

“These materials, long estranged from the Allen Dulles Papers, help round out the documentary legacy of Dulles and his pivotal role in American intelligence history. The material related to his espionage work during World War II is especially illuminating,” said Daniel Linke, curator of Public Policy Papers at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, which houses the Dulles Papers. The CIA retains many documents related to Dulles’ time as head of that agency, but Linke noted that those released “provide insight into not only Dulles, but the classification process and, in my opinion, its shortcomings. Scholars reviewing some of this material will scratch their heads and wonder why the agency thought it necessary to restrict some of these documents for decades.”

The Allen W. Dulles Digital Files released to Princeton contain scanned images of professional correspondence, reports, lectures and administrative papers covering Dulles’ tenure with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) — a U.S. intelligence agency created during World War II and forerunner of the CIA — as well as his career with the CIA and his retirement. The CIA culled these documents from Dulles’ home office, and the agency maintains the originals.

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