Biography and History

Dr. Edward Mead Earle was born in New York City on May 20, 1894, son of Stephen King and Helen (Hart) Earle. A graduate of Columbia University from which he received a B.A., M.A. and later a Ph.D, Earle served as lieutenant in both the Field Artillery and the Air Service during World War I before beginning his career as an educator in 1920. In February of 1919, he married Beatrice Lowndes. Following World War I, Earle traveled extensively in the Near East and by 1927, had won recognition as a military affairs expert, particularly in the area of the history of American diplomacy. Later, he expanded such knowledge through travels to the Caribbean and various parts of Western Europe. In 1920, Earle became a lecturer in history at Columbia and by 1926, had become a full professor. Due to a serious bout with tuberculosis, Earle was forced to retire from teaching for several years until 1934 when he was appointed professor at the School of Economics and Politics, a newly created unit at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.

At the Institute, Earle established a seminar designed to explore various issues in American security. In addition to this work, Earle served as a member of the Board of Analysts at the Office of Strategic Services (1941-42) and later became a Special Consultant to the Commanding General of the American Air Forces (1942-1945). Throughout much of his life as an educator, Earle lectured at various War Colleges including the Army War College, Army Industrial College, Army and Navy Staff College, and the National War College, as well as several British universities. Earle was also involved in a number of professional associations and committees, including the Foundation for the Advancement of the Social Sciences (University of Denver) as a trustee, the Council on Foreign Relations, the National War College as a member of the Board of Consultants, and the American Committee for International Studies [ACIS] as chair. As chair of ACIS, he played an important planning role in its North Atlantic Relations Conference on current and post-war cooperation (1941). Earle authored and/or edited a number of books and articles including Makers of Modern Strategy, Nationalism and Internationalism, and a new edition of The Federalist. Earle and his wife had one daughter, Rosamond. Earle died in New York City in June 1954.

Source: From the finding aid for MC020


  • Government consultants -- New Jersey -- Princeton..
  • International relations specialists -- New Jersey -- Princeton..
  • Edward Mead Earle Papers. 1894-1954 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC020

    The Papers of Edward Mead Earle (1894-1954) document the career of Earle, a specialist in the role of the military in foreign relations. He was a university lecturer, author, and consultant to various departments of the U.S. government. The papers reflect Earle's work as a professor at the School of Economics and Politics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. The collection emphasizes Earle's major work of establishing a seminar designed to research issues associated with military and foreign policies of the United States during World War II. It also highlights a number of other professional activities during his time at the Institute.