Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Armstrong, Hamilton Fish, 1893-1973
Hamilton Fish Armstrong Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1893-1973 (mostly 1916-1973)
146 boxes and 1 folder
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-146


The Hamilton Fish Armstrong Papers consist of correspondence, notebooks, memoranda, material from 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization, writings especially in relation to Peace and Counterpeace and Tito and Goliath, diaries, scrapbooks, and photographs. The papers document Armstrong's career as editor of Foreign Affairs, his participation in the activities of the Council on Foreign Relations, and his professional involvement and interest in foreign policy from World War I through the 1970s. Included is correspondence with many well known political and literary figures of the time period. Some materials of a personal nature are included but the bulk of the papers relates to Armstrong's professional life. The papers also document Armstrong's participation in many philanthropic activities associated with Yugoslavia.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of both personal and public papers of Armstrong (Princeton Class of 1916), including correspondence, notebooks, memoranda, writings, memorabilia, photographs, and clippings. The correspondence series is a major resource for the shaping of 20th-century American foreign policy. It documents the history of the Council, the expanding role of FOREIGN AFFAIRS magazine, the interactions of Armstrong and Archibald Cary Coolidge in shaping the journal, and Armstrong's extended discussions with public servants, academics, and journalists regarding leading issues between 1920 and 1972. Correspondents include Dean Acheson, Jay Allen, Frank Altschul, Newton D. Baker, Hanson Weightman Baldwin, Sir Isaiah Berlin, Edvard Benes, Tasker H. Bliss, Chester Bowles, Isaiah Bowman, Karl Brandt, McGeorge Bundy, William P. Bundy, Cass Canfield, Archibald Cary Coolidge, Vladimir Dedijer, Byron Dexter, Allen and John Foster Dulles, Anthony Eden, Herbert Feis, Konstantin Fotitch, Felix Frankfurter, Mabel S. Grouitch, John Gunther, Bruce C. Hopper, Edward Madell House, Joachim Joesten, George F. Kennan, Henry Kissinger, Wolf Ladejinsky, William L. Lander, R. C. Leffingwell, Walter Lippman, Archibald MacLeish, Walter Hampton Mallory, Thomas Mann, John Jay McCloy, George S. Messersmith, Francis Pickens Miller, Jay Pierrepont Moffat, Philip E. Moseley, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Petar II Karadordevic, Philip W. Quigg, James Reston, Gaetano Salvemini, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Bernadotte E. Schmitt, Charles Seymour, Carlo Sforza, Vincent Sheean, Edward Stassen, Mary H. Stevens, Henry L. Stimson, Dorothy Thompson, Josip Broz Tito, Jacob Viner, and Wendell L. Willkie.

Other series document Armstrong's principal interests: philanthropic work for Yugoslavia; the War and Peace Studies of the Council on Foreign Relations during World War II; the President's Advisory Committee on Political Refugees; the State Department's Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policies; and the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO) in San Francisco, where Armstrong served as special adviser to Secretary of State Stettinius. Armstrong's journals in the Notebooks and Memoranda and in the UNCIO series provide detailed observations on politics, world events, meetings, and interviews. In addition, there are a large number of photographs of significant public figures, Council events, the American Home for Jugoslav Children, and the UNCIO.

Collection Creator Biography:

Armstrong, Hamilton Fish, 1893-1973

Hamilton Fish Armstrong was born, the youngest of seven children, April 7, 1893, in a house on West 10th Street. His parents, D. Maitland Armstrong (1836-1918) and Helen Neilson (1845-1927) named him for his great uncle, who was Grant's Secretary of State. His father was an artist, working especially with stained glass, and a one-time Consul General to Italy. Armstrong grew up in New York City and received his education at Gilman Country School in Baltimore, Maryland, and at Princeton University from which he received the A.B. in 1916.

Following his graduation Armstrong worked in the business department at The New Republic before entering the army in 1917. Commissioned a second lieutenant in October 1917, Armstrong advanced to first lieutenant and became Military Attache to the Serbian War Mission to the United States in December 1917. In November 1918, he received orders to Belgrade to become Assistant Military Attache to Serbia where in January 1919 he became Acting Military Attache.

Upon his military discharge in June 1919, Armstrong returned to New York to work on the editorial staff of the New York Evening Post, becoming the paper's special correspondent to Eastern Europe in 1921. His time in Serbia kindled in him a lifelong interest in foreign affairs, and in 1921 he became involved with the newly-formed Council on Foreign Relations, created to ensure that the United States' growing role in world affairs be informed and responsible. In 1922 Armstrong accepted a position as managing editor of the Council's magazine, Foreign Affairs, at the request of editor Archibald Cary Coolidge. Upon Coolidge's death in 1928, Armstrong became editor, a position he held until his retirement in 1972. Armstrong also served as the first Executive Director of the Council (1922-1928) and as a Council director from 1928 until 1972.

As editor, Armstrong travelled frequently, visiting with policymakers including King Alexander of Yugoslavia, Raymond Poincaré, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Neville Chamberlain. He was also well acquainted with many prominent Americans, such as Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Henry A. Kissinger. He belonged to many important committees and foundations: member of the President's Advisory Committee on Political Refugees; three times delegate to the International Studies Conference (1929, 1933, 1935); trustee and twice president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation; trustee and once president of the New York Society Library; and trustee of the New York International House.

Armstrong held many prominent positions during the Second World War. From 1942-44, he served on the United States State Department's Advisory Committee on Post-War Foreign Policies, which produced the original plans for the United Nations. In 1944, he became the special assistant to the United States ambassador in London with the personal rank of minister, before serving in 1944 and 1945 as special adviser to Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, working on the charter for the United Nations. At the San Francisco Conference in 1945, he was one of three senior advisers to the United States delegation.

Armstrong wrote prolifically, penning numerous magazine articles–forty-nine for Foreign Affairs alone–and thirteen books (he edited five others). His books include The New Balkans (1926), Where the East Begins (1929), Hitler's Reich: The First Phase (1933), Europe Between Wars? (1934), Can We Be Neutral? (1936) with Allen W. Dulles, "We or They:" Two Worlds in Conflict (1937), When There Is No Peace (1939), Can America Stay Neutral? (1939) with Allen W. Dulles, Chronology of Failure (1940), The Calculated Risk (1947), Tito and Goliath (1951), Those Days (1963), and Peace and Counterpeace: From Wilson to Hitler (1971). He edited The Book of New York Verse (1918), Foreign Affairs Bibliography (1933) with William L. Langer, The Foreign Policy of the Powers (1935), The Foreign Affairs Reader (1947), and The Foreign Affairs Fifty-Year Reader (1972).

His activities received much recognition, both at home and abroad. His time in Serbia earned him the Order of the Serbian Red Cross (1918), the Order of St. Sava Fifth Class (1918), and the Chevalier of Order of the White Eagle with Swords (1919). He was awarded the Order of the Crown (Rumania) in 1924 and the Order of the White Lion of Czechoslovakia in 1937. In that year he was made an officer of the Legion of Honor of France and became a commander in 1947. He was appointed a Commander of the British Empire in 1972. He received honorary degrees from Brown (1942), Yale (1957), the University of Basel (1960), Princeton (1961), Columbia (1963), and Harvard (1963).

Armstrong married three times. Helen MacGregor Byrne became his wife in 1918, and they had one daughter, Helen MacGregor (later Mrs. Edwin Gamble) on September 3, 1923. Armstrong and Byrne divorced in 1938. Armstrong married Carman Barnes in 1945, a marriage which ended in a 1951 divorce. In that same year Armstrong married Christa von Tippelskirch. Armstrong retired from Foreign Affairs in 1972, the fiftieth year of its publication, and died after a long illness on April 24, 1973, at the age of 80.

Collection History


The Hamilton Fish Armstrong Papers were given to the Princeton University Libraries by Christa Armstrong, Hamilton Fish Armstrong's widow, in 1980 . Some papers were deposited at the Library in 1974 and the Library also received additional accessions in 1985 and 1992-1993 .


No appraisal information is available.


These papers were processed with the generous support of Christa (Mrs. Hamilton Fish) Armstrong.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Laurie Alexander, Paula Jabloner, Melissa A. Johnson, Olivia Kew, Alison McCuaig, Ben Primer, Gene Pope, Monica Ruscil, Morgan Russo, and Nanci Young in 1992 and 1993. Finding aid written by Laurie Alexander, Paula Jabloner, Melissa A. Johnson, Olivia Kew, Alison McCuaig, Ben Primer, Gene Pope, Monica Ruscil, Morgan Russo, and Nanci Young in 1992 and 1993.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Hamilton Fish Armstrong Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-146

Find More

Subject Terms:
Editors - New York (N.Y.) -- 20th century.
International relations -- 20th century.
Journalists - New York (N.Y.) -- 20th century.
Genre Terms:
Drafts (documents)
Scrapbooks -- United States -- 20th century
Century Club (New York, N.Y.)
Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Nations (1st: 1961: Belgrade, Serbia).
Council on foreign relations
American Home for Jugoslav Children (Selce, Croatia)
Woodrow Wilson Foundation
United Nations Conference on International Organization 1945 San Francisco, Calif.
United States. Department of State. Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policies
United States. President's Advisory Committee on Political Refugees
Serbian Aid Fund
Serbian War Mission to the United States
International House (New York, N.Y.)
New York society library
Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971.
Allen, Jay, 1900-1972
Altschul, Frank, 1887-1981
Baker, Newton Diehl, 1871-1937
Baldwin, Hanson Weightman, 1903-1991
Beneš, Edvard, 1884-1948
Berlin, Isaiah, 1909-1997.
Bliss, Tasker Howard, 1853-1930
Bowles, Chester, 1901-1986.
Bowman, Isaiah, 1878-1950
Brandt, Karl, 1923-
Bundy, McGeorge
Bundy, William P., 1917-2000
Canfield, Cass, 1897-1986
Coolidge, Archibald Cary, 1866-1928
Dedijer, Vladimir
Dexter, Byron, 1900-1973
Dulles, Allen, 1893-1969
Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959.
Eden, Anthony, Earl of Avon, 1897-1977
Feis, Herbert
Fotitch, Constantin
Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965
Gay, Edwin F. (Edwin Francis), 1867-1946
Grouitch, Mabel S., d. 1956
Gunther, John, 1901-1970.
Hopper, Bruce C. (Bruce Campbell), 1892-1973
House, Edward Mandell, 1858-1938
Joesten, Joachim, 1907-1975
Kennan, George F. (George Frost), 1904-2005
Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
Ladejinsky, Wolf Isaac
Langer, William L. (William Leonard), 1896-1977
Leffingwell, R. C. (Russell Cornell), 1883-1960
Lippmann, Walter, 1889-1974
MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982
Mallory, Walter H. (Walter Hampton), 1892-1980
Mann, Thomas, 1875-1955.
McCloy, John J. (John Jay), 1895-1989
Messersmith, George S.
Miller, Francis Pickens, 1895-1978
Moffat, Jay Pierrepont, 1896-1943
Mosely, Philip E. (Philip Edward), 1905-1972
Nasser, Gamal Abdel,‏ 1918-1970
Petar II Karađorđević, King of Yugoslavia, 1923-1970
Quigg, Philip W.
Reston, James, 1909-1995
Salvemini, Gaetano
Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. (Arthur Meier), 1917-2010
Schmitt, Bernadotte E. (Bernadotte Everly), 1886-1969
Seymour, Charles, 1885-1963
Sforza, Carlo, conte, 1872-1952
Sheean, Vincent, 1899-1975
Stassen, Harold Edward, 1907 -
Stevens, Mary H.
Stimson, Henry L.
Tito, Josip Broz, 1892-1980
Viner, Jacob, 1892-1970
Wilkie, Wendell L. (Wendell Lewis), 1892-1944
United States -- Foreign relations -- 1945-1989.
Yugoslavia -- Description and travel -- 20th century.
Yugoslavia -- History -- 20th century.