- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- Dulles, Allen, 1893-1969
- Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
- Allen W. Dulles Papers
- Public Policy Papers
- Permanent URL:
- 1845-1971 (mostly 1918-1969)
- 157 boxes
- Storage Note:
- This is stored in multiple locations. ReCAP (rcpph): Boxes 1-60; 93-97 Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Boxes 61-92; 98-157
The Allen W. Dulles Papers contains correspondence, speeches, writings, and photographs documenting the life of this lawyer, diplomat, businessman, and spy. One of the longest-serving directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (1953-1961), he also served in a key intelligence post in Bern, Switzerland during World War II, as well as on the Warren Commission.
Collection Description & Creator Information
The Allen W. Dulles Papers contains correspondence, speeches, writings, and photographs documenting the life of this lawyer, diplomat, businessman, and spy. One of the longest-serving directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (1953-1961), he also served in a key intelligence post in Bern, Switzerland during World War II where he established his reputation as an intelligence operative with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The collection is useful for understanding the role of both a private citizen and public servant's role in the shaping of United States foreign policy. Dulles's early career as a diplomat, his long association with the Council on Foreign Relations, his work at the international law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, and his career in American intelligence are documented within this collection. However, those seeking information contemporaneous to his tenure at the helm of the CIA will be disappointed as CIA officials screened the collection before its transfer to Princeton.
- Collection Creator Biography:
Allen W. Dulles (1893-1969), though a diplomat and lawyer, was renowned for his role in shaping United States intelligence operations, including the longest service as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Born in Watertown, New York, and a Princeton University graduate (BA, Class of 1914; MA 1916), Dulles was the nephew of Robert Lansing, Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State, and attended the peace negotiations to end the First World War as a member of the American Commission. During his stint in the diplomatic corps, he served in Vienna (1916), Berne (1917), Berlin (1919) and Constantinople (1920) before becoming Division Chief for Near Eastern Affairs (1922). While serving in Washington, D.C., Dulles studied law at night at George Washington University. In 1925, he served as an American delegate to the International Conference on Arms Traffic in Geneva. After earning his LL.D in 1926, Dulles joined the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, where his brother John Foster was a managing partner. But Dulles did not practice law so much as utilize his knowledge of government processes and officials to assist the firm's corporate clients conduct business. (In fact, Dulles would not pass the bar until 1928.) However, diplomacy would always be Dulles's primary interest and in 1927, he spent six months in Geneva as legal adviser to the Naval Armament Conference.
In New York, Dulles joined the Council on Foreign Relations, eventually was named a director and enjoyed the friendship of fellow Princetonian Hamilton Fish Armstrong '16, the editor of the Council's journal, Foreign Affairs. Together they authored two books ( Can We Be Neutral? (1936) and Can America Stay Neutral? (1939)). He also continued to serve the United States government in diplomatic capacities, including representing the United States at a League of Nations arms conference in 1932-1933.
During the Second World War, Dulles took a step that changed his life and ultimately American history. He joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the intelligence service, serving as chief of the Bern, Switzerland office. From there he established himself as a highly successful intelligence gatherer and operator, penetrating the German Foreign Ministry Office as well as the "July 1944" anti-Hitler conspirators. He also played a role in the events that led to the surrender of the German Army in northern Italy.
In 1948, Dulles's reputation led to his being named chairman of an intelligence review committee that faulted the organization of the then fledgling Central Intelligence Agency. In 1950, he was named Deputy Director of Plans of the CIA, the covert operations arm of the agency; in 1951 he became the number two person in the organization. After Eisenhower's election in Nov 1952, Dulles was appointed to the CIA's directorship. His brother, John Foster Dulles, served as Eisenhower's Secretary of State, and the two men would work closely during their joint service.
The CIA under Dulles's leadership established the dual policy of collecting intelligence through a wide variety of means, as well as taking direct action against perceived threats. In the former category fell such notable achievements as the U-2 spy plane program, the cooptation of Soviet Lieutenant General Pyotr Popov, and the tapping of a sensitive East Berlin phone junction by tunneling under the Berlin Wall.
The CIA's efforts in the area of direct action during Dulles tenure were notable for both their successes and failures. CIA operatives orchestrated the overthrow of the government of Iran in 1953 and Jacob Arbenz's regime in Guatemala in 1954. However, efforts to oust Castro from Cuba following his rise to power consisted of a serious of failures culminating in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961. Though John F. Kennedy had asked Dulles to remain at CIA, after the invasion and the political fallout, Dulles, already past retirement age, resigned.
In retirement, Allen Dulles wrote books (including two autobiographical works) about his career in intelligence and appeared on numerous television programs to discuss foreign policy. He was called to public service once again, in 1963, when he was named to the Warren Commission. His connection to the CIA and its activities in Cuba would fuel later speculation about possible government complicity in Kennedy's assassination.
Dulles married Martha Clover Todd (known as Clover) of Baltimore, Maryland in 1920. She died in 1974. They had three children, Clover Todd (known as Toddy), Joan, and Allen Macy. Dulles's son sustained a near-fatal head wound while serving with the Marines in Korea, relegating him to supervised care for life.
The papers of Allen W. Dulles were donated by Mrs. Clover Todd Dulles in 1973 with additional papers provided by Mrs. Joan Buresch in 1974 and 2008 , and by Mrs. Clover Jebsen in 1974 .
- Archival Appraisal Information:
No appraisal information is available.
Processed with the generous support of Alexandra Buresch, Joan Dulles Buresch-Talley, Matthew Buresch, Allen Macy Dulles, Clover Jebsen Afokpa, Allen Dulles Jebsen, Joana Jebsen, Per H. and Margaret E. Jebsen and the assistance of the John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Fund.
- Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Susan J. Illis, Daniel Linke, Kristine Marconi, and Thomas Rosko assisted by Carl Esche, Christine Kitto, Terun Weed, Christina Aragon, Jake Bartalone, Grace Chen, Victoria Coleman, Natasha Ermolaev, Sue Jean Kim, Cei Maslen, James McGillivray, Wendy Phillips, Stan Ruda, Patrick Shorb, Isabel Tremblay, and Elizabeth Williamson. Finding aid written by Susan J. Illis, Daniel Linke, Kristine Marconi, and Thomas Rosko.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
- Conditions for Reproduction and 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.
- Special Requirements for Access:
Access to audiovisual material follows the Mudd Manuscript Library policy for preservation and access to audiovisual materials.
- Other Finding Aids:
The Allen W. Dulles Digital Files are described in a separate finding aid: Allen W. Dulles Papers: Digital Files Series
- Credit this material:
Allen W. Dulles Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library65 Olden StreetPrinceton, NJ 08540, USA(609) 258-6345
- Alternative Form Available:
FOR DIGITIZED CONTENT: Series 1: Correspondence and Series 4: Warren Commission Files have been digitized and may be viewed or downloaded through this finding aid. To view materials, navigate to the specific folder title, rather than the series.
- Subject Terms:
- Anti-Nazi movement -- Germany.
Diplomats -- United States -- 20th century -- Correspondence.
Espionage -- United States -- 20th century.
Intelligence Service -- United States -- 20th century.
Intelligence officers -- United States -- 20th century.
Lawyers -- United States -- 20th century -- Correspondence.
Neutrality -- United States -- 20th century.
Nuclear weapons and disarmament.
Spies -- United States -- 20th century -- Correspondence.
Spies -- United States -- 20th century -- Manuscripts.
Spy stories, American -- 20th century.
World War, 1914 - 1918 -- Underground movements -- Germany.
World War, 1939 - 1945 -- Secret service -- United States.
- Genre Terms:
- Council on foreign relations
Woodrow Wilson foundation
United States. American Commission to Negotiate Peace
United States. Central Intelligence Agency
United States. Foreign Service
United States. Office of Strategic Services
United States. Warren Commission
Sullivan & Cromwell (Firm)
Princeton University. Class of 1914.
Armstrong, Hamilton Fish, 1893-1973
Dewey, Thomas E. (Thomas Edmund), 1902-1971
Donovan, William J. (William Joseph), 1883-1959
Dulles, Allen, 1893-1969
Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959.
Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959.
Gaevernitz, Gero von
Gibson, Hugh, 1883-1954
Grew, Joseph C. (Joseph Clark), 1880-1965
Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945.
Hughes, John C.
Kennedy, John F. John Fitzgerald 1917-1963
Lansing, Robert, 1864-1928
Wolff, Karl, 1900-1984
- Cuba -- History -- Invasion, 1961.
Czechoslovakia -- History -- 1918 - 1938.
United States -- Foreign relations -- Soviet Union -- 20th century.
United States -- Foreign relations -- 20th century.