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Collection Overview

Earle, Edward Mead, 1894-1954
Edward Mead Earle Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
39 boxes and 2 items
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-39


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.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection consists of professional correspondence between Earle and university professors, government officials, and influential members of committees and councils. This correspondence reveals the extent of Earle's diverse network of associations as well as that of his business travels both locally to New York and Washington and abroad to the Caribbean, England, and Western Europe. The other substantial portion of the collection is comprised of the files of the American Committee for International Studies (ACIS)--the American member of the International Studies Conference, administered by the Council on Foreign Relations -- of which Earle was chair. Additionally, there is a significant amount of information documenting Earle's involvement with the National War College, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Foundation for the Advancement of Social Sciences (University of Denver). The collection contains some of Earle's writings such as memoranda, lectures, addresses, published articles and books and a limited amount of Earle's research notes and clippings. Supplementing the writings is substantial correspondence relating in particular to two books edited by Earle: Makers of Modern Strategy and Nationalism and Internationalism.


The Edward Mead Earle Papers are divided into six series. Respectively they are:

Collection Creator Biography:

Earle, Edward Mead, 1894-1954

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.

Collection History


The papers were donated by Beatrice Lowndes Earle in December of 1964 . The correspondence and all other papers (1940-1954) were donated in one accession; additional material relating to Earle's work came later.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Laura H. Graedel in May - August 1992. Finding aid written by Laura H. Graedel in May - August 1992.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

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:

Edward Mead Earle 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 1-39

Find More

Related Materials

Flexner, Bernard, Papers: (Bernard Flexner: lawyer, organizer of the Palestine Economic Corporation, 1925) This collection contains incoming and outgoing correspondence relating to Earle, covering the years 1929-1943. Aside from references to personal matters (the two men and their families appear to have been quite close), the correspondence deals with Earle's editing of a new edition of The Federalist (1937-1938) and Earle's compiling of a bibliography of books on United States history entitled The United States: History and Institutions: A Brief Reading List (1942). Both projects appear to have been proposed by Flexner in some manner -- or at least he had a substantial hand in the process. The correspondence also relates to Flexner's involvement in the relocation of German scholar refugees (1933-1934) and to the issue of Jewish immigration into Palestine (c.1939). Each man appears to hold the other in esteem and frequently asks advice of the other on articles written or current issues.

Subject Terms:
Air power.
Government consultants -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
International relations -- 20th century.
International relations specialists -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Military art and science -- United States -- 20th century.
United States -- History, Military -- 20th century.
Genre Terms:
Conference on North Atlantic Relations (1941 : ‡c Prout's Neck, Me.)
United States. Army Air Forces
Supreme commander for the allied powers
National War College (U.S.)