Contents and Arrangement

Series 1, Subseries 1, Subject Files, 1916-1997

100 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Series 1, Subseries 1, Subject Files, 1916-1994, contains incoming and outgoing correspondence, memoranda, reports, clippings, manuscripts, speeches, press releases and publications, and is filed alphabetically by author or subject. The subject files mainly document Ball's life prior to his appointment as under secretary of state for economic affairs and after his resignation as ambassador to the United Nations. These files contain information on a myriad of subjects in which Ball was involved or interested. His careers are well documented in this subseries, including his work on the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, which included the interrogation of Albert Speer, his years spent at Cleary, Gottlieb, and his international banking experience gained at Lehman Brothers.

While his career accomplishments were vast and varied, Ball considered his work with Jean Monnet on the "perestroika" of Western Europe the most interesting and more productive than his "rearguard" action against the Vietnam War. Ball's work with Monnet on European integration is detailed throughout numerous folders in this subseries. The seventeen memoranda Ball wrote outlining his opposition to the Vietnam War are included in this subseries as well. Researchers should note that copies have been made of the original memoranda for preservation purposes and are located at the front of the folders. The originals can be found at the rear of the folder and should only be consulted if the copy is illegible.

The relationships Ball developed with various colleagues are documented here as well. One of his earliest ties born from an employment association was with Adlai Stevenson. Ball and Stevenson's correspondence reveals a close relationship that started in 1939 while both were employed with the law firm of Sidley, McPherson, Austin & Harper, and continued until Stevenson's death. The various Stevenson campaigns also brought about life-long friendships with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and Wilson Wyatt, while wartime work brought about a close friendship with John Kenneth Galbraith and Eugene Rostow. Ball also corresponded somewhat regularly with fellow members of Cleary, Gottlieb, and Ball often contacted them, after he had severed his ties, to enlist their services on matters. More often than not, the correspondence between Ball and members of the firm are found in the Cleary, Gottlieb files.

The relationships he developed while undersecretary of state are also well documented. Despite some disagreements over U.S. involvement in Vietnam, Ball developed a close relationship with Secretary of State Dean Rusk that continued until Ball's death. Their respect and mutual admiration for each other is evident in their correspondence. Another secretary of state whom Ball respected and admired was Dean Acheson. The two became close during Ball's tenure at the Farm Credit Administration. Other State Department colleagues with whom Ball corresponded after his retirement included W. Michael Blumenthal, William P. Bundy, Nicholas de B. Katzenbach, J. Robert Schaetzel and George S. Springsteen. Ball's latter years at Lehman Brothers were also characterized by several friendships, including a close one with Chairman Peter G. Peterson.

Ball was involved in numerous membership organizations, including the Council on Foreign Relations, the Century Association, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the highly secretive Bilderberg Group. The group took its name from a hotel in the Netherlands where the group first met in 1954. It was established to foster frank, confidential discussions between Europeans and North Americans on current issues affecting foreign affairs and the international economy. The group meets once a year in various locations throughout Western Europe and North America. Men and women of notable achievement are invited by members of a permanent steering committee on each occasion to attend. Ball was one of the first North American members of the Bilderberg Group and attended every meeting except for one before his death. Ball considered Bilderberg to be the most useful organization to which he belonged.


No arrangement action taken or arrangement information not recorded at the time of processing.

Collection History


No appraisal information is available.


The George W. Ball Papers were processed with the generous support of Douglas B. Ball, Alan S. Dunning, John Kenneth Galbraith, Richard Hinds, Richard Hulbert, Jerome Hyman, James G. Johnson, Jr., Henry Kissinger, Robert McCabe, Andre Newberg, Peter G. Peterson, David Rockefeller, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Adlai Stevenson III, Phillips Talbot, Donald Wilson and The John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Fund.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kristine Marconi McGee in 1999-2002 with the assistance of Christie Lutz, Rachel Koblic, Amy Bergbreiter, Everitt Clark, Nate Holland, Hilary Matson, John Matsui, Brooke Meserole, Suzanne Seifert, Brian Weiss and Megan Wernke. Finding aid written by Kristine Marconi McGee in 1999-2002.

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, any copyright vested in the donor has passed to The Trustees of Princeton University and researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of donor-created materials within the collection. For materials in the collection not created by the donor, or where the material is not an original, the copyright is likely not held by the University. In these instances, 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. 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 a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting 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:

Series 1, Subseries 1, Subject Files; George W. Ball Papers, MC031, Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-100