Contents and Arrangement

Subseries 5C: Speeches, 1941-1949

14 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Speeches subseries includes typed copies of the text for speeches, some of which include Forrestal's handwritten corrections, delivered by Forrestal while he was Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense, as well as a smaller number of speeches from when he was Under Secretary of the Navy. Many of the addresses were given at companies or industry or labor groups involved in war production. Forrestal also addressed business groups such as chambers of commerce, finance and economic groups, groups supporting the war effort, hospitals, press clubs, universities and colleges, and veterans groups, as well as the general public through radio addresses. In the speeches, Forrestal discussed the reorganization of the U.S. military, the post-war role of the military in national security and peacekeeping, industry and production (especially shipbuilding), the progress of World War II, and the importance of the Navy.

The subseries also includes chronological files under each position Forrestal held with the military. As Under Secretary of the Navy, the majority of his speeches concerned presenting Navy "E" awards to factories and other encouragement to business and industry involved in the war effort, as well as war bonds, the relationship between Navy policy and U.S. foreign policy, Navy weapons and ships, and the introduction of new Navy officials. As Secretary of the Navy, his speeches focused on the role of the Navy, the progress of the war, universal military training and preparedness, commending groups for their war service, bond drives, and the postwar Navy and U.S. military unification. As Secretary of Defense, Forrestal discussed unification, national security, the aviation program, the economy, life in the military (including integration and religion), the United Nations, the American way of life, commending individuals and groups for their war effort, and the global role of the United States.


Arranged alphabetically by speech title or location.

Collection History


Duplicate materials have been separated from this collection.


These papers were processed with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Adriane Hanson with the assistance of Clelia Douyon, Grace Haaland, Brandon Joseph, and Jamie LaMontagne in 2009. Finding aid written by Adriane Hanson in March 2009.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The 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.

Phonograph recordings of speeches and television appearances by Forrestal are located in Boxes 180 and 181.

Credit this material:

Subseries 5C: Speeches; James V. Forrestal Papers, MC051, 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:
  • ReCAP (rcpph): Box 155-168

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Existence and Location of Copies

FOR DIGITIZED CONTENT: The papers, with the exception of Series 6: Oversized Materials, have been digitized and may be viewed or downloaded through this finding aid. To view materials, navigate to a specific folder, rather than an entire series or subseries.

Related Materials

The Mudd Manuscript Library holds a number of collections related to World War II which may be accessed by selecting the subject "World War II" on the Princeton University Library Finding Aids Subject Browse Page. Collections of particular relevance to the James V. Forrestal Papers are the papers of Harold Gardiner Bowen, special assistant while Forrestal was Secretary of the Navy, and Ferdinand Eberstadt, an advisor to Forrestal throughout his military career.

Related collections at other institutions include the records of the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, the Department of the Navy, and the Secretary of Defense at the National Archives and a collection of Forrestal papers at the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C.

The Forrestal Diaries, edited by Walter Millis, was published in serial form in the New York Herald Tribune and in book form by Viking Press in 1951.


The following sources were consulted during the preparation of the biographical note: "Forrestal, James Vincent" by Jeffery M. Dorwart, American National Biography Online. (accessed January 14, 2009). "Forrestal, James V." biography from Current Biography, H.W. Wilson Company, 1948. "Forrestal Killed in 13-Story Leap; U.S. Mourning Set" by Walter H. Waggoner, The New York Times, May 23, 1949. "James V. Forrestal," U.S. Department of Defense biography. (accessed January 14, 2009).

United States. Department of Defense
United States. Navy
Forrestal, James (1892-1949)