Contents and Arrangement

Subseries 1, General, 1895-1998

22 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Series 2: Subject Files, Subseries 1: General (1895-1998) is the most diverse component of the Morse Papers, ranging from highly personal matters to relatively inconsequential ones and touching on innumerable aspects of Morse's life. The material in this subseries is also the broadest of any in terms of time span, for while most of it postdates the Second World War, it includes documents held by Morse's family prior to his birth. The bulk of its folders are identified by the name of the individual or organization to whom or to which their contents relate, but a number are constituted on a broader basis, as in Morse's Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts requests or in the obituaries and tributes which followed his death. Much of the material in this subseries, be it personal correspondence or organizational documents, is routine, though at various junctures an issue of particular moment manifests itself. Considered collectively, this material provides a multidimensional picture of Morse's interests and involvements. For a fuller treatment of the different phases of his life, the subseries which precede and follow this one should be consulted.

That Morse was seldom idle, even after his departure from the ILO, is readily apparent on the basis of this material. His close association with institutions and organizations such as Rutgers University, the World Rehabilitation Fund, and the Council on Foreign Relations is well-documented. So, too, are his relationships with individuals the world over. Millard Cass' folder attests to the sometimes troubled nature of Morse's ties with George Meany, the pugnacious head of the AFL-CIO, and to the broader issue underlying this tension, namely, "whether," in Morse's words, "the U. S. Government and other governments want to continue to maintain the I.L.O. as a universal organization within the framework of the United Nations family, or to reduce it to a small, tightly knit group of countries which have the objective of carrying on political warfare with the Communists."

The prevailing sentiment in this subseries, however, reflecting the tenor of Morse's life, is one of mutual respect and, frequently, affection. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's folder, for instance, contains a note in her hand to Morse which can only be described as heartfelt. Morse's relationship with Francis Blanchard, the second man to succeed him as Director-General, is another case in point. Blanchard's folder demonstrates that Morse fulfilled the role of an eminence grise, ever ready with words of counsel and comfort. Perhaps the most arresting example of Morse's concern for others, even at one step's remove, can be found in Alain Rens's folder. Rens, the son of Morse's deputy, Jef Rens, joined the French Foreign Legion, an entanglement which he soon came to regret and which Morse went to great lengths to undo. That all was not irenic in Morse's life is evidenced by such folders as Herman Cooper's, Westbrook Pegler's, and George Shaw Wheeler's. They relate in one way or another to the anticommunist fears, sometimes justifiable and sometimes not, which gripped the United States at the height of the Cold War. Also, this subseries contains the censored photocopies of the Morse files collected by such government organizations as the FBI and CIA.


Arranged alphabetically by correspondent or topic.

Collection History


Duplicates were separated from the April 2008 accession. No information about appraisal is available for the other accessions associated with this collection.


These papers were processed with the generous support of Mildred H. Morse, wife of the late David A. Morse, and the John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Fund.

Processing Information

This collection was arranged and described by John S. Weeren with the able assistance of Fifi Chan and Tina Wang in 1995. Mildred Morse provided invaluable help in identifying photographs and contextualizing portions of this material. Additions received since 1995 were integrated into the collection by Adriane Hanson in 2008. Finding aid written by John S. Weeren in 1995. A subsequent accession in March 2011 was added to the collection as its own series, and the finding aid was updated at this time.

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:

Subseries 1, General; David A. Morse Papers, MC097, 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): Boxes 46-66; 58a