Contents and Arrangement

Subseries 4, Mildred H. Morse, 1900-1974

3 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Series 2: Subject Files, Subseries 4, Mildred H. Morse (1900-1974) consists chiefly of letters written to or from Mildred Morse, Morse's wife of 53 years, between 1919 and 1969. The broad time span of this subseries, which includes correspondence between members of Mrs. Morse's family prior to her birth as well as childhood notes, offers a rich and evolving portrait of Mrs. Morse and her world. Of particular interest in this regard is the folder relating to Mrs. Morse's presentation at the Court of St. James in 1931. She was one of a privileged circle of debutantes to appear before the British King and Queen. Among the items contained in this folder are an exchange of letters between her mother and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nicholas Longworth, who put forward her name, and a number of effusive newspaper clippings.

The majority of the correspondence in this subseries, which is the most intimate of any in the Morse Papers, dates from the time of Morse's overseas service in the Second World War. The couple exchanged hundreds of letters during this period, often using affectionate names such as "angel duck" and "angel pie," and unique to Mrs. Morse, "Pedie" or "Peter." As Morse put it in a letter written in England in May 1944, "I've seen lots of things these last months, but never anything or anyone that even starts to resemble the beauty and quality of my adorable sweet wife. And I'm not just saying this to hear myself talk, it comes from awful way down deep." The Morses' diary-like correspondence took various forms, including postcards, densely written V-Mail, and letters, and, thanks to fairly consistent dating and, in many cases, sequential numbering, scholars can follow the couple's lines of thought and, within the limits imposed by military secrecy, lines of action on both the home and foreign fronts. This correspondence sheds light not only on the mentality of the Morses but on that of American citizens in wartime. In addition to mutual devotion, the emotions which manifest themselves include frustration -- "let's get the damned war over with" (October 1944) -- revulsion at Nazi barbarism -- "one can't afford to be too homesick when such monsters are loose in the world" (October 1944) -- and sorrow over the death of Franklin Roosevelt -- "yesterday was the saddest day that I have known since my father died" (April 1945).


Arranged chronologically.

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 4, Mildred H. Morse; 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): Box 70-72