Contents and Arrangement

Series 3, Addresses, Writings, and Interviews, 1930-1990

9 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Series 3, Addresses, Writings, and Interviews (1930-1990), most neatly bound on a chronological basis, offers a remarkably comprehensive record of Morse's perspective on a wide array of subjects, as well as the views of the entities on whose behalf he wrote and spoke, over the course of 60 years. Indeed, if the transcripts of the oral history interviews in which he participated are taken into account, this series can be said to encompass within itself an entire lifetime. Most of the thousands of words recorded here were intended for public consumption, but there are also items of a personal nature, the most notable of which is a volume of intimate reflections which spans the decade between 1956 and 1966 and which touches on such matters as global peace, education, poverty, and international personalities.

The category of addresses consists of Morse's utterances between 1936 and 1990, the majority of which were made in his capacity as Director-General of the ILO. They range from his message to the Scottish Trades Union Congress in 1949 to his speech at a luncheon in honor of the Vice President of Brazil in 1956 to his talk for the Voice of America in 1962 to his lecture on the occasion of the ILO's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969. Morse's visibility after his departure from the ILO is borne out by a substantial number of public utterances, the last of which, appropriately, took the form of a contribution to a panel on the organization he had once directed. Presented shortly before his death, his thoughts on the ILO are a revealing encapsulation of the story to which so large a proportion of the Morse Papers is dedicated.

The category of writings, which spans the years between 1930 and 1989, consists primarily of articles and the introductions and conclusions to the reports contained in Series 1: Subseries 3. Morse's articles range from "Industrial Peace -- At What Price?" in 1946 to "The World Situation and the I.L.O." in 1956 to "World Tragedy: More Workers than Jobs" in 1962 to "Labor in the Public Sector: An International Perspective" in 1978. His words appeared in a variety of publications, both in the United States and overseas, including the International Social Science Bulletin, The Indian Worker, the Ecumenical Review, and the Political Science Quarterly. A partial bibliography is available. In common with other public figures, Morse's writings, like his addresses, were, in many cases, drafted for him, but, as his surviving marginalia attest, he made them his own. Very much his own are the transcripts of two oral history projects to which he was a contributor after his departure from the ILO. One was conducted by Columbia University and the other by the Harry S. Truman Library, and, together, they constitute an autobiography of sorts, notable for its breadth and periodic depth and for its discursive spontaneity. The interviews commissioned by Columbia University were conducted in two stages. The first documents Morse's background, his childhood, student days, and first governmental appointments. The second carries Morse from his work as Chief Counsel for the Petroleum Labor Policy Board of the Department of Interior to his work as Director-General of the ILO, concluding with a discussion of his activities upon his return to the United States. Morse's association with the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor is passed over lightly, in virtue of the extensive treatment it receives in the interviews commissioned by the Harry S. Truman Library, the focus of which, of course, is the Truman administration. Both sets of interviews commissioned by Columbia University are indexed.


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:

Series 3, Addresses, Writings, and Interviews; David A. Morse Papers, MC097, Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
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