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Collection Overview

Wright, J. Butler (Joshua Butler), 1877-1939
Joshua Butler Wright Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
3 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-3


The Joshua Butler Wright Papers (1909-1938) document a thirty year diplomatic career in legations and embassies of the United States in Europe and South America and as Assistant Secretary of State under President Calvin Coolidge. The Collection contains correspondence, documents, publications and most notably, diaries reflecting Wright's impressions of various official and non-official activities.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of selected papers of Wright documenting his diplomatic career. ‡b Included are 16 diaries spanning the years 1909-1918, 1927-1928, 1931-1932, and 1936; some correspondence; a scrapbook on the Rogers Act of 1922 concerning the reorganization of the foreign service; and a document on the German-Czechoslovakian crisis of 1938.

Collection Creator Biography:

Wright, J. Butler (Joshua Butler), 1877-1939

Joshua Butler Wright (1877-1939), a member of the diplomatic service was born in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, on October 18, 1877, the son of Louis Bogert and Caroline Isabel (Richards) Wright. After graduating from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1899, he began a career in banking in New York until 1906 when he resigned to pursue a career in farming and stock raising in Wyoming.

After dabbling in the rural life, Wright began his foreign service career which spanned thirty years and encompassed travels all over the globe. His first appointment was as secretary of the American Legation, Tegucigalpa, Honduras from 1909-1912. Wright was assigned special duty at the Department of State and then became Secretary of the American Legation, at Brussels, Belgium from 1912-1913. He served as secretary to the American delegation to the Opium Conference at the Hague in 1913. He became Secretary to the Embassy, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1913-1915 and then Acting Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs in 1915. He was Counselor of the Embassy at St. Petersburg 1916-1917. In 1918 he returned briefly to the United States serving at the Department of State and as Counselor of the Embassy in London from 1918 to 1921. In 1921 Wright was Expert Assistant to the American Commissioners at the Conference on Limitation of Armaments in Washington, D.C. Wright served as United States Commissioner to the Brazilian Centennial Exposition, Rio de Janeiro in 1922. He was the Secretary of the U.S. delegation to the fifth International Conference of American States at Santiago, Chile from March through May 1923. Wright was the Third Assistant Secretary of State from January 30, 1923 to July 1, 1924 and Assistant Secretary of State between 1924 and 1927. After serving as the Assistant Secretary of State, Wright held a succession of ministerships including: Hungary 1927-1930; Uruguay 1930-1934 and Czechoslovakia 1934-1937. He was Ambassador to Cuba from July 1937 until his death on December 4, 1939.

Following his death in Havana, Cuba, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the light cruiser the U.S.S. Omaha to bring back Wright's body to the United States. Funeral services were held at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. on December 11, 1939.

Collection History


The collection was a gift of his daughter, Mary Wright Lampson in June 1992 (Accession #ML1992-15).


There is no information about appraisal for this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jean Holliday in 1992. Finding aid written by Jean Holliday in 1992.

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:

Joshua Butler Wright Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-3