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Notestein, Frank W. (Frank Wallace), 1902-
Frank W. Notestein Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
33 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-33


Frank W. Notestein contributed significantly to the science of demography and to a better understanding of population problems in world affairs. The Frank W. Notestein Papers contain correspondence, speeches, and writings documenting the research, ideas, career and leadership roles of this former Princeton professor, director of the Office of Population Research, and president of the Population Council.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Frank W. Notestein Papers document his position as a leader in the field of population and fertility research through his involvement at Princeton University as the Director of the Office of Population Research and as a faculty member (although the papers do not include substantial information on his classes or students), as well as through his work with the Population Council and the Population Association of America. It also documents his significant advisory role to both the United Nations and the United States Government. The Frank W. Notestein Papers include mostly typewritten letters and notes to and from Notestein, as well as some handwritten information, including demographic research, and typewritten and printed copies of papers and speeches. Dr. Ansely J. Coale, Notestein's successor at the OPR, also contributed significantly to this group of papers through his own correspondence and reports.

Please see series descriptions in contents list for additional information about individual series.

Collection Creator Biography:

Notestein, Frank W. (Frank Wallace), 1902-

Frank W. (Wallace) Notestein contributed significantly to the science of demography and to a better understanding of population problems in world affairs, notably through his work on family planning and population control. Born in Alma, Michigan in 1902, Notestein received his undergraduate degree from the College of Wooster in 1923. He earned his PhD in Economics from Cornell University in 1927 and was an Economics instructor there from 1926-1927. From 1927 through 1928, Notestein worked abroad as a fellow of the Social Sciences Research Council. He began work for the Milbank Memorial Fund, an endowed national foundation that supports nonpartisan analysis, study, and research on significant issues in health policy, as a research assistant and then became a member of its technical staff from 1929 through 1936, working on differential fertility, the total genetic contribution to the next generation.

In 1936, Notestein began as a Lecturer at Princeton University. At the same time, he developed and directed the Office of Population Research (OPR) at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs with funding from the Milbank Memorial Fund. The OPR focused on the study of the interrelation of population growth and change in underdeveloped areas and on the social and psychological factors affecting fertility in the American family. By 1941, Notestein had attained full professorship as the Director of the OPR and as a professor of Demography, holding both titles until his resignation in 1959. Notestein remained as "Acting Director" of the OPR for the fall 1959 term while his successor, Ansley J. Coale, took a sabbatical. After Notestein's resignation, he remained involved at Princeton as a "Visiting Senior Demographer" through 1963. In addition, he was a "Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs," at Princeton beginning in 1968. He maintained both positions until June 1982.

Notestein's resignation from full professorship and director of the OPR at Princeton allowed him to become the president of the Population Council (PC) until 1968. The PC was founded in 1952 by John D. Rockefeller III to study and promote understanding of the scientific aspects of population change throughout the world by fostering scientific theory and research in social, economic and medical fields. Notestein had been a trustee of the PC since its establishment.

Along with Notestein's positions at Princeton and the PC, he was the organizer and first director of the Population Division of the United Nations, 1946-1948. In 1955 he advised India's Minister of Health on population policies and beginning a population center for training and research on demography in India. He chaired the Technical Advisory Committee on Population for the 1950 United States Census and was a member of the 1960 United States Census Committee.

Notestein was a co-editor of the Population Index, a bibliography of population literature that was the official publication of the Population Association of American and the OPR from 1936-1957. He co-authored Controlled Fertility in 1940 and The Future Population of Europe and the Soviet Union in 1944, as well as authoring numerous journal publications. Notestein was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Sociological Association, and the American Statistical Association. He was a member of the American Eugenics Society, the American Philosophical Society, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Statistical Institute, the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, the Population Association of America, and the Century Association.

Notestein married Daphne Limbach in 1927; they had no children. He passed away in 1983.

Collection History


Gift of Mrs. Daphne Notestein in June 1993 [ML1993-12].

The four boxes of microfilm in Box 33 are labeled as having been "Deposited by Professor Frank W. Notestein" and have "Deposit No. 9168 Manuscript Division" on them. In 2012, they were found loose on the shelves among the Princeton University Archives. Their whereabouts prior to this date and the exact nature of their origin are unknown.


No information on appraisal is available for this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer Cole in October 2005. Finding aid written by Jennifer Cole in October 2005. The microfilm in box 33 was added by Christie Peterson in June 2012 and the finding aid was updated at this time.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, any copyright vested in the donor has passed to Princeton University and researchers are free to move forward with use of materials without anything further from Mudd Library. For materials not created by the donor, where the copyright is not held by the University, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. In these instances, researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use. If you have a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting 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:

Frank W. Notestein 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 1-33

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Related Materials

Other material at the Mudd Manuscript Library relating to Frank W. Notestein includes his faculty file, part of the University Archives Collection. Additionally, Mudd holds the archives of the Council on Foreign Relations, of which Notestein was a member. Mudd Library has a strong collection in economics and demography including the papers of Alfred J. Lotka, Ansley J. Coale, and the Hugh Moore Fund, which may also be of interest to researchers.


Material within the Notestein Papers, notably from the Personal Series, provided the information for the biography on Notestein.

Subject Terms:
Population research
Genre Terms:
Council on foreign relations
United Nations
United States
United States. Bureau of the Census.
The Rockefeller Foundation
Milbank Memorial Fund
Population association of America
Population Council
Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University. Office of Population Research.
Berelson, Bernard, 1912-1979.
Coale, Ansley J. (1917-2002)
Lorimer, Frank, 1894-1985
Taeuber, Irene B. (Irene Barnes), 1906-1974