Contents and Arrangement

Series 2, Subseries 1: Executive Directors, 1940-1995

49 boxes
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Series 2, Subseries 1: Executive Directors, 1940-1995 files contain correspondence, memoranda, clippings, reports, and articles reflecting each man's interests. George Field served as the first executive director of the organization, from its inception until 1967.

Under Field's directorship, Freedom House established the annual Freedom Award, supported the Marshall Plan and the creation of NATO, published the Balance Sheet of Freedom, held conferences and established the Wendell Willkie Memorial Building.

Leonard Sussman succeeded Field in 1967. Sussman, a journalist, enlarged and diversified the organization's programs. He developed a bi-monthly magazine, Freedom at Issue, the newsletter Freedom Monitor, and the yearly survey of political rights and civil liberties. Sussman was also instrumental in the creation of the International Council on the Future of Universities (ICFU), which for ten years organized scholars and intellectuals in Western Europe and the U.S. to defend higher education in the face of ideological assaults from inside and outside the academy. In 1973, an ICFU conference in Venice attended by 100 scholars from 15 countries concluded that greater pluralism was needed in higher education. Sussman retired as executive director in 1987 but remained associated with the organization as its senior scholar in international communications.

R. Bruce McColm served as the director of the organization's Center for Caribbean and Central American Studies. In 1987, he was named deputy director and then elected executive director by the board in 1988. McColm increased Freedom House's visibility in Washington, D.C. and developed the Freedom Fund, which assisted democratic revolutions and provided civic education materials for the election campaigns in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. To further facilitate the growth of civil society in Czechoslovakia and Hungary, the organization sponsored public policy institutes in those countries.

McColm left Freedom House in 1993 and was replaced by Adrian Karatnycky, a trade union and human rights activist. In 1997, Freedom House merged with the National Forum Foundation. Karatnycky became president, and the former president of the NFF, Jim Denton, was named the new executive director. Few records of the Karatnycky and Denton administration are found in the collection.


The materials in this subseries are arranged chronologically by director and alphabetically thereafter.

Collection History


Accruals are expected from Freedom House on a periodic basis.


Duplicates and secondary source reference materials were separated from the collection in 2000 and 2001. No material was separated during accessioning in 2007-2017.


These Archives were processed with the generous support of The National Historical Publications and Records Commission and The John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Fund.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kristine Marconi McGee in 1999-2000 with the assistance of Christine Kitto, Nicole Basta, Patrick Gallagher, Michael Gibney, Meghan Glass, Nate Holland, Chris Hoyte, Shantanu Mukherjee, Eric Reimer, Stan Ruda, Noelia Saenz, Brian Schulz, Sid Smith, Jeremy Sturchio, and Laura Vanderkam. Finding aid written by Kristine Marconi McGee in 1999-2000. The finding aid was updated to include accessions from 2000 through 2007 by Adriane Hanson in 2008. Materials from the 2011-2017 accessions were added to the collection as individual series or as parts of existing series and the finding aid was updated to reflect these additions.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use except for Board materials in Series 18. All Board materials received from 2017 onward are closed for 25 years from the date of their creation.

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, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.

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 2, Subseries 1: Executive Directors; Freedom House Records, MC187, 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 26-74