Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Keeley, James H. (James Hugh), 1895-1990
James Hugh Keeley, Jr. Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1898-1975 (mostly 1921-1975)
59 boxes and 2 items
Storage Note:
Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-57


The James H. Keeley Jr. papers document Keeley's career in the Foreign Service from 1920 through the 1960s. Over the course of his career, Keeley served in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Canada, Greece, Belgium, and Italy.

Collection Description & Creator Information


Consists primarily of correspondence but also includes writings, clippings, various personal records, and photographs that document Keeley's career in the Foreign Service. Series 1 contains personal and office correspondence that details the foreign service world and the political climate in countries where Keeley was stationed. Series 2 is not extensive and supplements Series 1. Most of the material details Keeley's work as consul general in Athens, Greece (1946-1947) and his involvement in the Allied Mission for Observing the Greek Elections and also includes official and family correspondence. Series 3 documents Keeley's personal life. Of specific interest are drafts of articles Keeley wrote, including those about life in Damascus (circa 1924-1928). The first subseries of Series 4 contains correspondence between Keeley and his immediate family. The second subseries contains correspondence between both Keeley and his wife, their siblings, parents and extended family. Series 5 contains personal and family photographs and a photo album that documents family life in Damascus, including the Druze revolt of 1925. Photos of Bedouins in Syria (circa 1923) and Palestinian scenes after the earthquake of 1927 are included.

Collection Creator Biography:

Keeley, James H. (James Hugh), 1895-1990

James H. Keeley, Jr. (1895-1990) was born in Curwensville, Pennsylvania. He attended the Military School of Aeronautics, Princeton University, in 1917, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the American University of Beirut in 1931. After serving as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War I, Keeley worked in the restaurant business until 1920 when he joined the Foreign Service.

Keeley's early career in the Foreign Service featured a series of postings in the Middle East: vice consul at Istanbul, Turkey, 1920-1923; consul at Damascus, Syria, 1923-28; and consul at Beirut, Lebanon, 1928-1931. From there Keeley moved to Montreal, where he served for four years, and then to Salonika, Greece, where he was consul from 1936-1939. After the outbreak of war in Europe, Keeley returned to Washington, where he held a variety of State Department posts, including chief of the Special War Problems Division from March 1943-September 1944.

In the fall of 1944 Keeley returned to Europe, serving in Antwerp and then Athens until 1947. In 1948 Keeley was named American minister to Syria, which made him the chief American diplomatic representative in Syria at that time. Keeley held this position until 1950.

In 1950 Keeley returned to the United States, spending two years as a fellow in international relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and the 1952-53 academic year as chairman of the Near East Seminar at the State Department Foreign Service Institute. In June 1953 he became consul-general in Palermo, Italy, and served there until his retirement in the early 1960s.

Keeley married Mathilde Vossler in December 1922. They had three sons: Hugh Morgan ("Budge"), Edmund LeRoy ("Mike"), and Robert.

Collection History


Gift of Keeley's sons, Edmund and Robert, and his daughter-in-law, Darlene Keeley in 1996 (ML1996-1).


No information about appraisal is available for this collection.


These papers were processed with the generous support of Edmund and Robert Keeley and Princeton University's Department of Hellenic Studies.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Grace Kashangaki in 1999 and Helene van Rossum in 2002. Finding aid written by Grace Kashangaki in 1999 and Helene van Rossum in 2002. The materials were arranged into series and sub-series and collection-level and series-level descriptions were created within this time frame. Restricted materials were removed during processing, re-housed in separate boxes and listed as restricted in the finding aid.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

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.

Credit this material:

James Hugh Keeley, Jr. 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 (mudd): Box 1-57