Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Close, Gilbert F.
Gilbert F. Close Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1906-1952 (mostly 1918-1919)
4 boxes and 2 items
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-4


During World War I, Gilbert Fairchild Close held several positions in the government of President Woodrow Wilson, culminating with that of Stenographer and Private Secretary to the President. The papers document Close's work with Wilson, including the trip Close took to Europe with Wilson for the Paris Peace Conference at the conclusion of World War I.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of personal and professional correspondence from Close's tenure in the government, as well as items gathered while traveling with President Wilson to Europe in 1918-1919 for the Paris Peace Conference. Many photographs from the trip are part of the collection, including multiple photos of President Woodrow Wilson, Britain's David Lloyd George, France's Georges Clemenceau, and Italy's Vittorio Orlando.

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

Collection Creator Biography:

Close, Gilbert F.

During World War I, Gilbert Fairchild Close held several positions in the government of President Woodrow Wilson, culminating with that of Stenographer and Private Secretary to the President.

Close was born January 7, 1881 in Pittsford, NY, the son of John Edward and Mary Ellen Hooper Close. He entered Princeton University in 1899 and graduated with the Class of 1903. Subsequently he earned his Masters from Princeton in 1909.

From 1903 to 1906, Close worked for the newly organized Princeton Alumni Weekly. Following five months with the First National Bank of Scranton, Close returned to Princeton to work as Secretary to the President of the University, Woodrow Wilson, with whom he had taken classes as an undergraduate. After three and a half years as Secretary, Close took the position of Editor of Official Publications and Assistant to the Secretary of Princeton University. In May 1917, he left that post to serve as Confidential Clerk and Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy. Close served Wilson as Stenographer and Private Secretary to the President between August 1918 and February 1920. During this time, Close was often by the President's side, whether vacationing with him, or more significantly, accompanying him to the Paris Peace Conference. One of Close's duties at the conference was to type the first draft of the Treaty of Versailles. Following the Peace Conference, Close joined the President on his tour of the United States to promote the treaty.

For the remainder of his career, Close worked for the Commonwealth Steel Company, and its successor, General Steel Broad Castings. His titles with the company included Assistant to the President, Editor of The Commonwealther, Director of Personnel, and Director of Public Relations.

Close married Helen Smith Farrer in 1908. The couple had three children, Gilbert Fairchild, Jr., Charles Donald, and Helen Elizabeth. Following his wife's death in 1937, Close married Mrs. Marva D. House. He died in 1952.

Collection History


This collection was donated by Close's daughter, Helen Close McCann, in June 2003 .


Unused stationary, a 1945 radio address, and newspaper clippings were separated from this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer Sharp in June 2006. One box of material had been re-housed in an archival box at the time of accessioning in 2003. Finding aid written by Jennifer Sharp in June 2006.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The 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, any copyright vested in the donor has passed to The Trustees of Princeton University and researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of donor-created materials within the collection. For materials in the collection not created by the donor, or where the material is not an original, the copyright is likely not held by the University. In these instances, 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. 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 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:

Gilbert F. Close 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 1-4

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital images of some photographic prints in this collection are available via Flickr.

Related Materials

Gilbert Close's notebooks from his work with the President are part of the library's Woodrow Wilson collection, MC168. See Series 2: Correspondence, Subseries C: Special Collections, Topic 1: Gilbert F. Close (Box 29). The notes were taken in shorthand, though some proper names are decipherable. The papers are in addition to the Mudd Library's collection of Wilson's own papers, as well as those of his Secretary of State, Robert Lansing, and his Secretary of War, Lindley Garrison.

This collection is part of a group of over 20 collections held at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library related to Woodrow Wilson, which can be located by searching for the subject "Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924" on the Princeton Finding Aids website or in the Princeton Library Main Catalog.

Please see Woodrow Wilson: A Guide to Selected Resources in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library for more particulars.


Associated Press. (1952, October 27). Gilbert Close, Aide to President Wilson. New York TImes,p. 27. Princeton University Class of 1903. (1923). Twenty-year Record of the Class of 1903. Princeton: Princeton University. Princeton University Class of 1903. (1953). Fifty Years Later: The Half Century Record of the Class of 1903 of Princeton University. Princeton: Princeton University.

Subject Terms:
League of Nations.
Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920).
Treaty of Versailles (1919).
World War, 1914-1918.
Genre Terms:
Lloyd George, David, 1863-1945.
Albert I, King of the Belgians, 1875-1934
Clémenceau, Georges, 1841-1929
Close, Gilbert F.
Orlando, Vittorio Emanuele, 1860-1952
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.