Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

John C. Bogle Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1948-2019 (mostly 1974-2000)
17 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Boxes 1-17; S-000129; S-000128; S-000130; S-000131; S-000132; S-000133; S-000134; S-000135; S-000136


John C. Bogle (1929-2019) founded the mutual fund company Vanguard and is a leader in the mutual fund industry. He is an outspoken advocate for low-cost investing, index funds, and the rights of investors, and a critic of the mutual fund industry. Bogle's papers document his career with Vanguard and Wellington Management Company, and his involvement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and include his speeches and correspondence, reports, memoranda, and clippings.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Bogle's papers document his career with Vanguard and Wellington Management Company, and his involvement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and include his speeches and correspondence, reports, memoranda, and clippings.

About half of the papers are composed of Bogle's speech and correspondence files. The majority of Bogle's speeches were delivered while he was at Vanguard, but also include some earlier speeches while he was employed by Wellington, and were presented at meetings of professional organization, universities and business classes, and to Vanguard employees. In the speeches, Bogle discussed mutual funds, investing strategies, the success of Vanguard, critiques of the mutual fund industry, the responsibilities of companies to their investors, and capitalism. Bogle's correspondence is largely with colleagues in the investment and financial industries or investors and discusses mutual funds, investing, and Vanguard. The letters include deliberations on the ideas presented in Bogle's writings and the writings of others, letters from satisfied investors, congratulatory letters from colleagues as Bogle reached milestones in his career, and invitations to events. The correspondence also includes letters from employees of Vanguard about their ideas and concerns for the company, and with fund directors on managing the funds.

The remaining papers include materials pertaining to the Security and Exchange Commission and to Bogle's career at Vanguard and Wellington. The Security and Exchange Commission materials include papers pertaining to rulings by the SEC about Vanguard and reports and correspondence submitted by Bogle and Vanguard to the SEC leadership with their opinions on the mutual fund industry. The main subjects include advertising, the independence of auditors, and the responsibilities of companies to investors. The papers related to Bogle's career at Vanguard include reports on the funds' performances and objectives, articles on indexing and Vanguard's first index fund, and organizational materials on Vanguard such as strategic planning documents, press releases, SEC hearings, and a manual for the board of directors. The papers related to Bogle's career at Wellington include his articles on mutual funds and reports to employees, clippings on Wellington and the investment industry, and reports, meeting minutes, and memoranda on the restructuring of Wellington in 1974 that resulted in the formation of Vanguard.


The Papers are arranged alphabetically by subject or document type.

Collection Creator Biography:


John C. Bogle (1929- 2019) founded the mutual fund company Vanguard and is a leader in the mutual fund industry. He is an outspoken advocate for low-cost investing, index funds, and the rights of investors, and a critic of the mutual fund industry.

John "Jack" Clifton Bogle and his twin brother David were born on May 8, 1929 in Montclair, New Jersey to William Yates Bogle, Jr. and Josephine Lorraine Hipkins. Bogle graduated from Blair Academy in 1947 and from Princeton University in 1951, where he majored in economics. Bogle also attended the University of Pennsylvania Evening School of Business and Finance from 1952 to 1959. He married Eve M. Sherrerd in 1956 and they had six children: Barbara Josephine, Jean Sherrerd, John Clifton, Jr., Nancy Moore, Sandra Hipkins, and Andrew Armstrong.

Bogle was hired a month after his graduation from Princeton University to be the clerk of Walter L. Morgan, founder and CEO of the Wellington Management Company in Philadelphia, in part on the strength of Bogle's undergraduate thesis on the mutual fund industry. Wellington was at the time one of the largest investment advisors in the United States and a pioneer in the fund industry. Early in his career at Wellington, Bogle was acknowledged as the "heir-apparent" to Morgan. He was named assistant to the president in 1955 and elected to the Board of Directors in 1960. He was promoted to administrative vice president in 1962 and to executive vice president in 1965. In November of 1967, Bogle was elected president and chief executive officer of Wellington and in 1970 also became chairman of the Wellington Funds. From 1969 to 1970, Bogle also served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry's trade association, which made him the chief industry spokesman.

The 1970s were a difficult time for securities and particularly for Wellington, which performed worse than most companies. Bogle was also often in conflict with the board, which was majority controlled by individuals from a merger with Boston's Thorndike, Doran, Paine & Lewis, Inc., over investment, marketing, and management strategies. In January of 1974, Bogle was fired by the board of the Wellington Management Company. However, as required by law, the Wellington Funds had an independent board of directors who voted to retain Bogle as chairman. The Vanguard Group was incorporated in June 1974 to handle the administrative functions of the Funds, such as ensuring regulatory compliance and sending mailings to shareholders, with Bogle as chairman and chief executive officer. The investment advisory and distribution operations remained with Wellington. Bogle named the corporation, which was located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, after Lord Nelson's flagship that defeated Napoleon in the Battle of the Nile, one of the most decisive victories in naval history.

Vanguard had inauspicious beginnings. For eighty months, investors redeemed more shares of Vanguard-distributed funds than they bought. Since that time, however, the mutual fund industry has grown considerably, and Vanguard's growth has exceeded that of the industry. Vanguard began in 1974 with a little over $1 billion in assets. By 1990, Vanguard was the nation's fourth-largest mutual fund company with $50 billion in assets, and by 1993 Vanguard was second-largest behind Fidelity Investments with over $110 billion in assets.

Under Bogle's leadership, Vanguard offered the first index fund to retail investors in 1976, the First Index Investment Trust, which tracked the market benchmark of Standard & Poor's 500 Index. Since that time, Bogle and Vanguard have been the leading proponents for indexing, and Bogle has earned the title of "the father of index funds." Initially, this form of investing was supported by many on Wall Street and the academic world but not among professional investors, and Vanguard's index fund was poorly received. The perception of the funds changed through the 1980s and especially the 1990s, and by 2000 the Vanguard 500 Index Fund (originally the First Index Investment Trust) became the world's largest mutual fund

Throughout his career, Bogle has been a leader and an outspoken critic of the mutual fund industry. He promotes mutual funds and long-term, low-cost investing strategies, especially index-based funds, and has emphasized the importance of putting the fund shareholders' interests first, values which have earned him the title "St. Jack" among some Vanguard shareholders. At the same time, he censures the industry for its fees and practices in his writings and addresses, and in letters to the Securities and Exchange Commission, congressmen, magazine editors, and shareholders. He criticizes what he views as excessive fees, the lack of accountability to the shareholders of funds, deceptive advertising and overly-aggressive marketing strategies, and the conflict of interest in companies that must satisfy their own shareholders by earning a profit through increased fees to fund shareholders. In contrast, Bogle established Vanguard as a not-for-profit corporation owned by the Funds, which operates on the principle of keeping costs to the shareholders of the funds at a minimum.

Bogle stepped down as chief executive officer of Vanguard in 1996 but remained chairman of the Vanguard Funds and the Vanguard Management Company. Bogle's successor as chief executive officer was John J. Brennan, who had been identified as Bogle's heir-apparent for several years. Bogle became senior chairman, and Brennan became chairman, in 1998. Bogle retired from the Vanguard board of directors in 1999, after reaching the mandatory retirement age. Vanguard established the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center that year, with Bogle as president. The center, located on the Vanguard campus, allows Bogle to continue investigating and advocating for his central issues, including buy-and-hold investing, index funds, and low fees for all mutual funds. Bogle writes books, delivers speeches, and serves as a public advocate for investors and mutual funds. He has authored several books, including Bogle on Mutual Funds (1994), Common Sense on Mutual Funds (1999), John Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years (2001), Character Counts: The Creation and Building of the Vanguard Group (2002), and The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism (2005). As of 2007, Bogle is still the president of the center.

Collection History


This collection was donated by John C. Bogle in December 2004 , with additions from 2005 to 2007 .

Mr. Bogle donated his 2008 and 2009 speeches in April 2017 [ML.2017.009], his 2010 and 2011 speeches in May 2017 [ML.2017.015], his 2012 and 2013 speeches in June 2017 [ML.2017.020], and his 2014 and 2015 speeches in September 2017 [ML.2017.025). In March 2018, he donated his 2016 speeches and publications from 2015-2017 [ML.2018.002]. Mr. Bogle donated his professional correspondence in February 2020 [ML.2020.007].


Publications have been removed from this collection to be cataloged separately.

Due to the presence of personally identifiable information, certain documents in the Correspondence series have been removed and a small number of documents in Box 1 have been line-redacted.


These papers were processed with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Fund, and John C. Bogle.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Adriane Hanson and Christopher Shannon in 2007. Material arrived in five accessions between 2004 and 2007. Processing activities included re-housing material in archival folders and boxes and arranging materials into series as identified in the finding aid. Finding aid written by Adriane Hanson in May 2007. Materials in two subsequent accruals in 2008 and 2012 were incorporated into the existing collection and the finding aid was updated at this time. Additional materials received in 2017-2018 were incorporated into the collection by Rachel Van Unen. Another acquisition of materials was made in 2020 and processed by Quin DeLaRosa in 2022.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The 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, 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.

Thirteen VHS tapes of Bogle's television appearances are located in Box 10.

Credit this material:

John C. Bogle 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): Boxes 1-17; S-000129; S-000128; S-000130; S-000131; S-000132; S-000133; S-000134; S-000135; S-000136

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Related Materials

This collection is part of a group of 28 Mudd Manuscript Library collections related to 20th century economic thought and development which were processed as part of a National Historical Publications and Records Commission funded project. Researchers wishing to access these collections should search for the subject "Economics--20th century" or related terms in the Princeton University Library Main Catalog. Researchers may also consult our LibGuide on Economics Collections at the Mudd Libary.


The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note: "Bogle Financial Markets Research Center" on the Vanguard website, Accessed April 23, 2006. Bogle, John C., Class of 1951; Undergraduate Alumni Records, Box 313; University Archives, Special Collections, Princeton University. John Bogle and the Vanguard Experiment by Robert Slater. Irwin Professional Publishing: Chicago, 1997.

Subject Terms:
Economics -- 20th century.
Index mutual funds.
Investment advisors -- United States.
Investments -- United States.
Mutual funds.
Genre Terms:
Wellington Management Company
United States. Securities and Exchange Commission
Vanguard Group of Investment Companies
Bogle, John C. (1929-)