Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Kirkpatrick, Lyman B.
Lyman B. Kirkpatrick Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
circa 1933-2000 (mostly 1942-1982)
12 boxes and 1 folder
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-12


Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, Jr. served with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from its inception in 1947 until 1965. The papers document Kirkpatrick's career at the CIA, including his role as inspector general during the Bay of Pigs invasion, as well as his service in the U.S. Army and Office of Strategic Services during World War II, and his time as a professor of political science at Brown University.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Lyman B. Kirkpatrick Papers document Kirkpatrick's personal and professional activities from the 1930s to the 1980s. The bulk of the collection reflects Kirkpatrick's professional career in the Office of Strategic Services and United States Army, the Central Intelligence Agency, and at Brown University and other educational institutions.

Collection Creator Biography:


Lyman B. Kirkpatrick Jr. was born in Rochester, New York, on July 15, 1916. He attended Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs in 1938. After leaving Princeton, Kirkpatrick worked on the editorial staff of U.S. News and World Report until enlisting in the Office of the Coordinator of Information, which later evolved into the Office of Strategic Services, in 1942. Based in London, Kirkpatrick served as a liaison with British, French, Norwegian, Czech, and Polish intelligence services. In 1943, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, where he served as the intelligence briefing officer for General Omar Bradley, a post he retained until the end of the war.

After a brief return to U.S. News and World Report, Kirkpatrick joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) when the agency was created in 1947. He served as a division chief, deputy assistant director of operations, and executive assistant to Director of Central Intelligence Walter Bedell Smith, and appeared to be well positioned for a leadership role in the organization when he contracted polio during a 1952 trip to Asia on agency business. He was left paralyzed from the waist down in 1953 and spent the rest of his career in a wheelchair.

After Kirkpatrick returned from hospitalization, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles named him inspector general of the CIA, a post he held until 1961. Richard Helms, another intelligence officer, had been appointed director of covert operations, a job that Kirkpatrick had been expected to assume. As inspector general he traveled overseas on inspection tours, despite his wheelchair, and performed liaison work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He also served as chairman of a joint study group examining all of the United States' foreign intelligence efforts, a group whose report resulted in the creation of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1961.

At the request of Dulles, Kirkpatrick also compiled an internal report on the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. The controversial report, which remained classified until 1998, was critical of the planning and execution of the operation and was rumored to have caused resentment among staff at the CIA, particularly Dulles. Kirkpatrick would later write that he believed the report cost him "a fighting chance at the directorship."

In December 1961, John McCone, the new director of the CIA, asked Kirkpatrick to chair a working group to study the organizational structure of the agency, which resulted in a major reorganization. In April 1962, Kirkpatrick was named executive director of the CIA, a new position created in order to help ease the administrative demands on McCone and future directors.

In 1965, Kirkpatrick left the CIA to become a professor of political science at Brown University. In addition to lecturing and teaching, he served as president of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, and was a member of the board of directors of the Naval War College and the Defense Intelligence College. Kirkpatrick also contributed to Encyclopedia Britannica (as well as other encyclopedias) and wrote three books for the general public, as well as textbooks used in the intelligence community and articles for journals dealing with military and intelligence matters. He retired from Brown in 1982 and moved to Middleburg, Virginia, one year later.

Kirkpatrick died at his home on March 3, 1995. He was survived by his wife, Rita Kirkpatrick, two sons and two daughters from his first marriage to Jeanne Courtney, and five grandchildren.

Collection History


Rita M. Kirkpatrick, Lyman Kirkpatrick's wife, donated the papers in 2003 (ML 2003-20).


No material was separated during accessioning in 2003.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Daniel A. Santamaria and Rosalba Varallo in 2004. Finding aid written by Daniel A. Santamaria and Rosalba Varallo in 2004. Digital material was processed by Elena Colon-Marrero in 2015.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

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.

This collection contains digital materials. Researchers are responsible for meeting the technical requirements needed to access these materials, including any and all hardware and software.

Credit this material:

Lyman B. Kirkpatrick 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 1-12