Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: Correspondence, 1922-1975

5 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This series includes some letters to Frisk Matthews, contains personal and official correspondence with family, friends, researchers and others. The family correspondence includes letters from Matthews mother Bertha Matthews ("Mother Matthews") and exchanges with his wife Elizabeth "Frisk" Luke, his sons Freeman and Thomas, and his parents-in-law "Father and Mother Luke" in Tarrytown, NY. Matthews' letters to Frisk, Freeman Jr., and "Father Luke" include personal insights and observations about political situations and World War II. The correspondence with his wife Frisk after they married is chronologically arranged by the period during which Matthews served in a particular country, while Frisk and the children stayed in Tarrytown for periods of time. During the outbreak of the war and Matthews' service in France, Frisk and the children stayed in Tarrytown as well, apart from a five months trip by Frisk to Vichy (November 26, 1940 to May 10, 1941).

The series includes extensive correspondence with Ambassador Jefferson Caffery from 1932 until Caffery's death in 1974, and with Stella Isaacs, Dowager Marchioness of Reading, chair of the Women's Voluntary Service (WVS) in London, from 1947 until her death 1971. The files includes correspondence from all five presidents under whom Matthew served since Harry Truman, but other than thank you letters from John and Jackie Kennedy after staying at their residence in Vienna in 1961, this correspondence is perfunctory. The scholars who consulted Matthews for their research include, among others, Henri Amouraux, Jon L. Boyes, Ellis Briggs, Philip Dur, Arthur Funk, William Langer, and William Shirer.


This series is arranged alphabetically. The letters from Frisk to his wife are arranged chronologically by the period during which Matthews served in a particular country.

Collection History

Custodial History

As indicated by correspondence with the donor in the process of acquiring this collection, some correspondence of a sensitive or personal nature were removed from the collection by the donor before the materials came to Princeton.


No material was separated during accessioning in 2011. During accessioning of the materials donated in 2015, an earlier draft of the Vichy diary kept by Elizabeth Luke "Frisk" Matthews in Series 3 was returned to the donor.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Helene van Rossum on August 17, 2011. A MARC record and finding aid were created at this time. Materials in the 2015 Accession were added by Rachel Van Unen in June 2015.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

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, 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, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. 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 any questions, please feel free to contact 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.

The collection contains three 16mm film reels.

Credit this material:

Series 1: Correspondence; H. Freeman Matthews Sr. Papers, MC243, 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 1-5

Find More

Related Materials

An oral history with H. Freeman Matthews is available online from the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library.

Matthews, Elizabeth Luke
Matthews, H. Freeman (1899-1986)