Contents and Arrangement

Series 2: Writings, circa 1933-1972

2 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This series includes a few memoranda, addresses and speeches, handwritten notes, and a typescript of the complete third and probably last draft of the memoirs that Matthews published privately under the title "Memoirs of a Passing Era" (circa 1972). According to his foreword, Matthews chose for private publication because he did not wish the memoirs to be subject to a commercial publisher's changes, omissions, or additions. In addition, he wanted the book to be a full account of his life as he remembered it, and to contain his "frank opinion of those, both great and small, with whom I was associated in public life. In a few instances my opinions would be less than complimentary and I have no wish to make them public."

The memoirs include many details of his private and family life, which Matthews included for his family's sake. To facilitate research, a list of Matthew's chapter headings, which is not present in the typescript, is provided below. When chapter headings are missing in the typescript they are given in square brackets.

Childhood and early youth (1)

College years - Princeton University 1917-1922, A.B., M.A., '22, L.L.D. '62 (40)

A diplomat at last – Budapest (79)

Bogota, The Athens of America, 1927-1930 (125)

First tour of duty in the State Department, 1930-1933 (187)

[Cuba] (225)

[France] (259)

Spanish interlude (286)

The beginning of World War II (311)

[Vichy] (436)

Assigned to London (485)

Pearl Harbor and "gymnast" (491)

Back to Washington; Director – Office of European Affairs (557)

Yalta Conferences (590)

Sweden, 1947 to 1950 (681)

Deputy Under Secretary of State, June 1950-November 1953 (717)

Eisenhower becomes President, January 20, 1953 (741)

The Hague, 1956 (792)

Vienna, September 1, 1957 – May 24, 1962 (823)

The Kennedy-Krushchev Meeting in Vienna (879)

Retirement from the foreign service, 1962 (899)

I join the CIA (911)

The Permanent Joint Board on Defense – Canada-United States (919)

The happy epilogue and farewell to arms (954)


Materials are arranged as two general groups of files, the first being typescripts of drafts for Matthews book "Memoirs of a Passing Era", and the second being notes, memoranda and speeches..

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 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.

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 2: Writings; 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 5-6

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