Contents and Arrangement

Subseries A: Operating Files, 1926-2005

94 boxes
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Operating Files reflect some of the main types of discriminatory practices and behaviors that John Doar and the Civil Rights Division targeted during the civil rights movement, particularly in the South. The majority of materials in the series relate to protecting voting rights and enforcing school desegregation; other issues compose a comparatively small portion of the series.

For each issue, a portion of the records are organized according to the region of the country where incidents under investigation by the Division took place or where cases were being tried. These sectional files provide an overview of the Division's activities for the years 1964-1967. The Southwest Section encompassed Mississippi and Louisiana; the Southeast Section was made up of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina; the Eastern Section contained most other states east of the Mississippi River; and the Western Section covered all remaining states west of the Mississippi River, along with Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

The documentation on each issue also contains materials related to specific legal cases. These legal case files include correspondence; investigation files, mostly composed of reports and memoranda from Division attorneys and responsive memoranda from Doar and other senior staff; and court documents such as briefs, pleadings, and transcripts.


This series is divided into eight subseries. The arrangement is influenced by the original organizational outline for the materials found in the folder titled "Office Management: Filing" in Box 95.

Collection History


Approximately 12 linear feet of duplicative materials and less than one linear foot of personal materials were removed from the collection.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Rachel Van Unen from August 2016 through January 2017, with assistance from Khalil Bryant '18, Tatiana Evans '17, An Lanh Le '20, and Jeremy Zullow '17. The finding aid was written by Rachel Van Unen in February 2017.

During processing, some materials were rehoused in new archival boxes and folders. Processing staff cleaned dirt-covered materials with brushes, divided overstuffed folders into two or more folders, and removed metal fasteners that attached materials to folders. Staff retained original folder titles unless clarification was necessary or for the sake of consistency. Some folders were originally housed within larger accordion folders; staff removed most of these accordion folders from the collection, but incorporated any descriptive information on the folders into the folder titles. Empty folders were removed. Photographs were housed in mylar sleeves. There is no longer a Box 241, as the contents of that tube were flattened and placed in Oversize folder 5.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Boxes 1-164, Boxes 192-211, and Boxes 225-254 are open for research use.

Boxes 256-265 (ML.2018.005) are open for research use.

Boxes 165-191, Boxes 213-224, and Box 255 (Series 4: Watergate Investigation) will open for research in December, 2024.

Select folders from Series 1, Series 3, and Series 5, consolidated into Box 212, are restricted for 75 years from the latest dated material in each folder.

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:

Subseries A: Operating Files; John Doar Papers, MC247, 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): Boxes 1-78; 90; 92; 117; 121-124; 226; 233-237; 240; 260