Uncovering the Intersections: Government, Science, Education, Politics and Faculty at 20th Century Harvard

Project Summary

Submitted by Megan Sniffin-Marinoff of Harvard University Archives, Harvard Library.

This project will provide access to the currently inaccessible personal archives (research, teaching, non-Harvard files) of four Harvard faculty members whose work is a study of the intersection of 20th-century government, science, education and politics.

Samuel Beer Papers (1910-2008, 76 ft.)
A political scientist, Beer worked for the Democratic National Committee and wrote speeches for FDR. He assisted John F. Kennedy – the collection contains recordings of conversations between them.

Paul Doty Papers (1940-2011, 57 ft.)
A chemist who played a part in the Manhattan Project, Doty worked with scientists from the Soviet Union to promote disarmament; was a member of the President’s Science Council; and was involved with the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

Norman Ramsey Papers (1938-2006, 68 ft.)
A physicist awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics, Ramsey was a member of the Manhattan Project and the first science advisor to NATO. His work with the US Atomic Energy Commission helped found the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Samuel P. Huntington Papers (1950-2008), 149 linear feet
A conservative political scientist, Huntington gained prominence with his thesis of a post-Cold War ‘new world order.’ He was consultant to the US Dept. of State during the Vietnam War and White House consultant to the National Security Council.

The project archivist and assistant will use MPLP methods; provide MARC records and EAD finding aids at appropriate box or folder levels; work with a graduate student to enhance descriptions in select areas; and identify born-digital content and candidates for future reformatting/digitization.

Amount requested is $150,000 - $158,800.

Expected Results with Partial Funding

Partial funding would support processing of fewer collections. Those collections that are not processed would remain hidden and not accessible for quite some time.

Estimated Follow-on Activities and/or Costs

In the course of the project, staff will identify digital content on media that will require reformatting and transfer to the DRS. The Archives would anticipate covering all or most of these costs over time. In addition, there will be ongoing storage costs for these collections, both at the Harvard Depository and in the DRS (for digital content), which the Archives will continue to cover. It is difficult at this time to anticipate any longer range preservation/conservation costs.

Benefit to Harvard Scholars and Patrons

These collections broadly support research in the political and intellectual life of post-war America and are rich resources for the study of science and public affairs. Each of the individuals responsible for these archives were key figures in their fields of research and teaching and were “public intellectuals” whose influence is still felt through the work of their students and associates active today.

The Samuel Beer archive documents mid- to late-20th century Democratic Party politics. The archive of Norman Ramsey, a Nobel Prize recipient, documents mid-20th century atomic research and ‘public science.’ The archive of Paul Doty documents international arms control efforts. The Samuel Huntington archive documents late 20th century international affairs.

Correspondents include Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Edward M. Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson, McGeorge Bundy, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Bill Clinton, Donald Rumsfeld, Arthur Schlesinger, and Henry Kissinger. Broad subject areas will include: Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities, the Kennedy administration, the NAACP, DNA, the international intelligence industry, arms control, biological weapons, the Vietnam War, nuclear disarmament, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the European Union.

Anyone working on historical or cultural studies of this time period will find valuable material in these collections. By analyzing, describing, and cataloging them, the Archives is supporting the research, teaching, and learning mission of the Library and the University.

Ways the Project Supports Cross-Unit or Cross-Discipline Activities

The collections in question relate to science and public affairs and would support research in history and the history of science, as well as in public policy and international relations. References to geographical areas span the United States, Western and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Southeast Asia.

Resources the Sponsoring Library Can Support or Will Need Support For

The University Archives can support:

  • Project management, including training and supervision of project staff: Collection Services Archivist/Processing Manager, .25 FTE,
  • Work space, computers, and software, for project staff,
  • Archival supplies (boxes, folders, etc.),
  • Reformatting of digital and audiovisual content on media,
  • Digitization costs,
  • Long-term storage.

Other Approaches to Achieving Goal or Result

Other funding sources would need to be found in order for these collections to be prepared and described for research use.

Risks If Proposal Is Not Approved

Numerous researchers have already inquired about the availability of these collections. Failure to acquire funding for this project would further delay access.

Additional Information

Thank you for considering this application.

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