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Series Part V, I: Correspondence, 1959-1960

Call Number: MS 628, Series Part V, I

Scope and Contents

The Correspondence series is divided into three subseries;

1) Selected

2) Constituent

3) General

These divisions follow the organization of the files as they were in the Bowles Congressional office in Washington.

1) Selected Correspondence: The correspondence selected by Bowles' office staff as "VIP" mail. Correspondence with each individual is separately listed in alphabetical order along with the number of incoming and outgoing letters. Besides correspondence and enclosures a file might contain copies of speeches, articles, press releases and campaign publicity produced by the particular individual listed. Correspondents include congressmen, members of the executive branch, personal friends, members of the press, foreign ambassadors and other officials of foreign government, aides, family members, state governors, Democratic National Committee members, and institutions and organizations with which Bowles was affiliated.

The correspondence with congressmen tends to be disappointing, with many routine letters transmitting copies of speeches, acknowledging receipt of press releases and congratulating members on successful campaigns or recent public appearances. There is, however, a substantial file of material for the Democratic Study Group. Other notable exceptions include the correspondence with Senator William Fulbright on mutual security legislation and relations with Pakistan, and with Speaker Sam Rayburn. The correspondence with Thomas E. Morgan, the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, is particularly good for discussions of the role of the committee and current problems in foreign affairs.

Bowles corresponded with others on the foreign policy plank in the Democratic platform and on foreign policy issues that arose during the Kennedy campaign. On the foreign policy plank, see the correspondence with Dean Acheson and Senator Fulbright. Discussions of Quemoy and Matsu, Cuba, and Khruschev's visit to the United States can be found in the correspondence with Archibald Cox and John F. Kennedy. The correspondence with Secretary of State Christian Herter is especially good on these topics since it contains memoranda of Bowles' briefings with the Secretary. The Paul Hoffman and David Williams correspondence contains discussions of the United Nations and there are many letters on disarmament from Norman Thomas. The correspondence with Mikhail Menshikov contains two memoranda of Bowles' conversations with the Russian ambassador. Others whose correspondence deals with foreign relations include: Jonathan Bingham, Dwight D. Eisenhower, G. Mennen Williams, and George K.C. Yeh, the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. For Bowles' ideas on the tasks facing the Kennedy administration in the area of foreign affairs, see his correspondence with Dean Rusk.

The bulk of suggestions for the Democratic platform came from the general public and these letters are found in Part V, Series III. There are, however, some suggestions from the "VIP"s in this correspondence. On the civil rights plank see correspondence with Abram Chayes, Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frances Williams and Harris Wofford. On the economics sections see the correspondence with John Kenneth Galbraith and Leon Keyserling, and on disarmament see the file of Ralph Lapp. For a more general discussion of the platform and its presentation, see correspondence with Paul Butler.

For discussions of Democratic party politics see the files of the Democratic National Committee Advisory Council and Charles Tyroler. Hubert Humphrey and Adlai Stevenson both mention presidential candidacies, and the Stuart Symington and Lyndon Johnson folders contain some of their campaign literature. For Bowles' own role in the Kennedy campaign see correspondence with Abram Chayes, Fred Holborn, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Theodore Sorenson, and Harris Wofford. The R. Sargeant Shriver and Harris Wofford correspondence contains an especially explicit discussion of Bowles' inability to campaign against Hubert Humphrey in the Wisconsin primary. Correspondence with Luis Muñoz-Marín contains discussions of the problems within the Democratic party of Puerto Rico.

The correspondence also reflects Bowles' continued association with union leaders James Patton, Walter Reuther, and Victor Reuther, and with press corps members such as James Reston, Lester Markel, Walter Lippmann, and Ralph McGill, and with friends from India, Amrit Kaur and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit. Reflected in the correspondence also is Bowles' work with various institutions and foundations as he served on the boards of the African-American Institute, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the Institute of International Education, and the Rockefeller Foundation. There are interesting letters from Bowles' son, Sam, and his wife, on their experiences teaching in Nigeria.

2) Constituent Correspondence: routine correspondence with Bowles' own constituents and with persons around the country seeking his influence or assistance. The bulk of the correspondence is carbon copies of outgoing letters. Because some of the correspondence contains details relating to personal problems with immigrant visas, social security payments, military service, and the like, this correspondence has all been restricted. The files remain in their original order.

3) General Correspondence: routine correspondence from the general public. None of the selected "VIP" correspondents of subseries 1 are represented in this section. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically, and consists primarily of letters from job applicants and volunteers, congratulatory messages on appointments, correspondence about book publications, successful public appearances, support for the candidacy of various contenders, requests for copies of speeches, articles on the platform, helpful hints on campaign tactics, and suggestions for appointees in the new administration. At the end of the section there are several folders of mailing lists.

Not all public opinion mail, however, is filed in this section. Public reaction to various speeches and articles is filed with the particular speech or article. Likewise, suggestions for the Democratic platform are filed with the other platform materials in Part V, Series III. Since this filing system was created by the Bowles staff it is impossible to guarantee that there are not areas of overlap or other exceptions in this arrangement.


  • 1959-1960

Physical Description

(27 boxes)

Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection: Boxes 220-223, which contain constituent correspondence, are restricted until 2035 Jan 1.

The transcript of the oral history interview with Douglas Bennet, Jr. in Box 399b is closed until the deed of gift is secured from Bennet.

Box 408, which contains restricted personal and financial papers is closed until 2025 Jan 1.

Box 409, which contains audio tapes of oral history interviews with Bowles's associates, is not open to researchers.

Original audiotapes, videotapes, and motion picture films, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or pay for the creation of a use copy, retained by the repository, if none exist.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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