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Douglas Joseph Bennet papers

Call Number: MS 1433

Scope and Contents

The Douglas Joseph Bennet Papers consist of correspondence, notes, printed material, and clippings which document Douglas Bennet's service as chief of the Program Planning Office, Department of Information in the Office of Price Administration (OPA) and his role as an adviser and lifelong personal friend of Chester Bowles and his family. The papers include numerous exchanges between Bennet and Bowles as well as files of Bowles's correspondence with others. Subject files relate to Bennet and Bowles's work in OPA, Connecticut politics, and Bowles's tenure as ambassador to India.

The papers are arranged in two series of approximately equal size. Series I, CORRESPONDENCE, begins with the section Office of Price Administration which is composed of two boxes containing carbon copies of Bennet's outgoing letters for a portion (1944 Aug-1946 Feb) of the time he served in OPA in Washington. Bennet had come to Washington in the fall of 1943 to plan OPA's educational programs to meet public information needs through the press, radio, and group activities. The letters in this section are addressed to other office members and program planners. There are also copies of letters signed by Chester Bowles. There are numerous letters to Connecticut newspapers editors, members of the Connecticut congressional delegation, and Connecticut retail merchants. Through 1944 and early 1945 the letters concern the Grocer-Consumer Anti-Inflation Campaign, a program to garner support for retail food price compliance. The files contain "pitch sheets," weekly reports, and letters to the National Association of Retail Grocers. Also discussed in the correspondence in this section are gas rationing, rent controls, meat shortages, efforts to reach the black community, and plans for price stabilization during the post war reconversion period. The files contain a few letters concerning Bennet's personal business. The OPA files end abruptly in February 1946, five months prior to Bennet's return to Connecticut.

The section General contains both incoming and outgoing letters of Bennet as well as some correspondence of Chester Bowles, possibly that handled by Bennet in periods of Bowles's absence from the country or referred to Bennet in his capacity as a member of Bowles's staff. The files are arranged in alphabetical order. Bennet's correspondents include other Bowles's staff members such as Bice Clemow and Jean Joyce. The correspondence focuses on the OPA period and includes reminiscences collected by Bennet to aid Bowles in writing his autobiography, Promises to Keep.Correspondence with John Bailey contains discussions of Connecticut Democratic Party politics, while correspondence with the Agency for International Development (AID) concerns Bennet's efforts to participate in the agency's work in third world countries.

in 1961 and during his second term as ambassador to India (1963-1969), Bennet oversaw the care of Bowles's property in Essex, Connecticut. There are frequent exchanges on personal business, but letters also contain Bowles's thoughts on the Democratic administration. Beginning in 1968 Bowles and Bennet discuss Bowles's projected autobiography.

The section also includes some correspondence between Bowles and others (folders 58-67). There are copies of Bowles's letters to OPA officials in 1942 and 1943, and the 1947 files contain Bowles's letters to journalists and publishers on economic conditions. The 1951 files are composed primarily of incoming letters of congratulation received as Bowles was about to depart for India. There are also a few letters relating to the 1958 election campaign.

Series II, SUBJECT FILES, includes topical files of clippings, notes, speeches, printed material, and photographs relating to Bennet's work with OPA and his friendship with Chester Bowles. The material assembled under the heading "Chester Bowles" contains a wide range of materials relating to Bowles's career generally, while files such as "Connecticut political material", "India", and "Office of Price Administration" focus on more specific aspects of Bowles's work. The most extensive files are those for OPA and include copies of Bowles's public statements in support of price controls during World War II, posters, and material relating to efforts to continue the Office of Economic Stabilization after the end of the war. Included in the files of "Connecticut political material" are printed brochures and speeches from Bowles's 1950 gubernatorial campaign.


  • 1941-1977


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Douglas J. Bennet, 1985.


Arranged in two series: I. Correspondence, 1942-1971. II. Subject Files, 1941-1977.


3.5 Linear Feet (9 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence, notes, printed material, and clippings which document Douglas Bennet's service as an official in the Office of Price Administration and his role as adviser and personal friend of Chester Bowles. The papers include numerous letters between Bennet and Bowles as well as Bowles's correspondence with others. Subject files relate to Bennet and Bowles's work in OPA, Connecticut politics, and India.

Biographical / Historical

Douglas Joseph Bennet was born in Wilmington, Delaware on August 22, 1911. After receiving a B.A. degree from Wesleyan University in 1933 he became the assistant advertising manager for the R.T. French Co. of Rochester, New York. From 1937 to 1942 he served as the assistant to the vice president of the Northam Warren Corporation of New York and Stamford, Connecticut and sales promotion manager of Peggy Sage, Inc. of New York. In April, 1942 Bennet moved to Hartford, Connecticut to set up the gasoline rationing program for the state. In the fall of 1943 he joined Chester Bowles at the Office of Price Administration in Washington, D.C. as chief, Office of Program Planning, Department of Information. Bennet was placed in charge of OPA's educational programs and oversaw the planning for press, radio, and group activities to meet basic public information needs.

Bennet returned to Lyme, Connecticut in July, 1946. Until Bowles's death in 1986 Bennet remained a close personal friend and consultant. Throughout the years he was a Bowles political campaign adviser. Bennet served as a member of Bowles's gubernatorial staff in 1948.

Guide to the Douglas Joseph Bennet Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Diane E. Kaplan and Joseph P. Papagoda
June 1987
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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