The papers of William Harlan Hale, who was a prolific writer and editor, reflect the intellectual and political climate of Yale (1928-1931); the publishing world of New York in the 1930s; the atmosphere of the intelligence branches of the Allied forces during World War II in New York, London, and Germany; and the politics of the Cold War as seen from Europe in the 1950s when Hale was in Vienna attached to the American embassy. The material, which is particularly voluminous for the 1940s and 1950s, has been arranged in five series: I. Correspondence, II. Writings, III. Personal and Biographical Papers IV. Topical Files, V. Printed Matter.
Series I is divided into general and select correspondence. The General Correspondence, which makes up the larger portion of the series, is almost entirely professional, and largely correspondence with editors, publishers and writers about projected articles or about the various publications with which Hale was connected. Two such letters are those from Oswald Garrison Villard (1932 Dec 27) and Bruce Bliven (1941 Aug 7). In response to an article that Hale had written on architecture, Richard Neutra, the Austrian-born architect, wrote a four-page letter (1935 Jul 4) giving a detailed history of his arrival and subsequent career in the United States. The magazines with which Hale was connected and which figure most prominently in the correspondence are: American Heritage, Harpers, Horizon, the Nation, the New Republic and the Harkness Hoot. In 1930, as Yale undergraduates, Hale and Selden Rodman had been co-founders of this publication. The General Correspondence is arranged chronologically. The smaller section, Select Correspondence, is made up of correspondence with several persons with whom Hale had a substantial exchange, and a few family letters. Included here are a series of internal office memoranda, both to and from Hale while on the Reporter magazine (1954-1958); also copies of five letters to Hale from prominent persons which were sold by Hale in 1970. The writers are Robinson Jeffers, H. L. Mencken, Katherine Anne Porter, Thorton Wilder, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Series II is made up of manuscript drafts of many articles (1919-1970) and partial and complete drafts of books with related correspondence, research notes, reviews, etc. Also in this series are the texts of his broadcasts to Europe written for the Office of War Information (1942 Nov 9 - 1944 Jan 20).
In Series III, PERSONAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL PAPERS, are school and travel memorabilia, clippings, photographs, and a typescript diary kept by Hale (1951-1952) while he was in Austria as director of United States Public Affairs. A collection of books by Selden Rodman with flyleaf inscriptions to William Harlan Hale completes this series.
Series IV, TOPICAL FILES, contains important typescript and mimeographed materials collected (or written) by Hale while in Germany with the Psychological Warfare Branch of the Allied Expeditionary Force (1941-1945) and later as an officer in military intelligence (1948-1949). Taken together these documents reveal the psychological state and political ideas of German civilians and soldiers from the first day of American occupation. Many contain records of interviews, or analyze the results of questionnaires distributed among the general population. Of special interest are two reports on Buchenwald and Dachau, made on April 24 and May 12, 1945, respectively, depicting the situation in these camps almost from the moment of liberation. Included in this series are also transcripts of German broadcasts (1943 Feb 28-Jun 16) and Hale's notes and memoranda on the State Department (1955-1956).
Series V, PRINTED MATTER, has leaflets, periodicals, and books, dating chiefly from World War II, and arranged by issuing agency or country. It includes leaflets and newspapers issued by the Psychological Warfare Branch as part of its propaganda campaign during the war, campaign histories for both the European and Pacific theaters issued by the United States government (1944-1946), British publications, and a number of pieces of Nazi war propaganda as well as Nazi literature intended for home consumption. A rare item in this section is an early publication of the Nazi party, Deutschlands Erwachen, with photographs by Hans Hoffmann (ca. 1924). Collected by Hale during the 1950s are also some telling examples of anti-Soviet literature, largely in German, issued by the United States. A European view of this period is represented in the collection by several pieces of anti-American literature, mostly of French origin.
The papers were the gift of Mrs. William Harlan Hale in July and August 1975. For additional family papers, see the papers of William Bayard Hale (MS 814), father of William Harlan Hale. For related papers dealing with World War II, see the German Pamphlet Collection (MS 735), the World War II Collection (MS 671), the Historical Picture Collection (MS 713), and the Barbara Tuchman Papers (MS 574) for materials on the Burma campaign. For the papers of other journalists of the period, see the Hanson Baldwin Papers (MS 54), the Max Lerner Papers (MS 322), the Walter Lippmann Papers (MS 326), and the Dwight Macdonald Papers (MS 730).