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Robert Abercrombie Lovett papers

Call Number: MS 1617
Scope and Contents

The Robert Abercrombie Lovett Papers consist of correspondence, speeches, photographs, and memorabilia, most of which date from the periods in Robert Lovett's adult life when he was not serving in government. The papers document Lovett's personal friendships and highlight Lovett's contributions to various philanthropic organizations as well as the many honors and distinctions accorded to him for his long years of service. Some reflection on this service will also be found in Lovett's later correspondence with scholars and in his speeches and writings.

Christopher L. Brown, David S. Brown, Jr., Robert L. Brown, Evelyn deHaven Lovett, Robert A. Lovett II, Virginia Lovett, and Adele Q. Brown Nelken donated their grandfather's and father-in-law's papers to the Yale University Library in 1991 and 1993. The papers are now arranged in two series: I. Correspondence and Topical Files and II. Writings. Correspondence and Topical Files is the larger of the two series.

The files in Correspondence and Topical Files contain both material by and about an individual or subject, including letters, clippings, speeches, photographs, financial records, and printed material. The series also includes information on the genealogies of the Abercrombie and Lovett families. There are several folders for Robert Scott Lovett containing tributes and messages of condolence on his death. Arranged in the files under Robert A. Lovett are citations, medals, medical records, and volumes of congratulatory messages. These volumes may contain letters from individuals the remainder of whose correspondence is filed under their personal name. Similar congratulatory correspondence can be found under the name of the award or event such as Presidential Medal of Freedom or Sylvanus Thayer Award.

Lovett's most frequent correspondents include close business, military, and government associates. The correspondence is between old friends and marks anniversaries, other celebrations, honors, and awards. There are often discussions of family members, vacations, and finances.

The series includes files for every president from Harry S. Truman through Lyndon B. Johnson. The series also includes exchanges with personal friends such as the poet and playwright Archibald MacLeish, the author John O'Hara, and Swedish banker Marcus Wallenburg. Prominent among Lovett's correspondents are public servants from the Roosevelt and Truman administrations such as Dean Acheson, George C. Marshall, John J. McCloy, and Anna M. Rosenberg. There are a few letters from James V. Forrestal in the Forrestal file which also includes memorials to and writings about him. More material on Forrestal is in the files of Herbert Elliston and Marx Leva. Individuals who worked for and admired George C. Marshall, such as C. J. George, Marshall S. Carter, and Forrest Pogue are among Lovett's frequent correspondents. There are also voluminous files, including minutes of meetings, on the George C. Marshall Research Foundation for which Lovett served as chairman of the board.

Lovett's continuing interest in military affairs, particularly military aviation, is evident in correspondence and in speeches and congressional testimony found in Series II, Writings. Correspondents include former members of the Yale Unit such as Trubee Davison and Artemus Gates, as well as former Brown Brothers partner and senator Prescott Bush, Laurus Norstad, the retired Supreme Allied Commander of Europe, and columnist Ira Eaker.

Some reflection by Lovett on his years of public service can be found in correspondence with writers and scholars like: Sydney Bailey and John Osborne on the Middle East; Calvin Christman on Ferdinand Eberstadt and the War Production Board; Daryl Hudson on the Vandenburg Resolution and the North Atlantic Treaty; and Jan H. Kalicki on the Sino-American crises in the 1950s. Other reminiscences can be found in Series II in oral history transcripts.

Since Lovett did not remove any papers he generated in his positions at the United States War Department, State Department, and Defense Department, these files are presumably now in the custody of the National Archives. Similarly, since Lovett did not retain his working files as a partner in Brown Brothers, Harriman, & Co., these files should remain with the company's records.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research. Some Levitt family correspondence is restricted until 2016. Some correspondence with Marshall N. Carter, Marshall S. Carter, and Preot Carter will remain restricted until declassified by the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Robert Abercrombie Lovett has been transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact

Copyright status for other 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 Christopher L. Brown, David S. Brown, Jr., Robert L. Brown, Evelyn deHaven Lovett, Robert A. Lovett II, Virginia Lovett, and Adele Q. Brown Nelken, 1991 and 1993.


Arranged in two series: I. Correspondence and topical files, 1919-1986. II. Writings, 1936-1981.

14 Linear Feet (35 boxes)
Related Names
Lovett, Robert A. (Robert Abercrombie), 1895-1986
Language of Materials