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The Inquiry Papers

Call Number: MS 8

Scope and Contents

As was noted by Stephen Helton in his introduction to the National Archives' Records of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace (Preliminary Inventories, No. 89; Washington: 1955), in the fall of 1917, following the declaration of war against Germany,

Col. E. M. House, at the request of President Wilson, began to assemble in New York a group of experts to collect and collate data on geographical, ethnological, historical, economic, and political problems of Europe and other areas of the world in preparation for the peace conference, which should follow World War I. This group of experts, called 'The Inquiry,' was under the direction first of Sidney E. Mezes and later of Isaiah Bowman. At the time of its greatest development it consisted of 18 divisions, 11 of which dealt with special problems of particular areas or regions. Its staff was made up largely of professors recruited from American universities and colleges. The Inquiry made a number of investigations; …and in 1918 it assembled a large quantity of material on national boundaries. In December 1918 The Inquiry ceased to be an independent body and was absorbed into the Division of Territorial, Economic, and Political Intelligence of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace.*

The Yale Inquiry Papers are an amalgamation of two separate collections: (a) a relatively small amount of material, dealing directly with The Inquiry, which Charles Seymour (the first curator of the House Collection) assembled from amongst his own papers and those of Colonel House and Clive Day and rearranged under an artificial "Inquiry" subheading; and (b) the much larger set of bona fide Inquiry "office records," left originally under the care of the American Geographical Society (The Inquiry's first "home") which were given to the Yale Library in 1961 in honor of President Seymour's 75th birthday.

The bulk of The Inquiry's records are housed in the National Archives, where they form part of Record Group 256 ("Records of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace"), whose contents are described in the Preliminary Inventory list [No. 89] mentioned above. The Yale Inquiry Papers consist to a considerable extent of duplicate material (roughly 12 cubic feet of material compared to 85 cubic feet housed in the National Archives); and even the strongest categories (Special Reports and Studies and Maps) are far from complete.

The Yale Inquiry Papers are arranged in six major series, which are described in greater detail in the pages that follow:

Series I. General Correspondence. (2 boxes) Primarily 'inter-office' correspondence from (or to) Clive Day and Charles Seymour, (1918-1919).

Series II. Records Regarding Administrative Matters. (1 box) The most significant items are Douglas Johnson's letters describing his special mission to England and France in the spring of 1918; and various "progress reports" from Sidney Mezes, Isaiah Bowman, and David Hunter Miller to Colonel House.

Series III. Reports and Studies. (23 boxes) The bulk of these reports deal with specific problems (and sub-divisions) of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires; the Balkans; Alsace-Lorraine; the Adriatic question; Poland; India, and German colonies in Africa. (An "Index of Authors" is appended.)

Series IV. Abstracts, Precis, Notes. (5 boxes) Various notes and miscellaneous research materials used primarily by Charles Seymour and Clive Day in their studies on Austria-Hungary and the Balkans.

Series V. Printed Materials. (1 box) Ten miscellaneous items.

Series VI. Maps and Photographs (4 folios and 3 boxes) Maps: [Consult Reference Archivist. The reprocessing and rearrangement of this section of the Yale Inquiry Papers has not been completed.]; Photographs: See page 73

* See also Lawrence Gelfand, The Inquiry: American Preparations for Peace, 1917-1919 [New Haven: 1963]; and Harold B. Whitemen (ed.), Charles Seymour's Letters from the Paris Peace Conference [New Haven: 1965]. Much additional information will undoubtedly emerge from Arthur Walworth's forthcoming study on American diplomacy at the peace conference; volumes VI and VII of Arthur Link's biography of Woodrow Wilson; the pertinent volumes of The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, and Charles Neu's projected full scale biography of Colonel House.


  • 1915-1921

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

Part of the collection was transferred from House Papers MS 466, and the remainder was the gift of the American Geographic Society in 1961.


Arranged in six series and oversized: I. Correspondence, 1918-1919, II. Records Regarding Administrative Matters, 1917-1919, undated, III. Reports and Studies, 1917-1920, undated, IV. Abstracts, Precis, Notes, 1902-1918, undated, V. Printed Materials, 1913-1927, undated, VI. Photographs and Maps, 1915-1918, undated.


18 Linear Feet (35 boxes, 4 folios)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, organizational records, reports containing historical and statistical material, maps, and other papers of The Inquiry, a group of experts assembled at the request of President Wilson to collect and collate data in preparation for a peace conference following World War I. Members of The Inquiry included Edward House, Sidney Mezes, Isaiah Bowman, Charles Seymour, David H. Miller, Walter Lippmann, James T. Shotwell, and Clive Day.


INDEX OF AUTHORS (Series III) Abbott, J. F. See: Japan

Andrews, A. I. See: Caucasus, Transcaucasus

Andrews, G. F. See: France

Andrus, A. N. See: Turkey

Arctowski, H. See: Poland (11)

Armstrong, E. C. See: Alsace-Lorraine

Beam, J. N. See: Turkey

Beer, G. L. See: Africa (3), Egypt, Middle Africa

Bell, H. W. See: Turkey (2)

Birge, J. K. See: Turkey

Blakeslee, G. H. See: Germany

Blythe, S. G. See: China

Bonner, C. See: India

Bonney [A. L. ?] See: Argentina

Bonright, J. C. See: Turkey

de Booy, T. See: Colombia

Brailsford, H. N. See: Turkey

Breasted, J. A. See: Turkey

Bruere, H. See: Latin America

Butler, H. C. See: Turkey

Byrne, E. H. See: Syria, Turkey

Campbell, O. J. See: Turkey (3), Zionism

Chamberlain, J. P. See: Belgium

Chekrezi, C. A. See: Albania

Churchill, W. See: Germany

Clark, V. See: Germany

Collier, W. M. See: Spain

Cook, W. L. See: Colombia

Coolidge, A. C. See: Macedonia

Davison, E. F. See: Great Britain

Day, Clive See: Austria-Hungary (5), Balkans (2), Belgium, Bohemia, Dutch East Indies, Economic Topics, France, Germany, Poland, Russia

Dennis, A. L. P. See: Turkey

Dickerman, S. O. See: Turkey (2)

Dixon, R. B. See: Central Asia, Crimean Peninsula, Russia, Turkestan (3)

Dodd, W. E. See: Monroe Doctrine (2)

Dominian, L. See: Arab Problem, Arabia, Asia, Mohammedan World, Saloniki, Turkey

Evans, A. P. See: Austria-Hungary (2)

Fairchild, F. R. See: Public Debts (2)

Fay, S. B. See: Baltic Provinces, Lettland

Fenwick, C. G. See: States Less Than Sovereign

Flournoy, F. R. See: Lithuania

Frost, A. C. See: Algeria

Fuller, G. P. See: Great Britain

Golder, F. A. See: Baltic Provinces, Don Province, Lithuania (4), Siberia, Ukraine (2)

Goldman, H. See: Alsace-Lorraine

Gray, L. H. See: Caucasus, Dalmatia, Danube, Eastern Europe, Spitzbergen

Gulbenkian, G. See: Turkey

Hall, W. H. See: Turkey

Hannah, I. C. See: South Africa

Hardy, O. See: Colombia, Peru

Harris, N. D. See: Tibet

Haskins, C. H. See: Alsace-Lorraine, Belgium

Hitchcock, F. C. See: China

Hobbs, W. H. See: Rivers as International Boundaries, Turkey, Asiastic

Holderer, George B. See: Brazil

Hopkins, Manley O. See: Latin America

Hornbeck, S. K. See: China (3), Russia

Howe, Frederic C. See: Mediterranean

Hrdlicka, A. See: Russia

Hudson, M. O. See: Freedom of the Seas

Hunter, Campbell W. See: Argentina

Hurban, V. S. See: Czechs

Jackson, A. V. W. See: Persia (3)

Jackson, T. G. See: Dalmatia

Jacoby, J. H. See: Alsace-Lorraine

Jefferson, M. See: Bohemia, Russia

Jewell, John F. See: Mozambique

Johnson, D. See: Rumania

Jones, Mrs. Robert W. See: Nigeria

Joseph, S. See: Immigration

Kenyon, D. See: India (10)

Kerner, Robert J. See: Austria-Hungary (6), Bohemia, Czechs (2), Near Eastern Question, Yugoslavia (2)

Krehbiel, E. B. See: Alsace-Lorraine (2), Belgium

Larsen, H. A. See: Slesvig

Lavis, F. See: China

Le Plae, E. V. See: Belgian Congo

Lippmann, Walter See: Economic Penetration, International Law

Lord, R. H. See: Eastern Europe, Poland (7)

Lowell, A. L. See: League of Nations

Lunt, W. E. See: Italy

Lybyer, A. H. See: Yugoslavia

McGuire, C. E. See: Latin America

Magie, D. See: Assyrian Christians, Syria, Turkey (4)

Marsh, M. G. See: Brussels Sugar Convention, Merchant Marine

Masaryk, T. G. See: Pan-Germanism

Miller, David Hunter See: International Tariff Court, Law of the Air

Milmore, L. See: Aaland

Monroe, P. See: Albania, Austria-Hungary, Educational Reforms, Japan, Prussian School Laws, Russia, Turkey (2)

Monroe, W. S. See: Albania (2), Balkans (6), Danube (2), Macedonia (3), Petrograd Protocol, Yugoslavia

Moon, P. T. See: Africa, Germany

Morgan, W. T. See: Italy (2)

Morison, S. E. See: Finland

Morris, F. B. See: Brazil, Paraguay, the Chaco

Munro, D. C. See: Mesopotamia, Turkey (2), Turkey, Asiatic

Munro, H. F. See: Berlin Congress

Murphy, G. See: South Africa

McBride, G. M. See: Argentina

Newell, F. H. See: Turkey, Asiatic

Noli, F. S. See: Albania

Notestein, W. See: Alsace-Lorraine (6)

Oakley, H. S. See: Freedom of the Seas

Peet, W. W. See: Turkey

Pitkin, W. H. See: Far Eastern Policy, Japan (3)

Porter, H. See: Turkey

Putney, A. H. See: Austria-Hungary, Poland

Reed, W. H. See: Bessarabia, Rumania (2)

Riggs, H. H. See: Turkey (2)

Robertson, W. Henry See: Argentina

Romer, E. See: Poland

Rubinow, I. M. See: Russia (4)

Savic, V. R. See: Yugoslavia

Scudder [Miss] See: Ethnic Groups

Semple, E. C. See: Austria-Hungary, Mesopotamia, Turkey, Asiatic (2)

Seymour, Charles See: Austria-Hungary (14), Cyprus, Spitzbergen, Yugoslavia (2)

Shaw, E. W. See: Mexico

Shipman, H. R. See: Turkey

Shotwell, J. T. See: Alsace-Lorraine, Turkey, Asiatic

Slosson, P. W. See: Australasia, New Zealand, Russia, Samoa

Smith, D. E. See: International Currency

Smith, M. See: Germany

Smith, W. R. See: Opium Problem

Sonnichsen, A. See: Macedonia

Southard, A. E. See: Abyssinia

Steefel, L. D. See: Luxemburg, Slesvig

Stozek, J. See: Alsace-Lorraine

Szlupas, J. See: Lithuania

Taussig, F. W. See: Colonial Tariffs, United States International Commercial Policy

Thomas, W. I. See: Nationalism

Torrey, C. C. See: Arabia

Updegraff, R. See: Alsace-Lorraine (2)

Veblen, T. B. See: Economic Penetration

Vincent, J. M. See: Turkey (2)

Watson, A. G. See: Aden

Westermann, W. L. See: Turkey (3)

White, J. C. See: Balkans

Williams, M. O. See: Czechs

Willoughby, W. W. See: States Less Than Sovereign

Winston, A. P. See: China (5), Japan

Wood, John Q. See: Azores

Wrighley, G. M. See: Africa (4)

Znanciecki, F. See: Poland (3)

Zowski, S. J. See: Poland (5), Vistula

Guide to the The Inquiry Papers
Under Revision
compiled by N. X. Rizopoulos with the assistance of Anne Willard; Revised by Nancy L. Fappiano
March 1973
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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