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William C. Bullitt papers

Call Number: MS 112
Scope and Contents

The collection provides a rich resource for the study of Bullitt's career as a diplomat and public servant. Although this collection constitutes what Bullitt considered his personal files and hence does not contain a comprehensive record of his official service, it contains extensive material related to his government work. It provides a more intimate or mundane view of his activities through private correspondence with his colleagues, personnel records, photographs, and files related to travel, social events, and purchases. However, there is also a wide selection of memoranda, official telegrams, and reports that can be found in Series II or as enclosures to correspondence in Series I. There is material relevant to his service as Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1933-1936), Ambassador to France (1936-1940), Ambassador-at-large (1941-1942), Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy (1942-1943), and his two stints as Special Assistant to the Secretary of State (1917-1919 and 1933). Information about Bullitt's involvement with American negotiations on the recognition of the Soviet Union can be found in Series II, his mentoring of George F. Kennan in Series I and II, his reports to Franklin Roosevelt on conditions in France and around Europe during the outbreak of World War II in Series I, and wartime advice to Roosevelt on how to handle the Soviet Union in Series I and II. Unlike the files from Bullitt's service with the Roosevelt administration, the materials from his work with the Wilson administration, his 1943 campaign for mayor of Philadelphia, and his 1948 investigation into American aid to China for the Joint Congressional Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation provide a much more comprehensive picture of these public undertakings.

Beyond his work as a public servant, the collection documents his efforts as an author and journalist through a substantial body of drafts, notes, related correspondence and research materials, and unpublished manuscripts of a novel, plays, short stories, and a screenplay. There is extensive material concerning Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the psychological study of the former president which Bullitt co-authored with Sigmund Freud, including several chapter manuscripts and fragments in Freud's hand, and an unpublished book-length biography of Wilson written by Bullitt. The collection also contains much material relevant to Bullitt's work as a journalist in the 1910s, 1940s, and 1950s. Since his later journalism is concerned largely with the threat of communism and the Soviet Union, there is extensive information about these issues in Series I and II, as well as material documenting his ties to Nationalist China, Korea, and Vietnam and his interest in European unification.

The papers provide copious biographical material about William C. Bullitt throughout his life although the materials are much thinner on his youth before 1909. There is also a small amount of material concerning Louise Bryant, Bullitt's second wife, including correspondence in Series I, photographs in Series IV, and subject files in Series VI.

The collection also includes a small amount of materials relating to Bullitt's daughter Anne Moen Bullitt, consisting of personal correspondence and photographs, correspondence with researchers interested in her parents, and materials relating to her fourth husband, Daniel Brewster.

The materials that comprise the William C. Bullitt papers originally arrived at Yale between 2003 and 2005 with the papers of Louise Bryant as part of a deposit from their daughter Anne Moen Bullitt. The Bullitt papers constituted the vast majority of this deposit, but since most of the Bryant material had been stored separately and it appeared to be papers originally collected and saved by Bryant, not by her daughter or Bullitt, the Louise Bryant papers became a separate collection maintained in Manuscripts and Archives at the Yale University Library. A small portion of the Bryant papers were intermingled with the Bullitt materials. An effort was made to separate this intermixed material, but some Bryant material may remain in the Bullitt papers and vice versa. All of the correspondence between Bullitt and Bryant was kept with the Bullitt papers. Photographs of Bullitt, which do not picture Bryant, have been removed from the Bryant papers and unified with other photographs of him in the Bullitt papers.

A small portion of the Bullitt papers concerning World War I and the Paris Peace Conference had previously been on deposit at Yale until 1967 when Anne Bullitt removed them upon her father's death. (See Series II) Before the Bullitt papers came to Yale in 2004, the bulk of them were housed in several filing cabinets and trunks in his daughter's home in Ireland. A smaller portion of the collection came from Bullitt's farm in Ashfield, Massachusetts. Much of the material arrived in labelled folders and most of this folder arrangement and the folder titles were retained. However, there was little apparent structure to the files above the folder level, and so an organization scheme was imposed by archivists. Most of Bullitt's correspondence arrived in folders arranged alphabetically within each year. In order to create a single alphabetical run for the correspondence, all of the correspondence was sorted, alphabetized, and refoldered by archivists. Correspondents with whom Bullitt exchanged more than approximately five letters received individually labeled folders.

Conditions Governing Access

Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives web site.

Copies of commercially produced audiovisual materials contained in this collection cannot be made for researcher use outside of the repository.

Original born digital files, as well as preservation masters, may not be accessed due to their fragility. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist request that they be made. Born digital files cannot be accessed remotely. System requirements include a Manuscripts and Archives computer and file viewing software.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by William C. Bullitt 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

The materials previously deposited by Anne Moen Bullitt and her Estate were donated to Manuscripts and Archives by the William C. Bullitt Foundation, Inc., in 2008; gift of William C. Bullitt Foundation, Inc., 2013; gift of Nili Museum-Beit Aaronsohn, 2013.


Arranged in seven series and four additions: I. Correspondence, 1882-1967. II. Diplomatic and Public Papers, 1813-1956. III. Writings, 1888-1984. IV. Photographs, 1891-1964. V. Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings, 1933-1952. VI. Personal and Family Papers, 1840-1998. VII. Printed Matter, 1882-1965.

Associated Materials

Louise Bryant Papers (MS 1840). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Majority of material found within 1909 - 1967
1669.12 Megabytes
143.35 Linear Feet (307 boxes)
Related Names
Bullitt, William C. (William Christian), 1891-1967
Language of Materials