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Charles Hill Papers

Call Number: MS 2070


The collection consists of the personal papers of Charles Hill. Materials include Hill’s correspondence, writings, lectures, course materials, research files, notebooks, and diaries. The bulk of the collection consists of course materials and subject files. Key aspects of the collection include correspondence with former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz and copies of Hill’s notebooks he kept as a member of the State Department, including his time spent as an executive aid to Shultz from 1985-1989. In addition, the papers document Hill’s wide range of academic interests, particularly in the classics, and the diverse array of courses he taught at Yale in the Directed Studies program and the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy since the 2000s. The collection also contains drafts of chapters from Hill’s book, Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order. Materials range from 1764-2017.


  • 1764-2019
  • Majority of material found within 1975 - 2019


Language of Materials

The material is in English and French.

Conditions Governing Access

Series I through Series VI are open for research.

Series VII consists of restricted files. Correspondence and subject files related to Henry Kissinger and George Shultz are closed to researchers until five years after the date of Kissinger's and Shultz's deaths, respectively. The administrative files (containing information on the Brady-Johnson program in Grand Strategy, academic appointments, and other departmental issues) are restricted until 1 January 2051 by Yale University policy. Contact Public Services for information on requesting access to restricted university records. Hill's personal notebooks and desk diaries contain student names and grades and are restricted until 2093 as established by Yale Corporation regulations

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Charles Hill, 2017, 2018, and 2019.


The papers are arranged in seven series and three additions: I. Correspondence, 1980-2017, II. Course Materials, 1995-2017, III. Research Materials and Subject Files, 1764-2017 IV. Lectures and Talks, 1999-2016 V. Writings, 1975-2017 VI. Notebooks, 1979-1989, VII. Restricted Files, 1981-2017, and additions.


39.25 Linear Feet (97 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

Biographical / Historical

Charles Hill was born on April 28, 1936. Hill attended Brown University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1957. He then received a juris doctorate and Master of Arts degree in American studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960 and 1961. Hill’s lengthy tenure in the State Department began in 1963 working as a vice council in Zurich, Switzerland; he was then assigned to Taichung, Taiwan as a Chinese language officer, and made a political officer in Hong Kong in 1966. In 1970, Hill was appointed a fellow at the East Asia Research Center at Harvard University. Hill then turned down a diplomatic assignment in South Vietnam in the Civil Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS) but was reassigned to an embassy post in South Vietnam in 1971. He returned to the United States in July 1973, and began a short stint working for the assistant secretary of Cultural Affairs, writing policy documents and briefs on U.S-China relations. This position lasted a few months, whereupon Hill became a close aide to Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker and played a central role in negotiations over the Panama Canal treaties. In 1974, Hill became part of the policy planning staff within the State Department, as well as a speechwriter and advisor for then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. This began a longstanding professional relationship and personal friendship between Hill and Kissinger. During the Jimmy Carter administration, Hill worked in the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. A series of appointments in the Middle East followed: one as director of Arab-Israeli affairs, and the other as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle East. Hill was then appointed executive aide to George Shultz in 1985, a position he served until 1989. After teaching at Cornell University as a Clark Fellow, Hill went on to advise the Secretary General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Gali, from 1992 to 1996.

After leaving the U.N. (and public service) in 1996, Hill turned to a career in university teaching. Hill taught at Stanford University from 1995 to 1998, and has taught at Yale University since 1998. He authored two books in this time: Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order (2010), and Trial of a Thousand Years: World Order and Islamism (2011). Along with Paul Kennedy and John Lewis Gaddis, Hill was a founding member of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale University, where he was appointed a senior lecturer and diplomat-in-residence. Charles Hill died on March 27, 2021 in New Haven, Connecticut.
Guide to the Charles Hill Papers
compiled by Staff of Manuscripts and Archives
May 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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