The Harry L. Hopkins Papers

The Harry L. Hopkins Papers, the personal archives of the man who was FDR's most trusted advisor, consist of 26 linear feet (62 archival boxes) of material. The Papers contain appointment books and diaries; drafts of Hopkins' speeches and memoranda; photographs and drawings; and extensive correspondence with the most prominent figures of the 20th century including FDR; the Winston Churchill Family; Averell Harriman; Lyndon B. Johnson; Dwight D. Eisenhower; George C. Marshall; Harry S. Truman; Edward Stettinius, Jr.; Charles De Gaulle; Senator Claude Pepper; Robert Sherwood; Philip Barry; Helen Keller; John Vassos; Anthony Eden; Harold Ickes; James Farley; and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Boxes 1 to 24 comprises individual correspondence from notable contemporaries. The major portion deals with Hopkins' health; congratulations regarding his various government appointments; invitations to various functions; and pertinent political issues. Key political figures do not necessarily discuss political issues, events, or personalities; i.e., the Lyndon B. Johnson letters concern the death of Hopkins' second wife, and invitations to his famous "quilting parties." Federal administration personnel such as Jesse Jones of the Federal Loan Agency discuss personal matters rather than official administrative problems or matters. On the other hand, the letters of such non-political individuals as Clementine and Pamela Churchill are more revealing for their rather "newsy" glimpses of their contemporaries, political and otherwise.

Boxes 25 to 30 comprise general correspondence from various organizations, associations, and clubs such as the Alfalfa Club; the American Association for the United Nations; American Friends of a Jewish Palestine; the Birth Control Federation of America; Democratic National Convention Committee, 1936 to 1945 (Box 26); Fortune Magazine; the Inner Circle; the Inter-Parliamentary Union; Library of Congress; NBC; Pan American Union; and the White House Correspondents' Association. Also contained therein are standard constituent mail (i.e., "good job," "good show," "get lost" types). Some of the more interesting are those letters from irate illiterates, frustrated Republicans, and watchdog Democrats.

Boxes 31 and 32 comprise congratulatory correspondence relating to Hopkins' appointment as Secretary of Commerce in December, 1938. The major portion of letters are favorable, discussing the constructive service Hopkins will render to that office, as well as offering insight into the reaction and the treatment of his appointment by the Senate confirmation committee.

Box 33 contains correspondence requesting Hopkins' autograph from serious and amateur collectors, as well as letters from authors and publishers concerning complimentary copies of books sent to and received by Hopkins.

Box 34 comprises letters to Hopkins from a varied segment of the British population during his London trip in January, 1941 on behalf of Roosevelt's Lend-Lease program. The majority of correspondents request autographs, speaking engagements, and interviews; while others contribute interesting and not-so- interesting suggestions concerning the war effort.

Boxes 35 and 36 contains assorted bills and receipts incurred by Hopkins during the period 1937 to 1944 from various hotels, grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors, insurance agencies, utility companies, department stores, book shops, and other business establishments.

Boxes 37 and 38 contain Christmas greetings (cards, telegrams, letters) to Hopkins from friends, associates, and the general public.

Boxes 39 to 42 are comprised of materials (i.e., correspondence, cards, telegrams, school progress reports, biographical and genealogical materials) relating to individual members of the Hopkins family such as Ada Hopkins Aimee, his sister; his children; his three wives; and his brothers. Includes negative response letters from a small segment of the American public regarding a party given Louise and Harry Hopkins by financier Bernard Baruch in 1942.

Boxes 43 and 44 comprise letters, telegrams, and cards from a variety of correspondents regarding Hopkins' health, specifically his operation in 1937, as well as the series of illnesses which plagued him throughout the 1940s. His many friends and admirers hoped for his speedy and complete recovery.

Boxes 45 and 46 contains material pertaining to Hopkins' various personal activities and interests (by no means inclusive), such as cartoons done of him; horseracing; real estate ventures; a retirement fund; speaking engagements handled by the National Lecture Bureau; vacations; church; relative financial matters; and his trip on the U.S.S. "Tuscaloosa" in 1940.

Boxes 47 to 50 contain assorted invitations to Hopkins from political figures; charitable organizations; business associations; foreign embassies; patriotic groups; and private clubs concerning a variety of functions such as dinners; dedications; weddings; receptions; inaugurations; exhibitions; conferences; historic occasions; and commencements.

Boxes 51 to 53 contain Hopkins' diaries and appointment books covering the period 1932 to 1946. It comprises one of the more illuminating and revealing aspects of the Papers.

Boxes 54 to 57 comprise manuscripts (arranged chronologically) of Hopkins' works (including his book, Spending to Save) dealing mainly with New Deal programs and the U.S. war effort during the 1940s. Letters requesting Hopkins to write books, articles, and columns for various publishing houses, magazines, and newspapers are also included.

Box 58 contains various items from WPA and FERA personnel. The major portion consists of letters from WPA employees concerning Hopkins as WPA head; his declining health; references to local and federal politics relative to the WPA (i.e., T.J. Edmonds file); WPA employee performance (i.e., Gertrude Ely file); newspaper editorials; and "old times." This section does not maintain official administration files.

Box 59 contains material concerning Grinnell College alumni activities, as well as letters from former classmates including John Nollen, then college president.

The materials relating to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library contain items on the 1939 cornerstone ceremony; the 1941 dedicatory address; and correspondence regarding those items to be housed in the Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park.

Boxes 60 to 62 are a compilation arranged in subject categories by Pulitizer Prize novelist Robert Sherwood for his authoritative, if not definitive, biography of Hopkins and his era: Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History and The White House Papers of Harry L. Hopkins, 1939 - 1945. The folders have been maintained in their provenance prior to their arrival at the Georgetown University Library, Special Colllections Division. Xeroxes have been made of items whose originals can be found in various Individual Correspondence files of this collection (Boxes 1 to 24) where applicable.

Number of Boxes: 62
Size: 26 linear feet
Date Span: 1890s to 1946; Undated
Provenance: Gift from Robert Hopkins, December 1984
Processed by: Anna T. Zakarija
Date: January 26, 1986


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