Dwight W. Morrow (AC 1895) Papers
Scope and Contents
The papers document the professional, public service, and personal activities of Dwight W. Morrow (1873-1931). They reflect Morrow's multiple roles and commitments as lawyer, international financier, statesman, public servant, alumnus, board member, and family man. A chronology of his formal activities is available.
The 124 linear feet of materials include: extensive correspondence; memoranda and reports; subject files; meeting minutes; speech transcripts and printed articles; scrapbooks; clippings files; family financial records; photographs; and some artifacts. The material dates from 1877 to 1954, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1900 to 1931. The papers' fullest coverage is of Morrow's work as a partner at J.P. Morgan & Co. (1914-1927) and as ambassador to Mexico (1927-1930).
Morrow's career in finance and diplomacy brought him into the national and international arena during the first three decades of the twentieth century. His entry into the J.P. Morgan & Co. banking firm in 1914 received national attention. At J.P. Morgan & Co., his assignments included financing loans for the European war, the Cuban government, and New York City; capitalization of the Kennecott Copper Corporation; refinancing the Interborough Rapid Transit Company; the mutualization of the Equitable Life Assuarnce Society; as well as his more routine responsibilities and other projects.
The issues he faced as ambassador to Mexico are also well documented in the papers. These include matters such as agrarian reform and U.S. citizen landownership; Mexican Church-State tensions; American oil claims and other interests; and Mexican government solvency.
Additional responsibilities and activities reflected in the papers include trusteeships at Amherst College, Union Theological Seminary, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and elsewhere; committee work for the New Jersey Prison Inquiry Commission, the National War Savings Committee for New Jersey, the President's Aircraft Board, and the Regional Plan of New York and its Environs; his position as delegate to the London Naval Conference; and his civic work in Englewood, New Jersey. Some of Morrow's activities are less well represented in the papers. These include his work as delegate at the 1928 Pan American Conference, as U.S. representative with the Allied Maritime Transport Council, and as U.S. Senator from New Jersey. In addition, although there is family-related material in the papers, the bulk of it concerns financial transactions.
Morrow's positions on political and economic questions are easily traced through his speeches and writings; they are also discernable throughout his correspondence. The clippings files and scrapbooks provide chronological and topical access to the public reporting on his career and activities.
The career, civic, political, and personal aspects of his life were closely intertwined. Among the correspondence of significance or magnitude in the papers are letters to and from: Charles T. Burnett (AC 1895), J. Reuben Clark, Jr., C. A. Coffin, Calvin Coolidge (AC 1895), Thomas Cochran, Paul D. Cravath, Charles F. Dawes, Johnston and Robert deForest, T. Coleman du Pont, Walter E. Edge, Martin Egan, S. Parker Gilbert, Daniel and Harry Guggenheim, Will H. Hayes, Thomas W. Lamont, George D. Olds, Sir Arthur Salter, Richard B. Scandrett, Jr. (AC 1911), A. H. Springer, and Frank W. Stearns (AC 1878). There is also extensive correspondence with individuals representing Amherst College; the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor; Bankers Trust Company; The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; the New Jersey, USA and International Chambers of Commerce; the Daniel Guggenheim Foundation for the Promotion of Aeronautics, Inc.; General Electric Company; the International Committee of Bankers on Mexico; J.P. Morgan & Co.; the New Jersey Prison Inquiry Commission; Reed Simpson & Bartlett; the Russell Sage Foundation; and the Smithsonian Institution.
Morrow's circle of colleagues and associates was extensive, and his responsibilities and interests were varied. A single letter from a business associate might refer to Morrow's work on a civic board, expound on a political topic, and express greetings from a mutual friend; such a letter is most likely to be filed by the name of the correspondent but might instead be filed by the name of the correspondent's business affiliation or by the name of the board or by the topic or by the mutual friend's name. Because of Morrow's overlapping involvement with professional, public service and personal commitments, the researcher should search all possible names and topics when seeking access to any given subject.
- Majority of material found within 1900-1931
Conditions Governing Access
In general, there is no restriction on access to the Dwight W. Morrow Papers for research use. Selected items may be restricted to protect the privacy rights of individuals or for other legal reasons. Some family material and financial records are closed. Particularly fragile or valuable items have been replaced with copies.
Conditions Governing Use
All copyrights held by the Morrow family on the Dwight W. Morrow Papers were transferred to the College in 1971. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of other copyrights. Requests for permission to publish material from the papers should be directed to the Archivist of the College.
124 Linear feet (94 records storage boxes, 11 archives boxes, 1 half archives box, 12 flat boxes, 3 pamphlet boxes, 10 volumes, 1 file drawer)
Language of Materials
The Dwight W. Morrow collection includes: extensive correspondence; memoranda and reports; subject files; meeting minutes; speech transcripts and printed articles; scrapbooks; clippings files; family financial records; photographs; and some artifacts. The material dates from 1877 to 1954, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1900 to 1931. The papers document the professional, public service, and personal activities of Dwight W. Morrow (1873-1931). They reflect Morrow's multiple roles and commitments as lawyer, international financier, statesman, public servant, alumnus, board member, and family man. The papers' fullest coverage is of Morrow's work as a partner at J.P. Morgan & Co. (1914-27) and as ambassador to Mexico (1927-30).
This collection is organized into sixteen series:
- Series 1: Business Affairs and Public Activities Files, 1900-1931
- Series 2: Speeches and Writings, 1892-1931
- Series 3: Clippings Files and Scrapbooks, 1887-1933
- Series 4: Amherst College, 1903-1935
- Series 5: New Jersey Prison Inquiry Commission, 1917-1922
- Series 6: National War Savings Committee for New Jersey, 1917-1919
- Series 7: Allied Maritime Transport Council, 1918
- Series 8: Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs, 1922-1931
- Series 9: President's Aircraft Board, 1925-1927
- Series 10: Ambassador to Mexico, 1927-1930
- Series 11: Campaign for U.S. Senator from New Jersey, 1929-1930
- Series 12: London Naval Conference, 1929-1931
- Series 13: Family and Personal Papers, 1882-1954 [Restrictions]
- Series 14: Photographs, Films, and Visual Images, 1880-1931
- Series 15: Briefs and Printed Materials, 1891-1929
- Series 16: Realia, 1877-1930
The business and public papers are also available on 167 reels of microfilm.
The papers were stored in the Morrow home in Englewood, New Jersey, from 1931 to 1954. During the 23 years before the papers were given to Amherst College, the physical order and condition were altered.
There is internal evidence to suggest that biographer Harold Nicolson had custody of the papers when he was writing the 1935 biography Dwight Morrow. This internal evidence includes compiled lists of Morrow's talks and activities, typescript copies of correspondence, and galley proofs of the biography. The degree to which Nicholson rearranged or reorganized the papers is not known.
In 1954, librarian Lillian T. Courand worked for the Morrows to organize the papers in an alphabetical sequence. She grouped the folders into four broad categories within the alphabetical sequence: the main administrative files of Morrow's career, biographical files, files maintained in Mexico, and Senatorial campaign files.
The papers were damaged by water during the time they were maintained in the Morrow house. Mrs. Morrow noted in a letter to Amherst College President Charles W. Cole that "our fireproof room where the files were kept was deluged by a storm several years ago, so that many papers are stuck together ..." [3 May 1954]. The disproportionate distribution of the volume of the files suggests that many files in the later part of the alphabetical sequence were most severely affected and discarded. The mold damage resulting from the deluge is in evidence on many of the letters and reports.
In July 1954, 12 filing cabinets of Morrow's papers were transferred to Amherst College and stored in a fireproof room in Morgan Hall. Additional papers were transferred at later dates: four filing cabinets of unorganized papers in February 1955; several cartons of materials in June 1955; and a few individual items in 1957. Nothing was done to organize the papers or integrate the additions.
Between March and June 1990, the Dwight W. Morrow Papers were processed, and a more useful arrangement was created. (See the Series Description.) The series were based on Morrow's functional activities (e.g., ambassador) or by format (e.g., photographs). Papers from the original gift and the later additions were brought together as an integrated collection.
Certain materials were reappraised. Documents without substanitive information were discarded, i.e. 2 folders of Christmas Telegrams. Other documents with low information density were weeded to reduce their volume by 95%; the documents in the Invitations and Contributions folders were retained as representative samples. Materials that had been compiled for the Nicolson biography were removed from the collection and are maintained in a separate collection. Letters signed by famous people were routinely replaced with photocopies. As part of the processing, a limited amount of preservation photocopying of mold-damaged papers and newspaper clippings was done. Metal fasteners and unannotated duplicates were removed from the papers. A limited amount of material was refoldered, using alkaline-buffered folders; materials were rehoused in archival boxes.
With the support of two preservation grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Department of Education Title II-C, the bulk of the papers were microfilmed between August 1991 and February 1993. The material filmed during this time covers Morrow's professional, public service, and personal activities.
Additional reprocessing was done in order to provide more convenient access, particularly for the microfilmed papers. The following subject and correspondence files were rearranged: Series I: Coolidge, Copper, Cuba, Englewood, General Correspondence, Memoranda, and J.P. Morgan Co.; Series X: General Correspondence and Memoranda. In general, the reprocessing resulted in name or topic access within the identified sections.
Documents violating the privacy rights of third parties or Morrow family privacy were removed. When a document was removed, a separation sheet was placed at that location. The separation sheet identifies the removed item, e.g. Springer to Morrow 2 October 1928. In some instances, it was possible to supply an edited photocopy of the original document. These edited photocopies are also identified.
Personal papers relating to and supplementing the Dwight W. Morrow Papers are located in other repositories. Morrow family papers are located at Smith College and Yale University; Minnesota Historical Society has the Frank B. Kellogg Papers; the New Jersey Historical Society has Walter E. Edge Papers, 1916-56; the Library of Congress has Grosvenor Family Papers, 1827-1968, and Edward Tracy Clark Papers (secretary to Calvin Coolidge), 1923-35; Harvard Business School has Thomas Lamont Papers. These repositories can be contacted directly for information on the terms of access to and restrictions on the papers, and public hours.
- March-May 1990
- Anne Ostendarp, Project Archivist Daria D'Arienzo, Archivist of the College Beverly Ann Demeter, Karen Hendershott, Susannah Pelletier, Rachel Smith, Student Assistants
- August 1991-February 1993
- Anne Ostendarp, Project Archivist Daria D'Arienzo, Archivist of the College
- Finding Aid Prepared by:
- Anne Ostendarp, Project Archivist
- Edited by:
- Cheryl Gracey, Archives Associate Emily Silverman, Archives Associate
- Listed by:
- Annie Rutledge, Archives Associate Janet Poirrier, SKILLS Assistant Jean Zilewicz, Archives Associate
- May 1991, May 1993
- Daria D'Arienzo, Archivist of the College Anne Ostendarp, Project Archivist Annie Rutledge, Archives Associate Kim Frutiger, Paul Milazzo, Student Assistants
- Diplomatic and consular service, Mexican Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Morrow, Dwight W. (Dwight Whitney), 1873-1931 (AC 1895)
- United States -- Foreign relations -- Mexico Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Anne Ostendarp
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000