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William R. Mathews papers

Ms. Coll. 1012

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959‏
Mathews, William R., 1893-1969
William R. Mathews papers
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1012
0.2 Linear feet (1 box)
William R. Mathews (1893-1969) was a journalist, newspaper editor and publisher who corresponded extensively with John Foster Dulles (1888-1959), a politician who served as a United States Senator and United States Secretary of State. This collection represents years of correspondence between these two men, with occasional notes to or from one of their wives. The letters demonstrate Dulles and Mathews' friendship and mutual respect, as they discuss the political and military events that occurred between 1941 and 1957.
Cite as:
William R. Mathews papers, 1941-1964, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
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William R. Mathews was an accomplished journalist, newspaper editor and publisher. Born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1893, he graduated with an A.B. degree in Money and Banking from the University of Illinois in 1917. He served as a Second Lieutenant and Captain in the Fifth Regiment of the Second Division of the United States Marine Corps during World War I and earned numerous awards and citations, including the French Croix de Guerre in 1918, for capturing seventy-five German soldiers. From 1920 to 1924, he was the business manager of the Santa Barbara Morning Press. In 1924, he and business partner Ralph E. Ellinwood purchased the  Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, Arizona. Mathews served as the general manager from 1924 to 1930 and as editor and publisher from 1930 to 1967. He died in 1969.

John Foster Dulles (1888-1959) was the son of a Presbyterian minister. He graduated BA from Princeton in 1908, attended the Sorbonne (Paris) for a year, and then graduated LLB from George Washington University in 1911. That same year, he began practicing law in New York. He served as a captain, and then major, in the United States Army during the early years of the First World War, and as a member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, from 1918 to 1919. He briefly experienced political office when, in 1949, he was appointed to complete the term of the late Senator Wagner of New York. His bid for re-election was unsuccessful. In 1950, President Harry Truman appointed John Foster Dulles as a special envoy to Japan to negotiate a peace treaty with Japanese Prime Minister Yohida Shigeru and to assess the situation in Korea. Mathews asked Dulles if he could join him on this trip to Korea and Japan as an accredited correspondent. Dulles is best known for serving as Secretary of State in the Eisenhower administration from 1953 to 1959. Dulles left office on health grounds two months before his death. He is the author of two books: War, Peace and Change (1939) and  War or Peace (1950).

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of William R. Mathews papers regarding his relationship with and study of John Foster Dulles. The vast majority of the material consists of correspondence between Mathews and Dulles from 1941 to 1957. The correspondence begins with what appears to be Dulles' first letter to Mathews regarding one of Mathew's editorials at the start of 1941 and ends with a several letters exchanged by Mathews and Janet Dulles after her husband's death. Topics addressed in the correspondence are diverse: including World War II, international peace (particularly relating to Dulles' service on the Commission to Study the Bases of a Just and Durable Peace instituted by the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America), politics, post-World War II policy both in the US and Germany, the United Nations, the election campaigns of Thomas E. Dewey, Japan, the beginning of the Korean War, the Japanese Peace Treaty (1952), and communism. Their letters also reference the Bikini bomb experiments, the Berlin blockade, and other political and military events of those years. In addition to letters containing substantive views on world politics of the day, these letters also demonstrate Dulles and Mathews' friendship and mutual respect.

This collection also contains several printed copies of lectures, reports, and statements by John Foster Dulles relating to peace, world order, and foreign policy, as well as several newspaper clippings regarding Dulles. There is one printed pamphlet entitled, "Korea: The Lie that Led to War," written by Sir John Pratt.

The final item in the collection is a typescript of William R. Mathews' diary which he kept while in Korea with Dulles from June 14 to 19, 1950. In the diary, Mathews writes, "the following diary, which was kept faithfully each day, tells the story of how war came to Korea." (Box 1, Folder 17).

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  17 July 2014

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Devorah Sperling-Billings

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Source of Acquisition

Gift of William R. Mathews, September 24, 1964.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

At Princeton University: The John Foster Dulles papers, 1860-1988, MC016.

At University of Arizona Special Collections: William R. Mathews Papers, 1916-1971, ms. 406.

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Reports
  • Speeches
Personal Name(s)
  • Dewey, Thomas E. (Thomas Edmund), 1902-1971
  • MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964
  • Korean War, 1950-1953--United States
  • Religion and politics--United States--History--20th century
  • World War, 1939-1945--Germany

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1941.

1 1

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1942.

1 2

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1943.

1 3

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1944.

1 4

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1945.

1 5

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1946.

1 6

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1947.

1 7

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1948.

1 8

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1949.

1 9

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1950.

1 10

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1951.

1 11

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1952.

1 12

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1954.

1 13

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles, 1955.

1 14

Correspondence with John Foster Dulles and Janet Dulles, 1957-1964.

1 15

Printed speeches, reports, and pamphlets, and newspaper clippings (largely by or about John Foster Dulles), 1941-1959.

1 16

Diary (written by Mathews): "Korea with the John Foster Dulles mission", 1950 June 14-29.

1 17