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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Online aid available for foreign policy archives

The Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library has completed its arrangement of the records of the Council on Foreign Relations, the influential American foreign policy organization, and has made an electronic finding aid available on its website for researchers.

The majority of the council's records were transferred to the Mudd Library for research in 1998, a major acquisition for the University's collection of public policy papers. Noncurrent records of the council are deposited at Mudd Library annually. Currently, the collection totals nearly 400 linear feet -- or 800 boxes -- and includes records related to the inner workings of the council as well as the minutes of off-the-record meetings and study groups.

The Council on Foreign Relations was founded in 1921 by businessmen, bankers and lawyers who were determined to keep the United States engaged in the world. Today the council's members aim to provide insights into international affairs and to develop new ideas for U.S. foreign policy, particularly national security and foreign economic policy, through study groups, roundtables and publications. The council publishes Foreign Affairs, which has printed some of the most important articles about world affairs over the past several decades.

Since the original deposit in 1998, many archivists have contributed to the arrangement and description of the council's records. In 2005, the Princeton University Library's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections hired project archivist Jennifer Cole to focus on finalizing the arrangement and descriptive work with the council's records. Cole built upon the work of previous archivists, developing 13 permanent series of records focused on departments and functions of the council.

The Mudd Manuscript Library recently has begun a digital audio transfer project that will make recordings of selected council meetings dating back to 1953 available online in digital format. Funding for this project was provided by more than 20 members of the council and the John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Fund.

Further information on the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library can be obtained at http://www.princeton.edu/mudd.

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