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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in seven series: Series I. Subject Files Arranged by George W. Perkins, Jr., 1909-1985; Series II. Personal Documents, 1910-1960; Series III. Social Affairs, 1936-1957; Series IV. Financial Files, 1922-1937; Series V. Printed Material, 1909-1990; Series VI. Photographs, 1895-1970; Series VII. Other Media, 1940-1961.
The collection contains documents and photographs of George W. Perkins, Jr. Subject files include mostly official correspondence regarding organizations such as NATO, the Palisades Interstate Park Commissions, and Merck and Company. The bulk of these subject files were created by George W. Perkins, Jr. After his death, several folders with condolences and obituaries were added by his family. Also included are his documents from World War I and World War II: manuals, maps, correspondence, and photographs. His personal documents constitute a separate series, which includes correspondence with family and his two wives, papers from his school years and travel diaries. The papers also contain invitations, menus, and itineraries that illustrate his social life as a diplomat. Financial files include stocks and bonds as well as correspondence, clippings, and official documents regarding the bankruptcy of Knauth, Nachod and Kuhne. There is also a large amount of photographs and photo albums that include family portraits and photographs from travels.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. Box 55, which contains glass plate negatives, is located onsite.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); George W. Perkins, Jr. papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged 08/--/1989 Christina Hilton Fenn
Papers processed 2009 Casiana Ionita, GSAS, 2013
Finding aid written 11/2009 Casiana Ionita, GSAS, 2013
2010-04-07 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
George W. Perkins, Jr. (1895-1960) was a diplomat who served as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs under Dean Acheson, from 1949 to 1953, and as the US Permanent Representative to NATO, with rank of Ambassador, from 1955 to 1957.
Perkins was born in 1895 to Evelina Ball Perkins and George W. Perkins. His father was a financier, member of J.P. Morgan & Co. and one of the founders of Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party. He was also president of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission from its creation in 1900 to 1920. George W. Perkins, Jr. pursued his undergraduate studies from 1913 to 1917 at Princeton University, and in 1921 received an MA from Columbia. During World War I, from 1917 to 1919, he served as a Lieutenant in the 1st Division of the US Army. While he was fighting in France in 1918, his wife, Katherine Trowbridge, whom he had married in 1917, died. In 1921 he married Linn Merck, daughter of George Merck, President of Merck and Co. The couple had three children.
From 1921 to 1922, Perkins was Executive Secretary to Postmaster General Will Hays, and then, from 1927 to 1948, he acted as Executive Vice President of Merck and Co. He took a leave of absence during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, while he was a Colonel working for the Chemical Warfare Service of the US Army. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service.
In 1949, President Harry Truman appointed Perkins, a Republican, to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs. In the four years he held this position, he advocated for a more open attitude toward Spain and helped to win financial aid for Yugoslavia from Congress, arguing that it would be a way of deterring the Soviet Union. President Dwight Eisenhower appointed him United States Permanent Representative on the Council of NATO in 1955, five years after Perkins had served as the US representative in the formation of NATO. In 1957 he was succeeded by W. Randolph Burgess.
In his last years, Perkins was very devoted to the Palisades Park Interstate Commission, of which he had been a member since 1922. He became President in 1945 and served for 15 years. He died in 1960.