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   Institute of Current World Affairs records, 1914-2018 [Bulk Dates: 1926-2011]

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Institute for Current World Affairs Records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.:MS#1528
Bib ID:7684435 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Institute of Current World Affairs.
Title:Institute of Current World Affairs records, 1914-2018 [Bulk Dates: 1926-2011]
Physical description:147 linear ft. (98 record boxes)
Language(s): Material is in English
Access: This collection has no restrictions. This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



Material is arranged into 7 series

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Scope and Content

The Institute of Current World Affairs records document the history of the ICWA, its sister organization, the American Universities Field Staff, and its founders, Charles and John Crane. Documents include first-hand reports authored by Fellows and field staff, correspondence, minutes, planning documents, subject files, financial records, publications, and photographs.

Spanning almost a century, the ICWA archive tells the story ofboth the ever-evolving history ofthe organization itself, with its unique philanthropic mission and the important story of its founders, and international affairs and culture as witnessed and described by hundreds of journalists, scholars, artists, and policy makers, many ofwhom emerged as leaders in their chosen fields. The collection should be of tremendous value to researchers, whether they be interested in the organization itself, the history of the international affairs community and foreign policy, or the history and culture of a specific region.

Series I: Charles Richard Crane and John O. Crane Documents

The Crane family papers consist materials collected about Charles Crane in efforts to document his life and work. The personal papers of his son John Crane, dating mainly from the 1960's, are also included. While the Crane family papers held by the ICWA are a selective record of the family's activities, they offer an important glimpse into Charles and John Crane's philanthropic efforts, and their relationship with the ICWA.

Subseries I.3: John Crane Materials

Comprised ofJohn Crane's personal papers, mostly dating from the 1960's. Includes correspondence, financial records, clippings and clippings documenting Crane's philanthropic efforts, his professional relationships (including his ongoing involvement with the ICWA), his various residences, his membership on boards and committees, and his relationship with friends and family.

Series II: ICWA Newsletters, 1926-2011

Comprised of original and printed reports filed by Fellows and distributed to ICWA members and select readers as newsletters, which take the form of letters to the ICWA Director. The letters detail the Fellows' travels, studies, and general conditions of life. Many are accompanied by illustrations, such as photographs, maps, and charts. Some related correspondence also forms part of this sub-group.

This record group also includes reports from partner of fellows, individuals who weren't formally appointed as fellows, but whose letters to Walter Rogers were deemed of interest and were circulated and/or preserved through ICWA channels, and Alicia Patterson Fund Fellows.

Over time the newsletters grew to resemble publications more and more. In 1995, the newsletters were reformatted, becoming known as ICWA Letters.

Series IV: Trustees' Minutes

Comprised of governing documents, minutes, planning documents, correspondence, and other records prepared for Trustee and Member meetings, dinners, and events. Also includes lists of Trustees and Members from 1958-1978. A complete set ofbound minutes exists for 19261955. Subsequent bound volumes are housed in the ICW A offices. Foldered minutes (19321977, 1982-1998) include accompanying correspondence and materials.

Records relating to the ICWA's 'introspection' retreats (1961-1975 and 1996-1998) are housed together. The retreats were held to allow Trustees, Members, Staff and former Fellows to examine and rethink the ICWA's mission and activities. In some instances, information gathered beforehand through surveys and correspondence, which are included.

Series VI: Directors' Files

Includes correspondence, subject files, and related materials created and maintained by the ICWA's three Executive Directors, from its founding in 1926 until 1990.

Subseries VI.1: Walter Rogers Materials

Walter Rogers' records consist of correspondence and subject files documenting his work at the ICWA and his ongoing relationship with the organization, following his retirement in 1959. Includes correspondence with Fellows, Trustees, and other colleagues; news clippings and reprints on topics of interest, such as science, religion, philosophy, and journalism; Rogers' own writings in the form of memoranda and reports; trip records; Rogers' notes from readings and lectures; early documents about the founding and development of the ICWA; and testimonials from former Fellows and colleagues on the events of Rogers' retirement and his death in 1965.

Subseries VI.2: Richard H. Nolte Records, 1938-1978

Includes Nolte's correspondence with Fellows, Members, Trustees, and colleagues; collected materials (e.g. newspaper profiles, publications lists, obituaries, etc.) about individuals associated with the ICWA; collected materials on topics of interest, particularly the Middle East, filed by author; records documenting Nolte's membership in various organizations and committees, most notably the Arctic Institute of North America; and correspondence about Nolte's short-lived ambassadorship to Egypt in 1967.

Nolte's files of correspondence with Fellows often predate his tenure as Director. The correspondence documents the Fellows' ongoing relationship with the ICWA, and in some instances, the Fellowship itself. A few original newsletters are included.

Subseries VI.3: Peter B. Martin, 1926-1990

Includes Peter Martin's correspondence with individuals, including former Fellows, funders, and organizations; budgets and financial information; contribution acknowledgments; and collected materials relating to the ICWA's history and activities.

Series VIII: Archived Web Site, 2013-present

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

 This collection has no restrictions. This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

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.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Institute for Current World Affairs Records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed 2013

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion December 5, 2014 Finding aid written in English.
    2014-12-05 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz and updated by Adrien Hilton
    2017-03-30 Archived Website series added by Jane Gorjevsky

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Crane, Charles Richard, 1858-1939.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Institute of Current World Affairs.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Scholarships, fellowships, etc.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The Institute of Current World Affairs is a Washington, D.C-based 501(c)3 which provides fellowships, allowing Americans under age 36 to live in a foreign country for two years. Their observations and research are published in monthly newsletters that are distributed to members.

Three men were instrumental in founding the Institute ofCurrent World Affairs (ICWA) -Charles and John Crane and Walter S. Rogers.

Charles Crane (1858-1939) was one of the heirs to the Crane Co. ofChicago, created by his father Richard Teller Crane in 1855. A world traveler and Woodrow Wilson supporter, Crane served as a member of Wilson's Special Diplomatic Commission to Russia (1917), a member ofthe American Section ofthe Peace Conference Inter-Allied Commission on Mandate in Turkey (1919), as co-director (with Oberlin College President Henry C. King) ofthe KingCrane Commission to study the Middle East following World War I (1919), and as American Ambassador to China (May 1920-June 1921). In later years Crane developed a friendship with King Abdul-Azziz ibn Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia, and assisted with oil exploration in the region. Charles married Cornelia W. Smith. One of his sons, Richard T. Crane was the private secretary to Secretary of State Robert Lansing.

His other son, John O. Crane traveled extensively with his father and Walter Rogers, and, with Rogers, established the Mutual News Exchange, an independent press service run out of Prague. The news service's need for well-trained, worldly scholar-journalists, led to the establishment of the Institute ofCurrent World Affairs, with a $1 million trust fund from Charles Crane. The ICWA was created to support fellowships abroad. John Cranewas one of the earliest Fellows.

Walter Rogers was a Chicago journalist who had worked his way through law school in the evenings. At the turn ofthe century he was working for the Crane Company. After traveling with Charles and John Crane, Rogers became the Executive Director of the ICW A when it was established in 1925, a position he occupied until his retirement in 1959. Rogers was known for his active recruitment of Fellows.

The American Universities Field Staff (AUFS) program was established by Walter Rogers in 1951, as a partner organization ofthe ICW A. The AUFS was a membership organization, supported by fees from as many as 20 American universities and grants from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, and governed by top representatives ofthe member schools. The main purpose of the AUFS was to supply teaching pC(sonnel in international affairs at the member colleges from its pool of "Associates" --scholars living and studying abroad in their regions ofspecialization. Many ofthe original Associates w~re former ICW A Fellows and subsequent Fellows were often placed with an eye to their becoming Associates. Although Rogers' efforts to merge the ICWA and the AUFS proved unsuccessful, the two continued to be closely linked, sharing offices in New York. Former Fellow Phillips Talbot served as the first executive director of the AUFS.

Following Rogers' retirement in 1959, former Fellow Richard Nolte served as Executive Director until his retirement in 1978. Nolte briefly served as the U. S. Ambassador to Egypt in 1967.

His successor, Peter Martin, also a former Fellow, retired in 2005. Martin was a writer and senior editor at TIME magazine (1955-1970) and a founding editor of MONEY magazine (1970-l978), and the creator of the South North News Service.

Steven Butler the current Executive Director moved the offices ofthe Institute of Current World Affairs to Washington, DC in 2007. In addition to Butler, the ICWA currently employs Ellen Kozak (Publications Director) and Jim Guy (Bookkeeper and Program Assistant).

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