Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle papers

This collection, spanning from 1912 to 1961 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1938 to 1955, is composed of documents produced by Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle while working for the United States diplomatic service, for U.S. military agencies, and for several civil organizations. The collecti... Full description

Record Source: Archival Materials
Collection Information: Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle Papers (#3110)
Main Author: Biddle, Anthony Joseph Drexel 1896-1961.
Format: Manuscript
Language: English
Subjects and Genres: More/Less
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Item Description: Processing Information: Processing was conducted using guidelines based on the "More Product, Less Process" approach to archival processing with the goal to provide researchers immediate access to the materials. In organizing this collection an effort was made to maintain the order in which the papers were found as much as possible. However, in some cases a different approach was taken due to confusing titles, insufficient descriptive information, or the interfiling of professional and personal papers. Some folder titles were updated or changed to consolidate as many documents as possible under one subject heading (e.g., Poland, Association of the US Army, etc.). Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle used different methods to organize his correspondence: alphabetical, by year, by event, by names. Correspondence for 1960, for example, is divided alphabetically while for 1961 two different groupings were used: alphabetical and grouped all together. In some instances he divided letters between Personal and General but this is not always the case. Due to their contents, several folders originally titled Miscellaneous 1934-1936 have been renamed Correspondence. All folders originally titled Speeches were grouped together. However, speeches for particular events (with the folder title reflecting the name of the event) were not separated from their original content. Researchers must be aware that Biddle participated in many speaking engagements and multiple folders contain speeches even though their titles do not reflect this. The same approach was taken with photographs. All single photos and folders containing only photographs have been sleeved and grouped together under the Photographs and Prints series. Pictures found in folders with other papers were also sleeved but kept as found. Researchers must also be aware that folders titled "Notes" could contain documents related to different subjects already represented in other folders in the collection. Additionally, some folders with different titles could contain documents about the same subject, such as Oslo/Norway; Poland/Warsaw; US Foreign Services/Ambassador Extraordinary. In addition, when the collection was received, documents collected or acquired by Biddle as part of his work for the State Department or the U.S. Army were often interfiled with personal papers. As part of processing, these materials have been separated into Series 5 (Federal Documents). Staff of the National Archives and Records Administration Office of the Inspector General (NARA OIG) has reviewed the contents of this series and determined that it is suitable to remain at HSP. NARA OIG staff also formally declassified federal documents that had been stamped as "secret," "confidential," etc.
Physical Description: 40.0 Linear feet ; 109 boxes
Access: This collection is open for research.
Summary: This collection, spanning from 1912 to 1961 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1938 to 1955, is composed of documents produced by Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle while working for the United States diplomatic service, for U.S. military agencies, and for several civil organizations. The collection contains correspondence, clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, and papers related to his work as US ambassador, U.S. representative to foreign countries, military officer, military aid to General Matthew B. Ridgway and General Dwight Eisenhower, adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard, cabinet member of the Pennsylvania state government, as well as various positions he held with the Association of the US Army, the Pennsylvania Aeronautics Commission, and the Temple University Board of Directors. Mixed with all these documents are multiple letters, photographs, and notes to and from family and friends, mostly from his early years. The collection is organized in five series: Correspondence and General Papers; Newspaper Clippings and Publications; Photographs and Prints; Scrapbooks; and Federal Documents. Series I (Correspondence and General Papers) spans from 1932 to 1961 and includes incoming and outgoing correspondence, work-related documents, and copies of most speeches Biddle gave during his life. The majority of the correspondence is work related; however, personal letters and documents can be found interspersed throughout the series. Series II (Newspaper Clippings and Publications) spans from 1924 to 1961 and features numerous clippings from American and European newspapers, many of them with handwritten annotations. This series also contains magazines, newsletters, and other publications Biddle kept, some of which feature handwritten annotations as well. Series III (Photograph and Prints) spans from the 1910s to 1961 and contains both personal and work-related pictures. The series also features prints and several pencil drawings. Series IV (Scrapbooks) contain clippings and photographs collected by Biddle in book form. The earliest scrapbook is from 1939 and the last one dates from 1956. Series V (Federal Documents) includes documents created or acquired by Biddle in in the course of his work for the Federal government in various diplomatic and military positions.
Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle, Jr. (1896-1961) was very active in Democratic politics, including serving as associate secretary of the Democratic National Convention in 1936. His activity in the political arena led to several appointments as a diplomatic officer. He served as minister to Norway, 1935-37, and ambassador to Poland, (1937-Sept. 9, 1939). After the invasion of Poland by the Germans, Biddle accompanied the Polish government to France, where he served as interim ambassador to France and ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States to the governments of Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Greece, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Luxembourg. He resigned from diplomatic service in 1944, and then served in various positions with the U.S. Army, including as a staff member to General Dwight Eisenhower and General Matthew Ridgway. From 1955 to 1961 he was adjutant general of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and in 1961 served as U.S. ambassador to Spain. The collection includes correspondence, speeches, newspaper clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, awards, commendations, and other miscellaneous material. The papers document Biddle's diplomatic career, particularly his time as U.S. ambassador to Poland (1937-1939), and his military career, particularly with the U.S. Army (1944-1955) and as Pennsylvania adjutant general (1955-1961).