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Harry L. Hopkins papers 3

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS73

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

This collection constitutes the third accession of the papers of Harry Hopkins. Material is grouped into eight series (see Synopsis). Arrangement of the correspondence reflects the successive stages of Hopkins' career. An important aspect of the family correspondence is the letters between Hopkins and his son Robert, which cover the war years (1940 to 1945) during which the latter served in the Army Signal Corps. Letters (of condolence) received by Hopkins regarding the death of his youngest son Stephen (killed in combat during the invasion of Namur in the Marshall Islands, 1944) are also noteworthy. The collection includes various typescripts of articles by Hopkins, as well as a number of memoranda written by him during his years of service at the White House. Some noteworthy correspondence comprises the series of xeroxed material (for explanation, see Synopsis) and includes Max Beaverbrook, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Dwight Eisenhower, J. Edgar Hoover, Charles De Gaulle, and Harry Truman. Xeroxes of Hopkins' memoranda regarding his trips abroad (to London and Moscow) and the Yalta Conference are also included. The collection is completed by a series of newsclippings covering many important moments in the lives of both Hopkins and his family. Included are magazine pictorial features of Hopkins' career, spotlighting his years as presidential advisor, as well as news articles that follow the experiences of his sons, Robert and Stephen, during World War II. * * * * * * * * Processed by: Lisette C. Matano Date: March 6, 1990


  • 1917-1979
  • Majority of material found within 1920-1946

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical note

Harry Lloyd Hopkins was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on August 17, 1890. He was graduated, A.B. Cum Laude from Grinnell College, Iowa, in 1912. He then moved to New York City where he was engaged by Christadora House, a social settlement, to act as counselor at the summer camp in Bound Brook, New Jersey. This was to be the first stage of a distinguished career in social work. From 1913 to 1915, Hopkins was a work relief agent for the New York Association for Improving conditions for the Poor (NYAICP), where he eventually became executive secretary of the Board of Child Welfare. During World War I, he served with the American Red Cross, first as secretary to the general manager in Washington, D.C., then as assistant director of civilian relief and associate manager of the Gulf Division, headquartered in New Orleans, and finally as manager of the Southern Division. In 1922, Hopkins returned to New York to become assistant director of the NYAICP. In 1924, he was appointed director of the New York Tuberculosis (later the NY Tuberculosis and Health) Association.

Then in 1931, Franklin D. Roosevelt, governor of New York State at the time, appointed Hopkins to the position of executive director of the New York Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA), which led to his appointment as administrator of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), in May 1933. FERA was later superseded by the Works Projects Administration (WPA) of which Hopkins became administrator in April 1935. (FERA was officially renamed WPA in July 1939.)

Hopkins resigned from the WPA in December 1938 and entered Roosevelt's cabinet as secretary of commerce, which post he filled until September 1940. During these years he became one of Roosevelt's most intimate friends and advisors. He eventually resigned as secretary of commerce and during the Second World War resided at the White House performing many important and confidential political missions on behalf of the president. Among these was his heading of the board of strategy at the Democratic National Convention held in Chicago, 1940, to re-elect Roosevelt for a third term. In January 1941, Hopkins was U.S. emissary to Great Britain (pending the appointment of an ambassador) prior to taking charge of the lend-lease program. As a personal representative of Roosevelt, he conferred with Winston Churchill and Premier Stalin; and as a member of the president's inner cabinet, he attended the major war conferences at Washington, Casablanca, Quebec, Cairo, Tehran, and Yalta. After the war, Hopkins prepared the way to the Potsdam (Berlin) Conference (summer 1945), and was instrumental in launching the United Nations Conference in San Francisco (April 1945). Hopkins retired from a brilliant career in government service in July 1945. he died on January 29, 1946, at Memorial Hospital New York.


3.5 Linear Feet (6 Hollinger Document Cases, 1 Record Storage box)

Language of Materials


Harry L. Hopkins papers 3
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057