Skip to main content
Please contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections for assistance with accessing these materials.

Samuel D. Berger papers

Identifier: GTM-861215

Scope and Contents

The Samuel D. Berger Papers consist of 1 box (1.5 linear feet) and 1 oversize box of correspondence, manuscript material, photographs, and miscellany pertaining to Mr. Berger's concern with the study of labor unions and his years in the U.S. Foreign Service. The collection offers an interesting look at Berger's career in the Foreign Service, from his college days to his service in Vietnam, as well as glimpses into the affairs of the countries in which he served.

Among the correspondence in the collection, which is arranged by subject within a framework of years, are letters from such notable individuals as Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Abraham Ribicoff, and Langdon Post, as well as many U.S. and foreign diplomatic officials. Some of the more informative correspondence is that written by Berger to his wife, Margaret, while he was working for the Lend-Lease mission. The letters tell quite a bit about the War from London's standpoint and were obviously censored (words and lines simply cut out). Also interesting are the New Zealand letters which discuss affairs in Tokyo and allude to Berger's controversial transfer from that embassy.

The oversize box contains commissions and honors given to Berger with signatures including Presidents Kennedy, Truman, and Eisenhower, King George VI, and Ernest Bevin. The remainder of the collection is concerned mainly with photographs of Korea and Berger's incomplete dissertation on the AFL-CIO.


  • 1937-1979

Conditions Governing Access

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.

Biographical / Historical

Following graduate studies in economics at the University of Wisconsin and the London School of Economics, Berger entered government service in 1940 as a labor and manpower specialist. In 1942 he joined the Lend-Lease Mission to Great Britain, working under Averill Harriman, until 1943. Berger's Foreign Service career continued when he was recruited from the army, in which he served as a captain from 1944-1945, to fill the newly created position of Labor Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in London. He served in London until 1950. From that time until 1961 Berger served in various positions in Washington, Tokyo, Wellington, and Athens, building a reputation for his valuable services to the State Department.

In 1961 Berger's diligence was rewarded with a commission as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. The following year, he was named Career Minister. On the completion of his assignment in Korea, in 1964, Berger became Deputy Commandant of the National War College. From 1965 to 1968 Berger was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs. In 1968 Berger was sent to Saigon as Deputy Ambassador under Ellsworth Bunker and helped coordinate the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. Returning to the U.S in 1972, Berger spent his last two years with the Foreign Service as coordinator of the Senior Seminar program and finally retired, after 34 years of service, in 1974. Samuel D. Berger died of cancer in Washington D.C. on February 12, 1980.


2.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Samuel D. Berger papers
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
Description rules
Local Practice
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

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