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Selwa Roosevelt Papers

Identifier: GTM-981201

Scope and Contents note

Papers of Ambassador Selwa Roosevelt, U.S. Chief of Protocol under President Ronald Reagan, including photographs (mostly in photo albums) of state occasions and visits organized by Roosevelt, formal invitation cards, souvenir programs for events, clippings, and printed materials. A run of correspondence of Selwa Roosevelt with authors, celebrities, international correspondents, Reagan Administration officials, and friends is also retained.


  • 1949 - 2019


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.

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

Ambassador Selwa S. “Lucky” Roosevelt (b. 1929) is best known for being the Chief of Protocol of the United States of America from 1982 to 1989. The daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Ambassador Roosevelt was born in Kingsport, Tennessee. In 1950, she married Archibald B. Roosevelt, Jr., who was the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt. Archibald died in 1990. After graduating from Vassar College, Ambassador Roosevelt was a journalist for The Washington Post. In addition, she wrote a social column for the Washington Evening Star. She also contributed to various magazines and was as a contributing editor for Town and Country. President Ronald Reagan appointed Ambassador Roosevelt Chief of Protocol in 1982. In her job, she coordinated visits of world leaders to the U.S. It is estimated that she organized more than 1,000 such visits. Ambassador Roosevelt set a record for longevity in the position of Chief of Protocol as she served in that post for nearly seven years. She also successfully managed the restoration of Blair House, the President’s guest house. Ambassador Roosevelt is a long-time member of the Georgetown University Library board of directors.

[Source: “Selwa S. Roosevelt.” Council of American Ambassadors Online.]


44.3 Cubic Feet (38 boxes and 1 oversized folder)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations


The Selwa Roosevelt Papers are arranged into 10 series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Selwa Roosevelt, 1998-2019

Related Materials

An oral history interview with Selwa Roosevelt by the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training ( is available on the ADST Web site. The interview, dated 2003-11-24, is available full-text online, free-of-charge at,%20Selwa%20S.toc.pdf

Also, there are a few Selwa Roosevelt documents in the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection 2020.

Processing Information

The collection was rehoused into acid-free boxes and folders when it was received.

Selwa Roosevelt Papers
Lisette Matano
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2023-10: Accessions GTM-180912, GTM-161130, and GTM-190101 were incorporated into GTM-981201 by Scott S. Taylor

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

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