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J. Raymond Ylitalo Papers

Identifier: GTM-20221205

Content Description

The J. Raymond Ylitalo Papers document the diplomatic career of J. Raymond Ylitalo (1916-1987), a U.S. foreign service officer who was the 29th U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay from 1969 through 1972. Materials derive from Ylitalo's postings to Helsinki, Finland; Munich, Germany; Manila, Philippines; Washington, D.C.; Tijuana, Mexico; Asuncion, Paraguay; and Toronto, Canada. Included are photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and printed matter from his various posts. The collection also contains the manuscript for his memoir (written in English, published only in Finnish) about Finland, together with copies of U.S. State Department documents concerning Finland in the late 1940s. The bulk of the collection concerns Ylitalo's ambassadorship in Paraguay.

The collection also provides insights in to the life of Mrs. Jean Sarchet Ylitalo, the wife on J. Raymond Ylitalo. The couple shared the diplomatic life together in various posts. Numerous invitaitons for the Ylitalos to attend social occasions are retained. In particular, the collection contains a number of scrapbooks created by Mrs. Ylitalo covering their family and social lives during their time in Paraguay.


  • 1916 - 1987


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

J. Raymond Ylitalo (1916-1987) was born in Floodwood, Minnesota, where he graduated from Floodwood High School in 1933. He earned a degree from Suomi Junior College in Hancock, Michigan in 1935. He then graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1937. Ylitalo subsequently received an M.B.A. from Northwestern University in 1938. He taught economics for three years at the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa. After he left teaching, he worked as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1941.

After World War II, Ylitalo embarked on a long career as a U.S. foreign service official. He served in a number of posts. He was an attache in the American Legation in Helsinki, Finland from 1946 to 1950. He was consul in Munich, Germany in 1954 to 1958. Ylitalo worked for a year in 1959 as consul in Cebu, Philippines before becoming consul general in Manila, Philippines from 1959 to 1962. He was once again a consul general, this time in Tijuana, Mexico from 1968 to 1969. From 1969 to 1972, Ylitalo served as U.S. ambassador in Asuncion, Paraguay. His final diplomatic post was as consul general in Toronto, Canada from 1973 to 1976. In addition to his foreign posts, Ylitalo worked stateside for the U.S. State Department in various capacities.

Mrs. Jean Sarchet Ylitalo, J. Raymond Ylitalo's wife, shared the diplomatic life with her husband. She took part in all aspects of life at various postings, including attending social functions. The couple had four children: John Ylitalo, Georgianne Farness, Mary Katherine Ylitalo, Sara Lisa Ylitalo, and Evelyn Zelany.

J. Raymond Ylitalo died on February 10, 1987, in Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. at the age of 70.

[Sources: Ylitalo's resume found in box 1 folder 9 his papers; Obituary in the "Duluth News Tribune" in February 1987, also found in box 1 folder 9 of his Papers]


8.65 Cubic Feet (9 boxes)

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


Metadata Rights Declarations


The collection is organized into three series:

1. Personal Files

2. Diplomatic Materials

3. Finland - Memoir

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Katherine Ylitalo, 2022.

Processing Information

The collection was rehoused into archival-quality boxes and folders when it was received in 2022.

J. Raymond Ylitalo Papers
Scott S. Taylor
2023 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

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