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Helen Paull Kirkpatrick Papers, 1930 - 1998
13 boxes (5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 103

Abstract:
Journalist. The Kirkpatrick papers include extensive correspondence to her family while serving as a foreign correspondent in Europe. Included are her views of Europe just before the outbreak of World War II; the air raids in London; Allied Headquarters in North Africa; campaigns in Algiers, Italy, and Corsica; the armistice in Paris; post-war Germany and Europe; the Nuremberg Trials; and the Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow. Notable correspondents include Adlai Stevenson, Katharine Graham, Dean Acheson, Stewart Alsop, Styles Bridges, J. William Fulbright, General George C. Marshall, and Abe Ribicoff. Materials include broadcast scripts, lectures, published writings, diaries, photographs, and scrapbooks.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any added restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Helen Paull Kirkpatrick. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note
Helen Kirkpatrick, February 1944. Photo by 
            Ernie Marquardt Jr., Army Pictorial Service

Helen Kirkpatrick, February 1944. Photo by
Ernie Marquardt Jr., Army Pictorial Service

Helen Kirkpatrick was born October 18, 1909, in Rochester, NY, daughter of Lyman B. and Lyde Paull Kirkpatrick. She graduated from the Master's School, Dobbs Ferry, New York, in 1927 and from Smith College in 1931. In 1932, following postgraduate work at the University of Geneva, she became an assistant buyer at R. H. Macy & Co. in New York City. She married Victor H. Polacheck, Jr. in 1934. They were divorced in 1936. Between 1935 and 1937 Kirkpatrick worked in Geneva and England. During that time she was a writer, then editor, of Research Bulletin published by the Foreign Policy Association; research assistant for the Geneva Research Center (Foreign Policy Association) editing their "Geneva: A Monthly Review of International Affairs"; and correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune, Manchester Guardian, and London Daily Telegraph. Together with Victor Gordon-Lennox of the Daily Telegraph and Graham Hutton of the Economist she started the weekly Whitehall News Letter, which analyzed current state of European affairs. She was diplomatic correspondent for London Sunday Times in 1938 during the Munich crisis. Kirkpatrick expanded her views into two books, This Terrible Peace (1938) and Under the British Umbrella (1939).

As the war approached in 1939 Kirkpatrick began her career as a foreign correspondent. During the war she came to know many important figures in the European theatre. She traveled extensively under dangerous conditions and was respected and trusted for her political acumen and integrity. She was hired by the Chicago Daily News in 1939 and from their London office she covered the London blitz and the campaigns in Algiers, Italy, and Corsica (1943-45). She was the first correspondent after D-Day assigned to the headquarters of French forces inside France. She entered Paris in August 1944 riding in a tank of General Leclerc's 2nd Armored Division. As foreign correspondent for the New York Post, she covered the Nuremberg Trials and Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow (1946-48). During the late 1940s she was with the Washington Bureau of the Post and was Chief of the Office of Information of the Economic Co-operation Administration's mission to France (1949-51). Between 1949 and 1953 she worked for the State Department with Voice of America, the Economic Cooperation Administration and as Public Affairs Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (1951-53). In 1953 she become assistant to the president of Smith College. In 1954 she married Robbins Milbank.

Following her retirement in 1955, she was engaged in many civic activities including the Democratic Party, Citizens Advisory Committee to the Attorney General on Crime Prevention (1956-59), Public Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations (1964), the League Of Women Voters, and the Harvard University Board of Overseers. Kirkpatrick received the French Medallion de la Reconnaissance (1945), French Legion of Honor (1947), U.S. Medal of Freedom (1947), an honorary degree from Smith College (1948), and Rockefeller Public Service Award (1953). Following the death of her husband in 1985, she moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, where she died on December 29, 1997.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Kirkpatrick Papers consist of 5 linear feet of correspondence, clippings, writings, photographs, scrapbooks, memorabilia, and biographical material dating from 1930 to 1998. It is a well balanced collection that documents both her personal and professional lives. Of particular interest in these papers is Kirkpatrick's extensive correspondence to her family from overseas. She kept scrapbooks over the years and these, plus articles in SERIES II, provide extensive evidence of her writing.

Notable correspondents include Adlai Stevenson, Katharine Graham, Dean Acheson, Stewart Alsop, Styles Bridges, J. William Fulbright, General George C. Marshall, and Abe Ribicoff.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any added restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Helen Paull Kirkpatrick. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Helen Paull Kirkpatrick Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The papers were a gift of Helen Paull Kirkpatrick between 1983 and 1993.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Boone, 2000.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/

Language
English.