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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 664; T-382; Vt-187; Data 0-11

Papers of Ruth S. Morgenthau, 1925-2006 (inclusive), 1963-2000 (bulk)


Correspondence, speeches, writings, and teaching materials of Ruth S. Morgenthau, professor of international relations at Brandeis University and expert on African studies and world food issues.


  • 1925-2006
  • Majority of material found within 1963-2000

Language of Materials

Materials in English and French.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Ruth S. Morgenthau is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


21.27 linear feet ((51 file boxes) plus 3 folio folders, 3 folio+ folders, 2 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 5 photograph folders, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 5 audiotapes, 2 videotapes)
2.83 Megabytes (10 files)

This collection documents Morgenthau's teaching career, her political work, and her work on sustainable development; it includes correspondence (both family and professional), lecture notes and other teaching materials, conference proceedings, financial records, articles, speeches, photographs, audiotapes, and videotapes. Some material on her parents, Osias and Mizia Schachter, is also included. Morgenthau worked with several organizations with similar missions; consequently, some overlap may exist between series. The processor created most folder titles and the arrangement; folder headings created by Morgenthau appear in quotation marks. Electronic records were received on twenty three 3.5" disks, which were imaged using FTK Imager. Selected data has been converted to PDF/A for preservation and delivery. These files (#E.1-E.10) were added to the finding aid in October 2018.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1925-2005 (#1.1-14.7, FD.1-FD.3, F+D.1-F+D.2, OD.1, PD.1-PD.4, E.1), includes biographical information about Morgenthau, high school and college papers, family correspondence, travel notes, photographs, and material on her parents, Osias and Mizia Schachter. The series is arranged in six subseries.

Subseries A, Biographical and personal, 1931, ca.1948-2005 (#1.1-2.15, OD.1, PD.1-PD.3), includes articles about Morgenthau, resumes and autobiographical sketches, appointment and address books, awards and honors, financial records, photographs, and notes kept by medical attendants who provided her home care. The subseries is arranged with biographical material appearing first, followed by an alphabetical listing.

Subseries B, Education, 1941-1958, 1978-2002 (scattered) (#2.16-4.9, FD.1-FD.2, F+D.1-F+D.2), includes elementary and high school report cards and school work; Barnard College papers, coursework, and diploma; notes taken at the Institut des Études Politiques and École Nationale de la France d'Outre-Mer and at Oxford University; and correspondence regarding her 50th reunions at Hunter College High School and at Barnard. Of particular note is the material on the 1952 Model UN conference held at Barnard (#3.11-4.1); as Secretary General, Morgenthau played an active role in organizing this event, and her involvement reflects her strong early interest in social and political issues. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Travel, 1956-2003 (#4.10-7.14), includes a number of small notebooks Morgenthau kept during her frequent travels. Many are from trips to African countries, but Europe and the United States are also represented. Most of the notes from 1961 are typed, rather than handwritten in notebooks, and have a more narrative form; the notebook entries often consist simply of addresses, flight information, or what appear to be research notes, though #5.9 contains a travel diary. The subseries also includes itineraries for Morgenthau's business trips, family vacations, and trips taken by other members of the Morgenthau family. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries D, Personal correspondence, 1952-1953, 1964-2004 (#8.1-9.4), includes Morgenthau's correspondence with her husband Henry Morgenthau III during her frequent travels abroad. She describes her experiences in Africa and also her devotion to her husband, who remained in Cambridge during her travels. Henry's letters describe his activities and those of their children, and express his pride in her work, and his love for her. He wrote in 1965, "The way I miss you is that part of this house, particularly our bedroom and the waking hours in it has slipped back into the lifeless loneliness that I knew before you came" (#8.5). The subseries also includes Ruth and Henry's correspondence with their children and letters from others. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries E, Unidentified notes, 1961-1999, n.d. (#9.5-12.3), contains small notebooks in which Morgenthau entered addresses, household notes, grocery lists, and what appear to be research notes. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries F, Schachter family, 1925-1994 (#12.4-14.7, FD.3, PD.4, E.1), documents the years Osias and Mizia Schachter spent in the US and includes their correspondence with Morgenthau, including letters she wrote them and her sister Alice while studying in Paris and Oxford and doing research in Africa. The subseries also includes financial and business records; correspondence with others; photographs; records pertaining to Mizia's Austrian pension; and correspondence regarding Mizia's health and her move from the Morgenthau's home, where she'd lived since Osias's death, to a nursing home. The subseries is arranged with Morgenthau's correspondence with her parents appearing first, followed by material related to both Osias and Mizia, Osias's correspondence and other documents, and finally by material on Mizia.

Series II, CORRESPONDENCE AND RELATED, 1949-2006 (#14.8-18.7, E.2), includes correspondence, activity reports, and lecture notes from Morgenthau's five years as a research associate and assistant professor at Boston University, as well as letters to and from other organizations and individuals with whom she was involved, reflecting her interest in political and Jewish affairs. The subseries includes some congratulatory and thank you letters from politicians; for more substantive correspondence, see Series VII, Subseries A. Correspondence that could be clearly identified as related to Morgenthau's political work, her work at Brandeis, or with the United Nations, CILCA, Food Corps, the World Bank, and the African Capacity Building Foundation, has been placed in the relevant series or subseries. For personal correspondence, see Series I, Subseries D. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series III, SPEECHES, CONFERENCES, WRITINGS, AND RELATED, 1959-2004 (#18.8-25.16, T-382.1 - T-382.4, Vt-187.1 - Vt-187.2, E.3 - E.4), contains papers Morgenthau presented at conferences; speeches; articles; letters to the editor; and correspondence re: her book Political Parties in French-Speaking West Africa. It is arranged in two subseries. Speeches and writings directly related to Morgenthau's work with CILCA and the Food Corps are in Series V, and those related to the United Nations, the World Bank, and the African Capacity Building Foundation are in Series VI.

Subseries A, Speeches and conferences, 1959-2004 (#18.8-22.1, T-382.1 - T-382.4, Vt-187.1 - Vt-187.2, E.3), includes correspondence re: speaking engagements; speeches given at Brandeis events, synagogues, and other venues; and papers presented at conferences and symposia. When it could be determined that papers were subsequently published, the processor placed them in Subseries B, Writings and related. The bulk of the speeches cover issues such as US policy towards Africa, sustainable development, and the alleviation of hunger; other topics include women's role in public policy. The subseries also documents Morgenthau's role in events commemorating Eleanor Roosevelt (#20.10-20.12, 21.17), whom she had known personally. Some notes and drafts are included. It is arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Writings and related, 1960-1998 (#22.2-25.16, E.4), includes book proposals and reviews; letters to the editor; correspondence re: chapters Morgenthau wrote for books on Africa; reviews of her book Political Parties in French-Speaking West Africa and correspondence re: its translation into French; articles by Morgenthau; and papers presented at conferences and subsequently published. Most articles deal with hunger, poverty, and unrest in Africa and elsewhere, and US policies towards African countries.

Series IV, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, 1960-2002 (#25.17-35.12, PD.5, E.5 - E.7), includes teaching materials, correspondence pertaining to Morgenthau's work at Brandeis, and material on the Sustainable International Development program she established.

Subseries A, Courses, 1960-2000 (#25.17-29.5, E.5), includes lecture notes, syllabi, and reading lists, course evaluations, and reading lists and syllabi for classes taught by others on women and multinationalism. The series is arranged with course materials listed alphabetically by course name, followed by course evaluations and reading lists.

Subseries B, Correspondence, 1963-2002, n.d. (#29.6-32.6, PD.5, E.6), includes the establishment of African and African-American departments at Brandeis; an agreement re: Morgenthau's status as a tenured professor and correspondence re: the terms of her appointment; minutes of the committee on the status of women at Brandeis and related correspondence and questionnaires; department correspondence; and general correspondence (#30.1-31.3). This includes invitations to serve on committees or participate in conferences, Morgenthau's academic activities reports, letters from students and political figures, and other letters she sent from and received at her Brandeis address; most but not all of these letters directly relate to her work at the university. The subseries also includes "administrative" correspondence (#29.7-29.8) regarding operation of the Brandeis Politics Department and broader university practices. (Some of this correspondence concerns CILCA expenses and operations.) The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries C, Graduate Programs in Sustainable International Development, 1989-1999 (#32.7-35.12, E.7), documents the program Morgenthau developed at Brandeis; the program is now part of Brandeis' Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Originally intended for mid-career professionals with some experience in poverty-alleviation and regional development, the program eventually expanded its focus to include those beginning their careers. The subseries includes papers regarding its establishment, development, and operation; a collection of articles on microfinance edited by Morgenthau; conferences and colloquia on sustainable development and microfinance, etc. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Series V, LIAISON COMMITTEE FOR FOOD CORPS PROGRAMMES INTERNATIONAL/COMMITTEE INTERNATIONAL DE LIAISON DU CORPS POUR L'ALIMENTATION (CILCA), 1975-2000 (#36.1-43.14, E.8), includes correspondence, writings, speeches, papers, and reports. It is arranged in two subseries.

Subseries A, Correspondence, 1975-2000 (#36.1-40.18), contains Morgenthau's correspondence with individuals and organizations involved with CILCA, including her proposal for the establishment of a Food Corps; correspondence about CILCA conferences and workshops; trip reports; project planning, including efforts to work with other organizations; publicity for CILCA; and financial and logistical matters (including translating papers and articles into non-English languages, and staffing). The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Other, 1976-1996 (#41.1-43.14, OD.2, E.8), includes CILCA's constitution and articles of incorporation and organization, annual reports and minutes, brochures, bulletins, budgets, conference and workshop material, and articles and speeches, etc. Some material is in French. Also included here is material on the Food Corps, including by-laws and articles of organization. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Series VI, OTHER PROFESSIONAL, 1970-1998, n.d. (#44.1-47.6, E.9 - E.10), documents Morgenthau's work with the UN and other organizations that offered financial and technical assistance in Africa and elsewhere. It is arranged in two subseries.

Subseries A, United Nations, 1970-1998 (#44.1-45.13, E.9), includes letters congratulating Morgenthau on her appointment as US representative to the UN Social Development Committee in 1977; statements and a draft report; correspondence regarding the establishment of the Food Corps, an idea that Morgenthau developed while working at the UN; and correspondence. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, African Capacity Building Foundation/World Bank, 1990-1993, n.d. (#45.14-47.6, E.10), includes correspondence regarding Morgenthau's appointment and work as a short-term consultant to help with the World Bank's project on food security in Madagascar, and projects in Benin and Mali; reports and correspondence regarding her work for the African Capacity Building Foundation in Burkina Faso and Ouaga, etc. A number of documents are in French. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Series VII, POLITICAL ACTIVITIES, 1973-2003 (#47.7-51.10, PD.6, T-382.5), is arranged in three chronological subseries and documents Morgenthau's active participation in the Democratic Party.

Subseries A, Political work for others, 1973-2003 (#47.7-49.8), includes correspondence, and briefing and position papers on Africa prepared by Morgenthau and others. Morgenthau advised Jimmy Carter on issues pertaining to Africa during his 1976 presidential campaign and campaigned for several other Democratic candidates. The subseries also includes correspondence pertaining to Morgenthau's attempts to obtain a foreign policy position in Bill Clinton's administration, and her work on the Democratic Advisory Task Force.

Subseries B, Political campaigns, 1978, 1986-1988 (#49.9-50.11, PD.6, T-382.5), documents Morgenthau's 1978 run for the US Senate from Massachusetts, and her later campaign for a seat in the US House of Representatives from Rhode Island. The subseries includes correspondence, speeches, press releases, and a campaign song (for her congressional campaign).

Subseries C, John Pastore book project, 1985-1990 (#50.12-51.10), includes interview transcripts, drafts, excerpts, press releases, reviews, etc., of Morgenthau's Pride without Prejudice: The Life of John O. Pastore, a biography of the first Italian American to serve as a US Senator. Morgenthau had been interested in writing Pastore's biography since first meeting him in 1985; she received funding for the project from the Rhode Island Historical Society.

Series VIII, OVERSIZED, 1947-1984 (#FD.1-FD.3, F+D.1-F+D.3, OD.1-OD.2, SD.1), serves as the shelflist for items removed from preceding series.

A selection of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].


Ruth Schachter Morgenthau was born in Vienna, Austria, on January 26, 1931, the younger daughter of Osias and Mizia (Kramer) Schachter. Osias Schachter owned a textile importing company before fleeing the Nazis with Ruth on December 31, 1938. Mizia and their other daughter, Alice, left Vienna the following year, and the family lived in England and Cuba before arriving in the United States and settling in New York City in 1940. Morgenthau graduated from Hunter College High School in 1948 and from Barnard College in 1952, and then attended the Institut d'Études Politiques in Paris as a Fulbright scholar. She conducted extensive research in Africa before receiving her doctorate in politics from Oxford University in 1958. Her thesis evolved into her best-known work, Political Parties in French-speaking West Africa, published in 1964. In 1962, she married Henry Morgenthau III, an author and television producer whose father was US Secretary of the Treasury in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration. Eleanor Roosevelt attended their wedding. They had three children: Sarah, H. Ben, and Kramer.

Morgenthau taught African studies at Boston University before joining the Politics Department at Brandeis University in 1963. She remained at Brandeis until 2003, serving as department chair from 1974 until 1976, and was named Adlai Stevenson Professor of International Politics. Deeply interested in "bottom-up" aid and in alleviating poverty and hunger, she formed Brandeis's graduate program in Sustainable International Development, helped establish a Food Corps, and also founded the Liaison Committee for Food Corps Programmes International. This organization (known as CILCA) provided low-cost assistance to rural populations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Morgenthau also served on the board of Pact, a coalition with aid programs in 20 countries.

Morgenthau served as an African policy advisor during John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign, and, from 1962 to 1969, as a member of the State Department's African Advisory Council. She played an active role on Jimmy Carter's Foreign Policy and Defense Task Force (#48.2-48.4), advising him on issues concerning Africa during his presidential campaign, and also advised, and campaigned for, presidential hopefuls Paul Tsongas, Bill Bradley, and Michael Dukakis. She was a member of the US delegation to the United Nations from 1977 to 1981 and was US Representative to the United Nations Social Development Commission. An active member of the Democratic Party, Morgenthau ran for the US Senate in 1978, dropping out of the race before the Democratic primary, and in 1988 ran unsuccessfully as a Democratic candidate for Congress from Rhode Island. She died November 4, 2006, in Boston, Massachusetts, of myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow disorder.


The collection is arranged in eight series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, 1925-2005 (#1.1-14.7, FD.1-FD.3, F+D.1-F+D.2, OD.1, PD.1-PD.4, E.1)
  2. Series II. Correspondence and related, 1949-2006 (#14.8-18.7, E.2)
  3. Series III. Speeches, conferences, writings, and related, 1959-2004 (#18.8-25.16, T-382.1 - T-382.4, Vt.187.1 - Vt-187.2, E.3 - E.4)
  4. Series IV. Brandeis University, 1960-2002 (#25.17-35.12, PD.5, E.5 - E.7)
  5. Series V. Liaison Committee for Food Corps Programmes International/Committee International de Liaison du Corps pour L'Alimentation (CILCA), 1975-2000 (#36.1-43.14, E.8)
  6. Series VI. Other professional, 1970-1998, n.d. (#44.1-47.6, E.9 - E.10)
  7. Series VII. Political activities, 1973-2003 (#47.7-51.10, PD.6, T-382.5)
  8. Series VIII. Oversized, 1947-1984 (#FD.1-FD.3, F+D.1-F+D.3, OD.1-OD.2, SD.1)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2008-M198

The papers of Ruth S. Morgenthau were given to the Schlesinger Library by her widower, Henry Morgenthau, in October 2008.

Processing Information

Processed: January 2011

By: Susan Earle

Updated and electronic records added: July 2018

By: Susan Earle

Morgenthau, Ruth S. Papers of Ruth S. Morgenthau, 1925-2006 (inclusive), 1963-2000 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the Radcliffe College Class of 1957 and by Ware Acquisitions Fund at the Schlesinger Library and the Archival Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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