Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
October 21, 1998
Pamela Harriman Papers Given to Library of Congress
The personal papers of Pamela Digby Churchill Harriman, who died in 1997 while serving as the U.S. Ambassador to France, have been given to the Library of Congress by her estate.
Ambassador Harriman was a prominent figure in national politics in the 1980s and 1990s. She was on the board of directors of the Commission on Presidential Debates (1987- 1993), chair and founder of the "Democrats for the 80s" and "Democrats for the 90s," both major fundraising committees for the national Democratic Party, as well as national co- chair of the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign in 1992. President Clinton named her ambassador to France in 1993.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington called the Pamela Harriman papers a "rich and highly valuable resource" for the understanding of American national politics in the 1980s and early 1990s as well as for documenting the life of an "extraordinary woman who has been involved in national and international politics and diplomacy since the opening days of World War II." He said he expected that the Pamela Harriman papers would be consulted frequently by historians and scholars after they are organized and made available for research. (As a condition of the gift, the Harriman estate will control access to the papers for 10 years.)
The Pamela Harriman papers are a large collection, estimated to contain about 500,000 items. They cover all aspects of her life but are most extensive regarding her active involvement in civic, political, and governmental matters in the last 20 years. In addition to her political work, Ambassador Harriman was a trustee of Rockefeller University and the Brookings Institution, served on the Council of the National Gallery of Art, the Winston Churchill Foundation, and the W. Averell Harriman Institute for Russian Studies, as well as on the board of directors of the Mary W. Harriman Foundation and as a vice chairman of the Atlantic Council.
Born Pamela Digby in Farnborough, England, in 1920, Mrs. Harriman studied at the Sorbonne in Paris (1937-1938). In 1939 she married Randolph Churchill, the son of Britain's wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. She worked for various British war agencies during World War II and as a journalist for the Beaverbrook Press after the war. She came to the United States in 1959 and married Leland Hayward in 1960. She became an American citizen in 1971 and married W. Averell Harriman in that year.
In addition to the gift of the Pamela Harriman papers, her estate also donated to the Library of Congress approximately 29,000 more items to supplement the Averell Harriman papers. The Averell Harriman papers, approximately 300,000 items, are also held by the Library of Congress and were the gift of Pamela Harriman in 1986.
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