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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Daniel P. Moynihan papers

Repository: Library of Congress. Manuscript Division

Collection Description (CRHP): See the interviews in these series in Part I: Department of Labor, Harvard University and Writings.

Collection Description (Extant): The papers of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) span the years 1765-2003, with the majority concentrated between 1955 and 2000. The collection consists of four parts. Part I chronicles almost every phase of Moynihan's career before his election to the United States Senate, primarily from 1955 to 1976. Part II makes up the bulk of the collection and documents Moynihan's four terms as a senator from New York from 1977 to 2000. Part III pertains chiefly to Moynihan's activities as a senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., 2001-2003, and as a member of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Part IV, an addition received after Moynihan's death, supplements the papers in Part I and Part II.

See especially these sections in Part I:

The Subject File subseries comprises over half of the Labor Department series, documenting many of Moynihan's departmental projects concerning employee-management cooperation in the federal service, manpower development, National Service Program (Peace Corps), poverty, selective service research, trade negotiations, traffic safety, and employment programs and opportunities. In 1965, in his capacity as assistant secretary of labor in the Office of Policy Planning and Research, Moynihan authored “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” a controversial report that brought him into the national spotlight. The report concluded that the instability of the black family and the absence of fathers in many families was a major cause of poverty, illiteracy, and hopelessness in black urban families. Upon its release, the report caused a storm of protest among liberals and African-American leaders. Many felt Moynihan attributed illegitimacy and poor economic performance to an inherent defect among the black population, although there is no statement to that effect in the report. Much of the publicity about the report came after Moynihan had left the Department of Labor, so most of the correspondence and some related material about the report are located in the Wesleyan University file in the Miscellany series and the Subject File of the Harvard University series. Research material relating to the report is located in the Writings File of Part I, where it is interfiled with similar research used for Moynihan's unpublished book “Towards Equality as a Fact and as a Result.”

Papers in the Harvard University File consist of three subseries: General Correspondence, Subject File, and Speeches and Writings File. The General Correspondence subseries includes a wide variety of personal and professional correspondence. The heart of the Harvard file, however, is comprised of the Subject File and the Speeches and Writings File. These two subseries document Moynihan's research, teaching, consulting, speaking engagements, and writings in the areas of family stability, civil rights, welfare reform, African-American violence, urban riots, antiwar protests, poverty, and politics. The Speeches and Writings subseries contains a few articles that were written before Moynihan became an adviser to President Nixon but not published until 1969. Also interfiled in the Harvard series are a few files from Moynihan's tenure at the Department of Labor and Wesleyan University. In addition, there is some overlap with later series in Part I, Nixon Administration, United Nations File, India File, and Writings. Among the most significant and frequent correspondents in the Harvard file are Saul Bellow, William F. Buckley (1925- ), McGeorge Bundy, Max Frankel, Edward Moore Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Bill D. Moyers, David Riesman, William P. Rogers, Arthur M. Schlesinger (1917- ), and Story Zartman.

Access Copy Note: Restrictions apply governing the use, photoduplication, or publication of items in this collection. Consult a reference librarian in the Manuscript Division for information concerning these restrictions.

Security Classified Documents
Government regulations control the use of security classified items in this collection. Manuscript Division staff can furnish information concerning access to and use of classified material.

Items have been transferred from the Manuscript Division to other custodial divisions of the Library. Some photographs have been transferred to the Prints and Photographs Division. Sound recordings and videotapes have been transferred to the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division. Some books written or edited by Moynihan have been transferred to the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, and some books have been made available as part of the Manuscript Division Reading Room reference collection. All transfers are identified in these divisions as part of the Daniel P. Moynihan Papers.

Date(s): 1765-2003

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: MSS 75913

Extent: 1,306,400 items ; 3,741 containers plus 10 oversize, 1 electronic file, and 3 classified ; 1,492.8 linear feet ; 1,021 microfilm reels

Finding Aid URL:

Language: English

Interviewees: Daniel P. Moynihan

Rights (Extant): Copyright in the unpublished writings of Daniel P. Moynihan in these papers and in other collections in the custody of the Library of Congress is reserved. Consult a reference librarian in the Manuscript Division for further information.


African American families
African Americans--Social conditions
United States. Congress. Senate
United States. Dept. of Labor




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   September 26, 2018
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