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Descriptive Overview

The Papers of Daniel P. Moynihan

The papers of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) span the years 1765-2003, with the majority concentrated between 1955 and 2000. The collection includes documentation of Moynihan as a senator, ambassador, academic, political advisor, and public intellectual. It consists of four parts:

Part I chronicles almost every phase of Moynihan’s career before 1976, including his work as a senior advisor on domestic policy and diplomat in four different presidential administrations.

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 dates from 1790 through 2003 (with the majority of items dating from the 2001 to 2003 time period). It pertains chiefly to Moynihan’s activities as a senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., 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. Further descriptions of each part follow.

Collection Summary

Title: Papers of Daniel P. Moynihan
Span Dates: 1765-2003 (bulk 1955-2000)
ID No: MSS 75913
Creator: Moynihan, Daniel P. (Daniel Patrick), 1927-2003
Size: 1,306,400 items; 3,741 containers plus 10 oversize, 3 classified, and electronic files; 1,492.8 linear feet; 1,021 microfilm reels
Repository: Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Abstract: Public official, diplomat, educator, and senator. Correspondence, memoranda, journals, speeches, writings, legislative files, notes, research material, subject files, appointment books, press releases, printed material, clippings, and photographs documenting Moynihan’s career in public service, in higher education, and in politics, particularly his years as United States senator from New York.

Administrative Information
The Papers of Daniel P. Moynihan

Provenance: The papers of Daniel P. Moynihan, public official, educator, diplomat, and senator, were deposited in the Library of Congress in 1978 by Moynihan. Numerous additions were sent to the Library between that time and 2007. In 2003 his wife, Elizabeth B. Moynihan, donated the collection to the Library. An addition containing items from Elizabeth Chamberlin, secretary and assistant to Moynihan, was given by her niece, Andy Chamberlin, in 2001.

Processing History: Part I of the papers of Daniel P. Moynihan was arranged and described in 1992. Material received between 1992 and 2007 was processed as Parts II, III, and IV. Pre-senatorial papers received after 1992 were added as an addition to Part I, but a few papers preceding his senate career are also included in Part IV of the collection.

Transfers: 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.

Copyright Status: 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.

Restrictions: 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.

Finding Aid: Available through the Manuscript Division Reading Room and online.

Part I

Part I of the Moynihan Papers spans the years 1786-1978, with most of the papers concentrated between 1955 and 1975. The bulk of Part I highlights Moynihan’s positions as:

Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford reading a newspaper at the White House, Feb. 6, 1975. Photo by Marion Trikosko. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-U9- 30764B-17 [P&P]

  • Assistant to Governor W. Averell Harriman of New York
  • Adviser to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald Ford
  • Member and permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations
  • Ambassador to India
  • Director of the Joint Center for Urban Studies at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Professor at Harvard University.

The few papers documenting Moynihan's early life focus primarily on his military career, 1944-1947, and his years in London, England, 1950-1953, as a student and a civilian budget assistant at the United States Air Force base in Ruislip, England.

Part I is divided into the following series:

New York State File
  Subject File
  Speeches and Writings

Department of Labor
  Appointment Books
  Subject File
  Speeches and Writing File

President's Temporary Commission on Pennsylvania Avenue

Advisory Committee on Traffic Safety

Harvard University File
  General Correspondence
  Subject File
  Speeches and Writings File

Richard M. Nixon Administration
  Personal File
  Subject File
  Scheduling File
  Speeches and Writings

United Nations File

India File
  Chronological File
  Subject File
  Speeches and Writings File

Political File

The New York State File is divided into two subseries, Subject File and Speeches and Writings File, which document Moynihan's early political associations and interests. Included are papers pertaining to his position as an assistant to the governor of New York, his service on the Public Affairs Committee of the state Democratic Party, and his research and teaching positions at Syracuse University.

Empire State Building

Empire State Building at Night, 1937. Photograph by Vincent Lopez. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-74620 (b&w film copy neg.)

The Subject File reflects many of the issues that dominated New York State politics, such as crime, education, transportation, and fiscal matters. Traffic safety also captured Moynihan's attention, as evidenced by a 1959 article, “Epidemic on the Highways,” that earned him public recognition and solicitations for his writings from various New York publications.

In the Speeches and Writings File is Moynihan's partial manuscript “New York Under Harriman,” one of his projects while serving as director of a Syracuse University government research project. Although never published, the draft provides Moynihan's inside view of the Harriman administration.

The papers in the Department of Labor series illustrate Moynihan's duties and activities while serving as an assistant in that department. The series consists of four subseries: Appointment Books, Correspondence, Subject File, and Speeches and Writing File.

The Appointment Books provide a glimpse of the busy schedule of both the public and private Moynihan, although there is no record for 1965.

The Correspondence subseries includes personal and professional letters. Because many of Moynihan's friends worked for the government or the press, or held academic teaching or research positions, there is a great deal of overlap between his personal and professional correspondence. Among the more frequent or prominent correspondents in the Department of Labor series are Ralph A. Duncan, Arthur J. Goldberg, Andrew M. Greeley, Bill D. Moyers, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Theodore C. Sorensen, and W. Willard Wertz.

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.

Howard University student

Howard University law student, c. 1942. Pix Inc., New York. FSA-OWI Collection, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USF344-007931-ZB.

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.”

The Speeches and Writings File subseries of the Department of Labor reveals Moynihan's prolific speaking and writing activities. Most of the speeches and writings are typewritten and contain handwritten notations. Also included in this subseries are correspondence, memoranda, notes, research material, and printed matter. Moynihan not only wrote his own speeches but occasionally wrote speeches for the secretary of labor and other people. For example, he wrote the first draft of President Johnson's civil rights address delivered at Howard University on June 4, 1965, the content based mainly on Moynihan's report on the African-American family.

Two series that chronicle Moynihan's service on commissions and committees are the President's Temporary Commission on Pennsylvania Avenue, 1961-1974, and the Advisory Committee on Traffic Safety, 1964-1968. The Pennsylvania Avenue Commission made recommendations and proposals for the redevelopment of downtown Washington, D.C., around Pennsylvania Avenue. Notable correspondents in the series include Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Edward Moore Kennedy. The Traffic Safety Committee was established by the secretary of health, education and welfare to review the traffic safety programs of the Public Health Service and their relationship to other federal programs and to make recommendations for expanded programs.

Papers in the Harvard University File consist of three subseries: General Correspondence, Subject File, and Speeches and Writings File.

Harvard Hall

Harvard Hall, Harvard University. FSA-OWI Collection, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-94158 (b&w film copy neg.)

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 Meier Schlesinger (1917-2007), and Story Zartman.

The Richard M. Nixon Administration series, one of the largest series in Part I, documents Moynihan's role as an adviser to Nixon from 1969 to 1973. Moynihan continued to serve in an advisory capacity from 1971 to 1973, although he had resigned from a permanent position at the White House in 1970. The series is divided into the following subseries: Journals, Correspondence, Personal File, Subject File, Scheduling File, and Speeches and Writings File.

The Journals focus primarily on meetings relating to domestic issues during Moynihan's tenure as an assistant and counselor to the president.

Vietnam bombing

Two bombs tumble from a Vietnamese Air Force A-1E Skyraider. 1967. U.S. Air Force. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. Prints and Photographs Division.

The Correspondence subseries includes chronological and congratulatory correspondence and general, presidential, telephone, welfare- related, and White House staff memoranda. The presidential and White House staff memoranda provide an inside view of the policy development of the administration's domestic agenda and how the staff handled other issues, such as economic problems, civil disturbances, campus unrest, and the Vietnam War. One in particular, Moynihan's confidential presidential memorandum of January, 16, 1970 encouraging the administration to adopt a policy of “benign neglect” toward the race issue, was leaked to the press and drew strong reaction from the public.

The largest subseries in the Nixon File, the Subject File, documents many of the domestic and foreign policy issues that faced the administration, such as campus unrest, civil disturbances, civil rights, education, national growth, school busing, Vietnam, and welfare reform. During the administration's early months, Moynihan, who also served as secretary of the Council for Urban Affairs, Nixon's domestic equivalent of the National Security Council, had an active role in formulating the president's domestic agenda. Welfare reform was a key interest of Moynihan, and the papers reflect his unsuccessful efforts to get the Family Assistance Plan passed. Among the more frequent and prominent letter writers of the Nixon file are Robert C. Bingham, Ellen Broderick, Patrick J. Buchanan, John Ehrlichman, H. R. Haldeman, Henry Kissinger, Richard M. Nixon, William P. Rogers, Caspar W. Weinberger, and Story Zartman.

Moynihan returned to Harvard where he split his time between teaching and serving as a member and later as a permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations. The United Nations File chronicles his duties in both positions. One of the major problems that Moynihan dealt with was the introduction of a resolution in 1975 that declared Zionism to be a form of racism, which he adamantly opposed. Among the most significant and frequent correspondents in this series are Patrick J. Buchanan, McGeorge Bundy, George Bush, Arthur J. Goldberg, Henry Kissinger, Arthur Meier Schlesinger (1917-2007), and Theodore Harold White.

Another opportunity for diplomatic service occurred when Moynihan was appointed ambassador to India from 1973 to 1975. The India File consists of four subseries: Correspondence, Chronological File, Subject File, and Speeches and Writings File. The subseries that provides the most detailed account of Moynihan's duties while stationed in India is the Chronological File, consisting of diary notes, memoranda of conversations, speeches, wire service reports, and printed matter. Moynihan undoubtedly planned to use this file as a reference source for a book. Particularly interesting are his notes and address to the embassy staff on August 9, 1974 after Nixon's resignation from the presidency.

Papers in the Political File chronicle Moynihan's association with various local and national political campaigns, including his own unsuccessful campaign for city council president of New York City in 1965 and his successful campaign for the United States Senate in 1976. The majority of the items pertain to his senate campaign and to the Democratic Party in New York and at the national level.

The Writings file of Part I relates chiefly to books written and researched by Moynihan for his own personal interest and not as a function of any of his jobs. Because he worked on many of these books over an extended period of time, Moynihan created a writings file separate from his other papers. The most voluminous file in the series relates to Moynihan's unpublished work, “Towards Equality as a Fact and as a Result: The Dilemma of Negro Family Structure.” Moynihan became interested in this topic after writing his report on the black family at the Department of Labor. He worked on the project for several years after leaving the Labor Department but eventually abandoned the idea of publishing it. The bulk of the items are research materials for the book.

Lillian Smith

Lillian Smith. Photo by C. M. Stieglitz. New York World Telegram & Sun Collection. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-109699

The Miscellany series pertains chiefly to the various boards and commissions of which Moynihan was a member — the Commission on Critical Choices for Americans, Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, President's Science Advisory Commission, and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. A large part of the series highlights Moynihan's tenure at the Center for Advanced Studies at Wesleyan University. Two correspondents worthy of special mention in the Wesleyan files are Pearl S. Buck and Lillian Smith. In addition, a few items pertain to Moynihan's military career and his student days in London.

Among the other significant and frequent of Moynihan's correspondents in Part I are:

Spiro T. Agnew, Paul E. Barton, Daniel Bell, Jonathan B. Bingham, Margaret Bright, Kenneth Bancroft Clark, Kenneth Cole, James Samuel Coleman, Robert Coles, Ralph Ellison, Chester E. Finn, John Kenneth Galbraith, Indira Gandhi, Herbert J. Gans, Leonard Garment, Nathan Glazer, William Haddon, W. Averell Harriman, Hubert H. Humphrey, Irving Kristol, Harry C. McPherson, Clarence M. Mitchell, Frederick Mosteller, Gunnar Myrdal, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, J. H. Plumb, Norman Podhoretz, Lee Rainwater, Sidney Dillon Ripley, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Bayard Rustin, James Q. Wilson, W. Willard Wirtz, and Ronald Ziegler.

The Addition to Part I spans the years 1947-1977 and includes correspondence, memoranda, subject files, speeches and writings, reports, and printed matter, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the years 1956-1975. The New York State file, comprising almost one-third of the Addition, relates primarily to Moynihan’s work as secretary to the Public Affairs Committee of the New York State Democratic Party and his research as director of the New York State Government Research Project at Syracuse University. Also represented are files documenting Moynihan’s government positions as an assistant to the secretary of labor, assistant for urban affairs, counselor, and cabinet member in the Richard M. Nixon administration, and as member and permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations, ambassador to India, and his tenure as a professor at Harvard University.

Part II

Part II comprises the largest portion of the Moynihan Papers and documents Moynihan’s twenty-four years as United States senator from New York. Spanning the period 1765-2000, most of the material in Part II is concentrated between the years 1977-2000.

The official records of the various U.S. Senate committees on which Moynihan served are held by the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.

Part II is organized in eleven series:

Personal Office File
   Political File
   Scheduling File
   Subject File
   Telephone Logs

Legislative File
   Dear Colleague Letters
   Legislative Director File
   Legislative Record
   Subject File

Constituent Services
   Administrative Assistant and Chief of Staff File
   Grants and Projects, New York State
   Issue Mail
   Library of Form Replies
   Mail and Telephone Reports
   State Offices

   Card File Index
   Constituent Mailings
   Press Releases
   Press Secretary File
   Subject File
   Television and Radio File

Speeches and Writing File
   Reference File
   Speech File

   Microfilm Set A
     Central File
     Indexes and Abstracts of Documents
     Mailing Lists
   Microfilm Set B
   Microfilm Set C

Computer File
Restricted Committee File
Top Secret

The Personal Office File in Part II documents Moynihan’s activities and interests as an elected official and consists of five subseries: Correspondence, Political File, Scheduling File, Subject File, and Telephone Logs.

The Correspondence subseries contains mainly outgoing letters organized in five categories: environment, public works, and transportation issues; general correspondence; memoranda of conversations and memoranda to files; reading file; and staff memoranda. The subseries pertains chiefly to issues in which Moynihan was particularly interested, including topics such as the West Valley Demonstration Project, Love Canal Chemical Waste Landfill, Foley Square and Pennsylvania Station in New York City, federal courthouse construction, and various highway projects. A listing of correspondents and topics is located in the first folder. The general correspondence includes letters to members of Congress, presidents of the United States, cabinet officials, family, friends and acquaintances, and members of the press, reflecting Moynihan’s personal and professional interests. Moynihan’s memoranda of conversations, handwritten and typed, document the senator’s meetings and conversations mainly with United States presidents and other government officials. The reading file, comprised of outgoing letters from Moynihan and his higher-level staff, provides insight into the early years of the Moynihan office. The staff memoranda consists of memoranda sent to the senator by his senate staff. Staff memoranda are also filed throughout other series in Part II.

The Political File subseries of the Personal Office File primarily chronicles Moynihan’s three re-election campaigns for the Senate, in 1982, 1988, and 1994. Also featured is material relating to national elections, the Democratic Party, and New York state politics. Additional files relating to Moynihan’s senate campaigns are located in Part IV. The Scheduling File provides insights into the senator’s daily activities and documents his attendance at business and social engagements. The appointments and events files include detailed briefing material for the senator’s various trips, identifying major issues and problems of concern. The majority of the appointments and events document Moynihan’s trips to New York state.

The extensive Subject File subseries of the Personal Office File documents Moynihan’s interests on a wide variety of domestic and international issues. One of the largest groups of material relates to Fisc reports, Moynihan’s annual report on the impact of federal spending and tax collection of the states, particularly as it affected New York. Moynihan’s concern about budgetary matters is further reflected in files relating to his service on the National Economic Commission, a bipartisan commission created in 1987 to study the budget deficit and to recommend ways to reduce the deficit.

The issue of government secrecy is also well documented in the Subject File subseries of Part II. In January 1993, Moynihan introduced legislation to establish the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy and chaired the commission. The Subject File includes drafts and research material relating to the 1997 report and its appendix, “Secrecy: A Brief Account of the American Experience,” authored by Moynihan. The findings of the report inspired Moynihan to put forward legislation to reduce government secrecy; files on these efforts are located in the Legislative File series of Part II. Moynihan became further interested in secrecy issues while reviewing Edward Shils’s The Torment of Secrecy, which led him to expand the secrecy report into a book entitled Secrecy: The American Experience. Papers relating to the book are in the Speeches and Writings File of Part II and the Speeches and Writings File in Part IV.

Other domestic topics featured in the Subject File are Social Security, taxes, welfare, public buildings and architecture (the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Avenue and the building of the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in Washington D.C.), and Moynihan’s activities as a board member for the Smithsonian Institution and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. The subseries also reflects Moynihan’s interest in foreign affairs and international law, with files about Bosnia and Yugoslavia, Ireland, the Persian Gulf, the Persian Gulf War, the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), intelligence issues, and the aftermath of the Cold War.

The largest series in Part II, comprising over two-thousand boxes, is the Legislative File. This series is organized in five subseries: Counsels, Dear Colleague Letters, Legislative Director File, Legislative Record, and Subject File.

The Counsels file contains the papers of some of Moynihan’s principal advisers. Although the papers include some files of Elliott Abrams and Tim Russert, the bulk stem from Joseph H. Gale, who served as chief counsel and tax counsel to the senator, ca. 1989-1992, and who later worked for the Committee on Finance. Prominent subjects in Gale’s papers include banks and banking, the budget, the Internal Revenue Service, taxes and taxation, and the commonwealth status of Puerto Rico. Also in the Counsels file are items from Gale’s work as one of Moynihan’s legislative assistants. Additional legislative material relating to Gale is located in the Subject File subseries of the Legislative File, particularly in files on taxes and taxation.

The subseries of Dear Colleague Letters contains correspondence with senators soliciting support for their legislation and includes Moynihan’s letters requesting legislative assistance. Letters that Moynihan endorsed and a few letters in which it was unclear about his support were retained.

The Legislative Director File documents the activities of staff members who oversaw the work of the legislative assistants and legislative research assistants and who promoted the senator’s legislative agenda. The files are extensive for only a few directors: Gray Maxwell, Mark Patterson, and Andrew J. Samet, 1989-1999. Prominent issues represented are the budget, ammunition control, crime, education, Social Security, welfare, taxes, trade, transportation and the Supreme Court nominations of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas. In Andrew Samet’s papers are files relating to one of Moynihan’s seminal bills, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). Samet’s papers also include some of his files as a legislative assistant, and additional material from his work is in the trade and transportation files of the Subject File subseries of the Legislative File.

The Legislative Record subseries provides an overview of Moynihan’s legislative achievements, activities, and voting record. Included in the voting record are ratings of Moynihan by various interest groups.

The Subject File subseries of the Legislative File makes up over half of Part II of the Moynihan Papers and chronicles his legislative interests as documented by legislative assistants, research assistants, and fellows. The files are broadly topical and were arranged according to terms and categories from legislative issue lists and form replies used by Moynihan’s office.

The education file in the Subject File subseries documents Moynihan’s efforts to extend federal aid to economically disadvantaged pupils in preschool to postgraduate programs. It demonstrates his legislative attempts to fund mandates for school desegregation and to promote magnet schools. Although not an advocate of “school prayer,” a legislative issue during the Ronald Reagan administration, Moynihan was particularly interested in supporting Catholic schools to assist in their commitment to educating economically disadvantaged urban youths and their success with racial integration. The papers also treat his advocacy of tuition tax credits and his support for higher education when federal funding was reduced during Reagan’s administration.

The environment is also a main topic in the Subject File subseries of the Legislative File. Moynihan served on the Committee on Environment and Public Works from 1977 to 2000 and on its various subcommittees throughout his tenure in the Senate. Prominent environmental topics include air pollution; parks, public lands, and conservation areas; waste management; and water pollution. The bulk of the files on air pollution document Moynihan’s legislative activities to curb acid rain and to improve air quality by stricter emission regulations for motor vehicles and utility power plants. Files in the parks, public lands, and conservation areas pertain chiefly to New York state; the most extensive files relate to Ellis Island National Monument Park, Fire Island National Seashore, Governor’s Island, and the Women’s Rights National Historical Park.

Moynihan’s legislative endeavors were also instrumental in the cleanup of hazardous and nuclear wastes in New York. The majority of the waste management files relate to Moynihan’s support for Superfund, the commonly used name for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), established to clean up the chemical wastes dumped in Love Canal in Niagara Falls. There is a significant amount of material relating to Love Canal as well as additional material interfiled with various Superfund legislation. The Superfund files of the 99th Congress chronicle Moynihan’s role in the reauthorization of the fund, which greatly expanded the original program and contained a number of provisions beneficial to New York. The waste management files also include material pertaining to the West Valley Demonstration Project, legislation introduced by Moynihan in 1980 authorizing the Department of Energy to remove some 600,000 gallons of high-level, liquid radioactive waste from a commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing facility. Other environmental files pertain to water pollution, including the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Hudson River, and the cleanup of Onondaga Lake.

Files on foreign affairs constitute another large section in the Subject File subseries. Although Moynihan did not become a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations until 1987, he was active in foreign relations from his first years in the Senate. The arms control files document his opposition to Jimmy Carter’s nomination of Paul Warnke as arms control negotiator and his opposition to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II) treaty. Other prominent topics include the USSR, international law, and the Middle East. The Europe files contain a vast amount of material pertaining to the United States’ relationship with the USSR, Russia, and other countries that comprised the former Soviet Union. The papers reflect Moynihan’s advocacy of international law and his opposition to foreign policy initiatives such as the invasion of Grenada in 1983, the mining of harbors in Nicaragua in 1984, the invasion of Panama in 1989, and the involvement of the United States in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. The Middle East files reflect the tensions of the region during Moynihan’s four senate terms, including the controversy over the relocation of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the issue of Zionism as a form of racism, arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and American relations with Iran and Iraq.

Moynihan’s interest in architecture and public buildings is well documented in the public works files. Three major categories are buildings and grounds, historic preservation, and water resources. Significant files in the buildings and grounds material include the Brooklyn courthouse, Foley Square, and Pennsylvania Station in New York, and Federal Triangle, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in Washington, D.C. Historic preservation topics featured are the Darwin D. Martin House and the Guaranty (Prudential) Building in Buffalo, and Union Station in Washington, D.C. Prominent files on water resources relate to the Great Lakes and the Water Resources Development Act. Material relating to highways and bridges, however, is contained in files on transportation.

The transportation files mainly reflect Moynihan’s efforts to obtain funding for New York highways I-86, Southern Tier Expressway; I-90, Miller Highway and New York Thruway; and I-478, the Westway; and for Peace Bridge in Buffalo, Schoharie Bridge in Amsterdam, and Hell Gate Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge in New York City. The Transportation file also contains material pertaining to Moynihan’s Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 and its reauthorization from 1997 through 1998. The 1991 bill changed federal transportation policy to include more funding for nonhighway related projects. Other files treat mass transit, high-speed ground transportation, and railroads

Social Security files in the Subject File subseries of the Legislative File series reflect Moynihan’s efforts to maintain the solvency of the program and include material relating to the Social Security Amendments Act of 1983. Moynihan was the chief Democratic sponsor of this legislation, which guaranteed the viability of Social Security into the twenty-first century. Also documented is Moynihan’s Social Security Tax Cut Act of 1991. The welfare and family services file in the subseries contains a significant amount of material pertaining to Moynihan’s Family Support Act of 1988 (FSA), reform legislation meant to change Aid to Families with Dependent Children from an income security program to a work assistance program. There are only a few folders relating to President Bill Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform proposal, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which Moynihan strongly opposed.

Moynihan was a member of the Committee on Finance throughout his senate career and was chair of the committee from 1993 through 1994. Much of the legislation for Social Security, taxes, and welfare was drafted by staff members of the Committee on Finance. As a result the Moynihan Papers do not provide comprehensive documentation for those issues. The committee records are held by the National Archives and Records Administration. Additional topics of prominence in the Subject File series, however, include the impeachment of Bill Clinton, ammunition control, drug abuse, AIDS, government secrecy, the nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

The Constituent Services series in Part II reflects the administrative functions and constituent service activities of the office. This series is comprised of the Administrative Assistant and Chief of Staff File, Grants and Projects, Issue Mail, Library of Form Replies, Mail and Telephone Reports, and State Offices subseries. In the Moynihan office, the administrative assistant or chief of staff (the title varied over the years) supervised the overall functioning of the office and acted as a close adviser to the senator on political and legislative issues. The most comprehensive files are those of Tony Bullock, the last chief of staff for the office. Prominent topics featured are job appointments and recommendations, Onondaga Lake, Peace Bridge, and Pennsylvania Station. The Grants and Projects subseries contains requests from local governments, small businesses, private research groups, and nonprofit social service or community action organizations for information and assistance in obtaining federal funds and grants. The State Office files are comprised of the files of the senator’s Buffalo and New York City offices. The Buffalo files mainly reflect Moynihan’s interest in historic preservation and environmental issues. Significant topics in the New York City files are Foley Square, Governor’s Island, Pennsylvania Station, Jewish issues, and various transportation issues.

The Press series in Part II documents media activities within the Moynihan office. The series is divided into eight subseries: Card File Index, Clippings, Constituent Mailings, Newsletters, Press Releases, Press Secretary File, Subject File, and Television and Radio File.

The Card File Index provides a partial chronological and subject index to newsletters, press releases, articles, speeches and statements, and Congressional Record remarks. It includes material prior to Moynihan’s senate career beginning in 1959 and contains no entries after 1994.

The Clippings file contains state newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and a few television and radio transcripts. Most of the national newspaper clippings were removed and discarded by Moynihan’s staff.

Items in the Newsletters chronicle Moynihan’s active role in that publication. He used his newsletter as a tool to communicate with New Yorkers on state issues such as the West Valley Demonstration Project and international issues such as the Persian Gulf War.

Press releases were used to discuss Moynihan’s legislative positions or initiatives, to announce the awarding of grants, publicize major accomplishments, and to communicate his criticism or comments about presidential policies and major issues of the day. Press releases include statements, speeches, and printed Congressional Record statements. Drafts of floor statements are filed in the Speeches and Writings File of Part II.

The Subject File in the Press series contains background information, briefing books, press releases, newsletters, interviews, and information about press briefing and meetings.

The Television and Radio File consists of briefing material, clippings, and transcripts documenting the senator’s television and radio appearances.

The Speeches and Writings File series in Part II documents Moynihan’s activities as a prolific speaker and writer. Upon Moynihan’s death in 2003, several press accounts described him as a “man of ideas.” Many of the senator’s speeches made such an impact that they were modified and expanded to become articles or books, including Family and Nation, Godkin lectures, 1985, and Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics, Cyril Foster lecture, 1991. Topics in the speeches and articles include the budget, education, international law, foreign policy, human rights, taxes, government secrecy, and welfare and family issues. In a Newsweek article of November 19, 1979, “Will Russia Blow Up?” Moynihan predicted the demise of the USSR because of its economic difficulties and ethnic conflicts. Preceding the speech file and articles file are partial lists of the senator’s speeches and articles. Some of the most voluminous material in the series relates to his books, Family and Nation, Pandaemonium, On the Law of Nations, and Secrecy: The American Experience. The majority of these book files consist of research material compiled by Moynihan’s staff at his request.

The Microfilm Set A series in Part II is arranged in three subseries: Central File, Indexes and Abstracts to Documents, and Mailing Lists.

The Central File, arranged by document number, is a microfilm copy primarily of correspondence and staff memoranda that went personally to Moynihan. This correspondence chiefly consists of letters from government officials, entertainers, friends, family, and acquaintances.

The Indexes and Abstracts to Documents mainly contain abstracts of constituent mail, but interspersed within the abstracts are yearly indexes to the Central File. A list of the reel numbers containing the indexes precedes the description and listing of the microfilm series in the container list. When looking for a particular item by date, it is sometimes necessary to check the indexes and abstracts of the next year.

The Microfilm Set B series supplements other reels in the Indexes and Abstracts to Documents subseries.

The Microfilm Set C series supplements other reels in the Mailing Lists subseries.

Part III

Part III of the Moynihan Papers, chronicling his activities after he left the Senate in 2000, spans the years 1790-2003, with the majority concentrated in the period 2001-2003. It pertains chiefly to when Moynihan was a senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., but relates also to his service as a member of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security.

As cochairman of the bipartisan commission, Moynihan focused on voluntary individual investment accounts similar to the Thrift Savings Plan enacted by Congress in 1986 to provide retirement income for federal employees who make contributions to a government-operated mutual fund. Moynihan’s views and activities regarding Social Security reform are documented in correspondence, briefing books, research files, press accounts, hearing records, and the commission’s interim and final report. The Social Security reform debate was overshadowed by the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and Moynihan did not return to the topic for the remainder of his lifetime.

The papers in Part III provide insight into Moynihan’s personal experience of the attacks as a resident of Washington, D.C., and his reactions and assessments as an American statesman and political leader from New York. The correspondence contains printed e-mails from his secretary, Vicki Dodson, and other items related to the aftermath of the attack. The scheduling file for appointments and events provides information on Moynihan’s response to the attacks, as do documents in a subject file on the Institute for American Values and in the speeches and writings file. Material on the Institute for American Values chronicles Moynihan’s participation with other public intellectuals in framing an argument to support the war against terrorism.

In 2000, Moynihan was awarded a prize in architecture from the University of Virginia, recognizing the forty years he devoted to urban development in Washington, D.C. The senator prepared a lecture on the history of Pennsylvania Avenue for the event and afterwards began to develop ideas for a book. The book file in the speeches and writings file includes drafts of the lecture and extensive background material.

Part IV

Part IV of the Moynihan Papers, 1839-2000, supplements Parts I and II and is divided into:

Pre-Senate File
and from the Senate period:
Personal Office File
Constituent Services
Central File
Speeches and Writings File

The majority of the Pre-Senate File consists of scheduling books ranging from 1963 to 1976.

The bulk of the Personal Office File relates to Moynihan’s personal finances and his political campaign finances. Included in the subject files of the Personal Office File are family papers.

The Constituent Services file consists of the papers of administrative assistants dating primarily from 1991 through 1998.

The Central File contains correspondence, including attachments, from congressional colleagues, government officials, family, friends, entertainers, and acquaintances. The early years include Moynihan’s outgoing response, while later years contain only the incoming letters. This file was reduced extensively by Moynihan’s staff. Most of the letters available in Part IV are included in the microfilm of the Central File microfilm in Part II, although not all of these letters were filmed. Papers in the Central File of Part IV were arranged chronologically by Library of Congress staff. The Central File also includes some of the senator’s speeches and writings and a few memoranda from staff members.

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  October 14, 2010
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