David A. Morse Papers, 1895-2003 1942-1990

Morse, David A. (David Abner), 1907-1990 [Browse]
  • 124 boxes
  • 1 folder
  • 1 item


Associated name
Getty AAT genre
1895-2003 1942-1990
Restrictions note
Collection is open for research use.
Summary note
  • The David A. Morse Papers document the life and times of David Abner Morse (1907-1990), American lawyer, soldier, and public official. While he distinguished himself in legal, military, and governmental circles, the most fruitful years of his life were spent at the helm of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the oldest member of the United Nations' family of specialized agencies. As Director-General of the International Labour Office in Geneva from 1948 to 1970, Morse guided the increasingly complex activities of this tripartite organization, which unites in one body the representatives of workers, governments, and employers. No one has had a longer tenure as its head, and no one has presided over such far-reaching changes in its composition and orientation. Drawing on a variety of experiences in the field of domestic and international labor, including appointments as Assistant, Under, and Acting Secretary of Labor in the Truman administration, Morse gave practical meaning in a postwar context to the ILO's underlying philosophy, namely, that "universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice." The pursuit of this object won for the ILO the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969. The David Morse Papers contain correspondence, reports, memoranda, photographs, and newspaper clippings that document this long, productive career.
  • The Morse Papers consists of textual, microform, audiovisual, and photographic material. The preponderance, though by no means all, of this material relates to the ILO. While its focus is inevitably more personal than organizational, it reveals the varied facets of Morse's work and that of his staff, the delegates to the International Labour Conference, and the members of the Governing Body. Other phases of Morse's life are well-represented, too, including his years in the Army (1942-1945), the Department of Labor (1946-1948), and the United Nations Development Programme (1970-1972). Material of a private nature is also present, the most notable elements being a collection of wartime correspondence between Morse and his wife, Mildred, and a variety of mementos, such as photographs, newspaper clippings, and documents, from the couple's youth and family. While the Morse Papers are not without lacunae, particularly with regard to Morse's prewar career, they shed ample light on his activities, the concerns which animated them, and the relationships in which they were centered. Researchers can expect to encounter both the large and the small in Morse's life -- from his views on internationalism to his views on small-town New Jersey -- and, in the process, construct a rounded picture of an influential public figure in the last half of the twentieth century. Throughout his life, Morse met and corresponded with many individuals of national and international significance concerning labor issues. This collection contains correspondence or records of discussion with Dean Acheson, Leonid Brezhnev, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Dag Hammarskjold, Averell Harriman, Paul G. Hoffman, C. Wilfred Jenks, David Lilienthal, George Marshall, Leopold Senghor, and U Thant.
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