By Abigail Malangone, Archivist
We are pleased to announce the opening of an additional 30 cubic feet of material in the Theodore C. Sorensen Personal Papers collection, joining the 80 cubic feet of Sorensen’s records that were already available for research. This collection is now processed in full and open for research in its entirety.
The newly-opened materials consist of letters, speeches, memoranda, drafts, articles, notes, publications, news clippings, and e-mail created or collected by Sorensen during the course of his professional career. While this material contains some documentation of his early days, as well as his time spent as a member of John F. Kennedy’s Senate office and Presidential administration, the bulk of the material centers on his work in the private sector. Following his time in Washington, D.C., Sorensen wrote books and articles, and made speaking appearances at home and abroad. Throughout his life, he remained involved in politics at both the national and local level. While the majority of his efforts were in support of candidates for elected office, he occasionally found himself in the spotlight — running for a Senate seat in 1970 and being nominated to head the CIA in 1977. He remained interested in world politics, as well, often meeting with various world leaders.
Archivists have organized the newly-open materials into six new series: Correspondence Files, 1964-2010; Writings, Interviews, and Appearances Files, 1960-2010; Political Files, 1965-2010; Files Related to John F. Kennedy, 1956-2010; Calendars, 1961-2010; and Personal Files, 1938-2010. The existing finding aid for the Sorensen Personal Papers will soon be updated to reflect this information; meanwhile, a supplement to the main finding aid, which contains an overview and container lists for the new series, can be downloaded below.
Researchers will find that there is considerable duplication within these series, as well as with previously-opened material in this collection; however, there is some new material to explore. The bulk of material in the Correspondence Files series was created and maintained during Sorensen’s tenure at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison. It provides a comprehensive look at Sorensen’s activities from the late 1960s until his death in 2010 and should prove to be a valuable reference point for researchers. In addition, the Calendars series contains a run of appointment books and calendars from 1961 to 2010, containing a record of Sorensen’s personal and professional activities over the years. The most voluminous series in this opening pertains to Sorensen’s writings, interviews, and appearances. This series broadly captures much of Sorensen’s post-White House writings, including materials related to the publication of his memoir, Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History.
An important thread throughout these files is Sorensen’s dedication to the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. One example of this dedication is documented in files related to his involvement with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum — serving on the Library’s screening committee, providing input on exhibit designs, and participating in forums and events over several decades. Sorensen also took in an interest in how John F. Kennedy and his Presidency were portrayed, providing his opinion and input on various tribute projects, books, movies, and television shows.
All are welcome to research these materials; learn more about planning a visit here or by contacting Reference staff at Kennedy.Library@nara.gov.