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Phillips Talbot papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0090

Scope and Content

The collection (1938-1968, undated) contains material related to Phillips Talbot's work with the Institute of Current World Affairs as well as information on the American Universities Field Staff. The collection also contains news clippings, including biographical information about Talbot, and photographs from Talbot's time in India (1940).

Materials related to the ICWA include copies and extracts from letters written by Talbot to ICWA Director Walter S. Rogers about his studies and travels in India, as well as in London and Afghanistan. Also included are letters written to Rogers by ICWA fellows Tom L. Blakemore and Richard Morse from England, Greece, India, and Japan. The collection also includes correspondence from Talbot to his cousin, Iowa State College (University) Professor Herbert J. Gilkey, as well as correspondence between Gilkey and Walter S. Rogers concerning Gilkey's request to receive copies of Talbot's letters to Rogers.

Information related to the American Universities Field Staff includes printed pamphlets and reports, including Talbot's annual reports as executive director and a 1961 report written by Talbot about India.


  • Creation: 1938-1968, undated


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Phillips Talbot was born to Kenneth Hammet and Gertrude (Phillips) Talbot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 7 June 1915. He received a BS (1936) in journalism from University of Illinois and a PhD (1954) from University of Chicago. He also has received honorary doctorates from Mills College (1963) and Elmhurst College (2007).

He worked as a reporter (1936-1938) for the Chicago Daily News prior to being selected as a fellow (1938-1941 and 1946-1951) with the Institute of Current World Affairs (ICWA). The Institute was established in 1925 by Charles R. Crane in order to "improve the exchange of information between the United States and other parts of the world." As part of his fellowship, Talbot studied at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (1938-1939) and at Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India. He also traveled around India studying the country and culture. After serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant Commander (1941-1946) during World War II, he returned to India for a second fellowship with the ICWA.

Talbot taught at University of Chicago (1948-1950) and at Columbia University (1951). He then became the executive director (1951-1961) of the American Universities Field Staff (AUFS). The AUFS grew out of the activities of the ICWA, and was established in 1951 by a group of seven colleges and universities as a professional agency through which correspondents would send regular reports about foreign areas and would also regularly visit the colleges and universities to lecture, take part in seminars, and meet with faculty and students.

Talbot served as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (1961-1965), prior to being named the U.S. Ambassador to Greece (1965-1969). He was President (1970-1981) of Asia Society, an organization that was established to promote greater knowledge of Asia in the United States, and he is now a President Emeritus (1981-present) of the society.

He married Mildred Fisher in 1943, and they had three children. Phillips Talbot lives in New York City.


0.63 Linear Feet (1 document box and 1 half-document box)

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

MS-0090. Phillips Talbot papers, 1938-1968, undated
January 11, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672