Scope and arrangement
The Ralph Bunche Papers document Bunche's personal life and professional career, from his enrollment at the University of California to his retirement in 1971. They have been divided into the following series: FAMILY PAPERS, comprising personal and biographical materials on Ralph and Ruth Bunche; CORRESPONDENCE, both family and general; ADDRESSES, ARTICLES AND ESSAYS; the HOWARD UNIVERSITY files, comprising administrative and academic materials; the SOUTH AFRICA RESEARCH TRIP in 1937; writings and research materials for the CARNEGIE-MYRDAL STUDY; working papers, mimeographed reports and printed matter relating to the United Nations' TRUSTEESHIP COUNCIL; AWARDS, MEMBERSHIPS AND TRIBUTES; SCRAPBOOKS; PRINTED MATTER AND CLIPPINGS.
The Ralph Bunche papers are arranged in ten series:
FAMILY PAPERS (1922-1988) comprise personal papers of Ralph and Ruth Harris Bunche. The Ralph Bunchesubseries includes educational, medical and financial papers, passports, personal and family documents. The Ruth Harris Bunchesubseries consists of general and professional correspondence, speeches and miscellaneous writings, certificates and awards, scrapbooks and printed matter. The correspondence reflects her contributions to various benefits, charities and social activities, sponsored in many cases by wives of influential men such as David Rockefeller, Walter White, Vladimir Horowitz, Count Bernadotte and Roy Wilkins. Other noted correspondents include Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, Eubie Blake, Marian Anderson, Edward Koch, Irving Berlin, Jeane Kirkpatrick and George Bush. Mrs. Bunche served as a New York State delegate to the White House Conference on Education in 1955. She participated, along with her husband, in the March on Washington in 1963.
The CORRESPONDENCEseries (1929-1971) is divided into Familyand General Correspondence
ADDRESSES, ARTICLES AND ESSAYS(1928-1969) are divided into two subseries: Conferences and Academic Writingsand Addresses and Articles.
The SOUTH AFRICA RESEARCH TRIPseries (1937) consists of letters of recommendation, correspondence with the United States Department of State, South African officials and the Rosenwald Fund, in addition to field notes, legal documents and printed matter.
HOWARD UNIVERSITY (1928-1941).Divided into correspondence and office files and arranged alphabetically, materials in this series reflect the scope of Bunche's activities during his tenure at this institution. Included are class syllabi, students' examinations and grades, lecture notes, reports and printed matter. Correspondents include Saul Bellow, Rupert Emerson, Melville Herskovits, Benjamin Azikiwe, and many of his colleagues at Howard: E.P. Davis, Emmett Dorsey, Mordecai Johnson, Charles H. Wesley, Frederick Wilkinson and Eric Williams.
CARNEGIE-MYRDAL STUDY.This series consists of correspondence, draft manuscripts and typescripts of memoranda written by Bunche, as well as interviews, reports and field notes prepared by Bunche, Myrdal and a staff of assistants and collaborators. This material is arranged into four subseries: research and administrative correspondence and memoranda, arranged alphabetically and chronologically; research memoranda prepared by Bunche; reports, field notes and research materials filed by the name of their creators; reports, field notes and research materials filed by city, by county or by state; and printed matter. The memorandum on “Negro Leadership” is incomplete, while separate files exist for each chapter of the lengthy “Programs, Ideologies, Tactics and Achievements of Negro Betterment and Interracial Organizations,” along with questionnaires and questionnaire analyses prepared for the study. Principal contributors to this series, in addition to Bunche and Myrdal, include George Stoney, Whilhelmina Jackson and James Jackson. Major surveys were conducted in St. Louis and Kansas City (Missouri); Jackson, Vicksburg and Natchez county (Mississippi); Birmingham, Huntsville, Godsen and Tuskegee
(Alabama); Chattanooga, Tuscalooga and Nashville (Tennessee); Cleveland and Dayton (Ohio); Augusta, Atlanta, Savannah and Putnam County (Georgia); Charleston, the Sea Islands, Columbia, Winston-Salem and Greensville (South Carolina); Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami (Florida); and in Little Rock, Chicago, Minneapolis and Oklahoma City. Materials collected include voting charts, annotated city maps indicating segregated boundaries, campaign literature, newsletters and pamphlets.
TRUSTEESHIP COUNCIL (1946-1950).Working papers and mimeographed reports of the Trusteeship Council (1946-1950). Committee Four of the General Assembly (the Trusteeship Council) appointed a Sub-Committee of seventeen members, in 1946, to examine and make recommendations to the Fourth Committee on trusteeship agreements proposed for the mandated territories by the corresponding colonial governments. Working papers leading to the formation of the Sub-Committee, proceedings of its 26 meetings, the proposed agreements, in addition to amendments and modifications, statements and resolutions from the various delegations, are included in the files of the Sub-Committee. A major part of this series consists of the complete verbatim records of the 81 meetings of the Trusteeship Council at its sixth session in 1950. Also included are petitions from civic and political associations in the mandated territories challenging colonial rule on such issues as forced labor, abuse of authority and trade-union restrictions.
AWARDS, MEMBERSHIP AND TRIBUTES (1927-1984).This series consists of correspondence, certificates, programs, invitations and souvenir journals of luncheons, testimonial dinners and banquets held in Bunche's honor, in addition to documents relating to various memorial tributes and commemorative events following his death. The latter category includes the Ralph Bunche Memorial at the United Nations, the Ralph Bunche Institute of the United Nations at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, the Ralph Bunche School, the Peace Form One Memorial Project, the Ralph Bunche Memorial at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, and the “Peace to One” musical tribute by Oscar Brown, Jr. Also included are a letter from President Lyndon Johnson to Bunche awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, and a letter from U.N. Secretary General U. Thant to Mrs. Bunche awarding a posthumous Peace Medal to her husband in 1972.
SCRAPBOOKS (1930-1972):the Howard University Scrapbookwhich consists of memorabilia and press clippings, 1930-1939; Ruth Bunche's Art Student Scrapbook,1934-1935; the “Voices of American Liberty” Scrapbookpresented to Ralph Bunche at Lord and Taylor's Nineteenth Annual Luncheon on March 18, 1956; the Ralph Bunche Hall Scrapbookat the University of California at Los Angeles; the Jane Bunche Pierce Memorial Scrapbook(1966) consisting of condolence letters, telegrams and sympathy cards, following her death in 1966 (3 volumes); the Ralph Bunche Memorial Scrapbook(1971 - 1972) and the “Peace Form One” Scrapbook(1980) marking the dedication ceremony of the Ralph Bunche Memorial Monument near the United Nations. The Ralph Bunche Memorial Scrapbookconsists of seven separate volumes. The first five volumes contains telegrams, sympathy cards and letters of condolence, with attachments, arranged alphabetically. Volume 6 includes obituaries, memorial tributes, registers and printed matter. Volume 7 consists of condolence letters with attachments received by U.N. General Secretary U. Thant, with carbon copies of his replies.
PRINTED MATTER AND CLIPPINGS (1931 - 1971)relates primarily to Ralph Bunche, his family life and his career at the United Nations.