Scope and arrangement
The Ralph Bunche letters contain correspondence between Bunche and Conyers Read, a friend and organizer of the British Empire division in the Research and Analysis branch of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Read hired Bunche in 1941 as a principal social scientist analyst in charge of Africa and other colonial areas.
The 1959 letters relate to an attack made on Bunche by Nathan Pusey, then president of Harvard University, and Archibald Roosevelt (a grandson of Theodore Roosevelt). Apparently Bunche had been nominated to a position of "overseer" of Harvard, and Pusey and Roosevelt were campaigning against him. The offending letter had been sent to Read, as a Harvard alumnus, who in turn wrote letters in defense of Bunche to both men and sent Bunche copies. A letter Read wrote to Pusey is included in the collection.
Two additional letters, 1961 and 1963, concern invitations extended to Bunche by Polly Middleton, Read's stepdaughter.