Main content

Don Oberdorfer Papers on Princeton University: The First 250 Years


Held at: Princeton University Library: University Archives [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: University Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections


Don Oberdorfer was born 1931 in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Princeton University in 1952 and served as a U.S. Army lieutenant in Korea, 1953-1954. In 1955 he began his journalistic career as a reporter for the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, becoming the paper's Washington correspondent in 1958. From 1961-1965, he was a Washington editor and contributing editor of the Saturday Evening Post magazine. From 1965-1968, he was national affairs correspondent for the Knight Newspapers chain, covering the Vietnam War both at home and abroad. During the next 25 years, he worked for the Washington Post, serving as White House correspondent (1968-1972), Northeast Asia correspondent based in Tokyo (1972-1975), and diplomatic correspondent (1976-1993).

Oberdorfer won the National Press Club's Edwin M. Hood Award for diplomatic correspondence in 1981 and 1988, and Georgetown University's Edward Weintal prize for diplomatic reporting in 1982 and 1993. From 1994-1996, he was president of Overseas Writers, a professional organization of American and foreign journalists who focus on U.S. diplomacy in Washington. Oberdorfer was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society, and served as chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Washington Center of the Asia Society from 1986-1989.

In addition to The Turn, Oberdorfer is the author of Tet! (Doubleday, 1971; Da Capo Press, 1984), The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History (Perseus Books, 1997), the D.B. Hardeman Prize-winning Senator Mansfield: The Extraordinary Life of a Great American Statesman and Diplomat (Smithsonian Books, 2003), and numerous magazine articles.

Oberdorfer was a visiting professor at Princeton University in 1977, 1982, and 1986. In 1995, to commemorate Princeton's bicentennial, he authored an illustrated history of the university titled Princeton University: The First 250 Years.

Oberdorfer served as a resident scholar with the titles of Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Adjunct Professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University's Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He was named Chairman of the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS in September 2006 and became Chairman Emeritus in July 2013.

He was married to the former Laura Klein, and they had two children, Dan and Karen. Don Oberdorfer passed away on July 23, 2015.

Consists of notes and photocopies of articles used as research materials for Princeton University: The First 250 Years (1995). Included in the collection is a transcript of an interview with former president William G. Bowen, and a 1994 administrative and academic self-study of the University.

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

No processing information is available.

University Archives
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For instances beyond Fair Use, if copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of materials from the Princeton University Archives.

For instances beyond Fair Use where the copyright is not held by the University, while permission from the Library is not required, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Collection Inventory

Don Oberdorfer Papers on Princeton University: The First 250 Years, 1994-1995. 1 box.
Physical Description

1 box

Print, Suggest