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Paul R. Sweet Papers


Held at: Princeton University Library: Public Policy Papers [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Public Policy Papers. 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


Paul Robinson Sweet (1907-2003) was born in 1907 in Willow Grove, PA. His family moved to Greencastle, IN in 1913. Sweet continued to reside in Indiana until he graduated from DePauw University in 1929, after which time he studied as a rector fellow at universities in Goettingen and Munich. Sweet initially enrolled as a graduate student in the history department at the University of Chicago, but would eventually receive his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1934. His thesis was later published as the book Friedrich Von Gentz, Defender of the Old Order (1941). Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Sweet taught European history at Bates College, Birmingham-Southern College, Colby College, and the University of Chicago.

From 1943-1945, Sweet was a political intelligence officer for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in the Research and Analysis (R and A) branch. Sweet served with the OSS in London, Salzburg, Paris, Italy, and Washington, D.C. For much of Sweet's service with the OSS, he worked on intelligence concerning Austria, at one point serving as the head of the R and A's Central European section in London. Sweet also worked for the Psychological Warfare Branch of the Twelfth Army Group, where his main duty was to create a series of political intelligence reports based on interviews with German civilians.

From 1952-1958, Sweet worked for the U.S. State Department as editor-in-chief on the 19-volume Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945, a historical editing project sponsored jointly by the British and French governments. From February 1959-November 1963, he served at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn, and from 1963-1967 he was U.S. Consul General in Stuttgart. From 1968 until at least 1974, he taught history at Michigan State University. Sweet's other publications include The Tragedy of Austria (1948) and Wilhelm von Humboldt: a Biography, 1767-1808 (1978).

Sweet died on November 5, 2003 in Philadelphia at the age of 96.

The majority of the collection relates to Paul R. Sweet's professional life, especially his service in the Research and Analysis (R and A) branch of the OSS during World War II. News clippings on Sweet's work, typescripts of his diaries, correspondence, declassified personnel files, and official reports and drafts Sweet authored or co-wrote for the OSS provide insights into the specifics of Sweet's work and the work of his colleagues. These documents also speak more broadly to the attitudes of the German population during the war. Many of the materials related to Sweet's OSS service are annotated with Sweet's commentary on the documents, written sometime after the war. Sweet's application for federal employment is also included.

To a lesser extent, the collection contains correspondence and Sweet's typewritten memoir from his tenure serving as U.S. Consul General in Stuttgart in the 1960s, as well as interviews he gave on his teaching career. Correspondence between Sweet and numerous friends and colleagues from the late 1970s-1990s is also included. Most of the correspondence pertains to Sweet's work as a historian and to German philosophy and history more generally, though Sweet's correspondence with several authors and historians details Sweet's service in the OSS.

The collection also contains materials that document Sweet's relationships with his family. These materials include correspondence from Paul R. Sweet to his brother and sister-in-law, JoAnne and William W. Sweet, Jr., and correspondence from historian William W. Sweet, son of Paul R. and Kathryn Sweet, to his parents and his sister and brother-in-law, Sarah and Gerald Rosen. In these letters, Paul and William Sweet comment on U.S. and world politics in the 1970s-1990s and give accounts of their personal lives. There are also a small number of photographs of the Sweets and their various homes.

The order in which these materials came to Princeton has been maintained.

This collection was donated by Gerald Rosen, Paul R. Sweet's son-in-law, in 2014. The accession number associated with this donation is ML.2014.016.

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.

This collection was processed by Rachel Van Unen in 2014 at the time of accessioning. Some materials were placed into archival housing and all materials were described in a collection-level finding aid.

Materials related to the genealogy of the Sweet family were separated from the collection.

Public Policy Papers
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

This 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. For instances beyond Fair Use, any copyright vested in the donor has passed to The Trustees of Princeton University and researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of donor-created materials within the collection. For materials in the collection not created by the donor, or where the material is not an original, the copyright is likely not held by the University. In these instances, 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. 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 a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting us through the Ask Us! form.

Collection Inventory

Paul R. Sweet Papers, 1944-1999. 2 boxes.
Physical Description

2 boxes

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