University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Robert Morss Lovett Papers 1876-1950

© 2001 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Lovett, Robert Morss. Papers




1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


The papers contain correspondence largely from the 1930s and 1940s, lectures, lecture notes, clippings, and printed documents. Correspondents include Sherwood Anderson, Bernard Berenson, Sinclair Lewis, Frances Perkins, Alice Hamilton, paul Douglas, Harold Ickes, and others. Topics include the 1933 Chicago garment workers' strike, Lovett's appointment as Government Secretary of the Virgin Islands, and the Congressional investigation involving Lovett.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is:

Lovett, Robert Morss. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

The activities of Robert Morss Lovett, from the last decade of the nineteenth century into the second half of the twentieth, constitute an important part of American cultural and political life during the period. Born in Boston and educated at Harvard, he was appointed in 1893 instructor in English at the University of Chicago. His range of acquaintances included many of the most important writers and teachers of his time: Herbert Croly, William Vaughn Moody, Robert Herrick, Jane Addams, Charles W. Eliot, William R. Harper, John M. Manly, Bernard Berenson, and other. In 1919, Lovett became editor of Dial magazine, and in 1921 he was made an associate editor of The New Republic, a position he held for twenty years. In 1936 he retired from active teaching at the University of Chicago, but continued to give lectures and courses elsewhere, including several terms at the University of Puerto Rico.

Always vitally interested in social problems, Dr. Lovett's sympathies led him to be associated with many leftist and liberal organizations. During the 1930s and 1940s, his affiliations made him the center of heated controversies in the press and in Congress. His appointment in 1939 to the post of Secretary to the Government of the Virgin Islands began a four year period in this political office which ended with his resignation, after attack by the Dies Committee. He had succeeded his friend Robert Herrick as Secretary. These followed the celebrated case of The United States versus Lovett, in which he was able to collect back salary owed him by the government but for which certain Congressmen had tried to stop payment.

Scope Note

The collection includes 353 letters mostly incoming correspondence; there are also newspaper clippings, lectures and lecture notes, articles, and some official printed documents.

Related Resources

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Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Typescript bibliography of the life and works of Lovett. Correspondence,

April 1876-June 1933. Includes letters from Joseph Trumbull Stickney, Lincoln Steffens, Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson. Also correspondence on Lovett's arrest in connection with the Chicago garment worker's strike, 1933

Box 1   Folder 2


May 1935-November 1939. 40 items. Includes letters from Bernard Berenson, Oswald Carrison Willard, Norman Thomas, Frances Perkins, George E. Vincent, and one letter to Mrs. Lovett from Alice Hamilton. A few letters dealing with the 1935 investigation of the University of Chicago, and several concerning Lovett's appointment to the Virgin Islands post

Box 1   Folder 3


December 1939-January 1941. 29 items. Letters on Virgin Islands business, the case of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the American Civil Liberties Union, and the peace movement before World War II

Box 1   Folder 4


February 1941-February 1943. items. Letters from Rupert Emerson, Walter White, Roger N. Baldwin, Harry F. Ward; the Dies charges

Box 1   Folder 5


March 1942-May 16, 1943. 30 items. Letters from Sidney Hillman, Witter Bynner, Paul Douglas, Harold Ickes, Senator Chandler; activities on behalf of Lovett concerning the Congressional investigation of him

Box 1   Folder 6


May 17, 1943-May 29, 1943. 30 items. Letters on the subject of the Senate investigation

Box 1   Folder 7


June 1943-July 1943. 23 items. Letters on the Senate investigation

Box 1   Folder 8


September 1943-March 19, 1944. 34 items. Letters in the Senate investigation, and the beginning of the case of U.S. v. Lovett

Box 1   Folder 9


March 20, 1944-March 1, 1945. 24 items. Letters bearing on the case of U.S. v. Lovett

Box 1   Folder 10


March 5, 1944-July 17, 1946. 29 items. Letters dealing with U.S. v. Lovett; also negotiations with publishers concerning Lovett's autobiography; one letter from James T. Farrell included

Box 2   Folder 11


July 19, 1946-March 31, 1949. 35 items. Letters dealing with the autobiography, and with revision of some of Lovett's early textbooks

Box 2   Folder 12


April 18, 1949-September 20, 1950. 16 items. Letters on the National Council of Arts, Sciences & Professions

Box 2   Folder 13

Twelve undated items

Box 2   Folder 14

Organized material, mimeographed by-laws of NCASP, etc

Box 2   Folder 15

Miscellaneous academic lectures, undated

Box 2   Folder 16

Miscellaneous academic lecture notes, undated

Box 2   Folder 17

Miscellaneous articles and addresses

Box 2   Folder 18

Notes for talks, political papers, book reviews; undated letters to editors

Box 2   Folder 19

Course material concerning Lovett's teaching activities, examinations and bibliographies

Box 3   Folder 20

Unsigned typescript items from The New Republic, attributed by Lovett to Herbert Croly

Box 3   Folder 21

Virgin Islands and Puerto Rican newspaper clippings on Lovett. Includes one column written by Lovett for a Puerto Rican newspaper

Box 3   Folder 22

United States newspaper clippings on Lovett, also Congressional Record clippings on him, sent to Lovett by an Interior Department Official

Box 3   Folder 23

Printed material concerning U.S. v. Lovett, United States Court documents on the case