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Portrait of George S. Messersmith, artist unknown, circa 1940.
Portrait of George S. Messersmith, artist unknown, circa 1940.

George S. Messersmith papers

Access to the Digitized Collection

American statesman George Strausser Messersmith (1883-1960), known in the field as a "Diplomat of Democracy," was a prescient observer of world events whose lengthy dispatches and meticulous correspondence reflect his role in shaping American identity and policy through ten diplomatic posts on three continents between 1914 and 1947. Prior to his death in 1960, Messersmith made arrangements to donate the papers documenting his remarkable career to the University of Delaware Library.

The George S. Messersmith papers span the dates 1907-1961, with the bulk of the material concerning the years 1932-1947 and relating to Messersmith's post in pre-World War II Austria, his service as Assistant Secretary of State, and ambassadorships to Cuba, Mexico, and Argentina. Correspondence and official dispatches in the collection provide Messersmith's eyewitness accounts of critical events and his professional perspective and advice on American policy during those historic times.

Supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the University of Delaware Library has digitized the George S. Messersmith papers for online access. Researchers, who previously relied on discovery in the collection through use of a 700+ page typescript calendar, may now use an online finding aid to learn about the collection. The NHPRC grant allowed for "repurposing" the exhaustive descriptive data for this significant collection, migrating item-level document summaries from the legacy calendar into EAD-XML, an international standard for archival description and online access. The finding aid descriptions are linked to digitized documents stored in the Library's Institutional Repository, D-Space, where readers may "browse this collection" by various fields or use advanced searches to query full text of the PDF documents. Optical character recognition of the digitized documents maximizes searchability of the collection in D-Space. A Berkeley XML database on the Library's server supports browsing, searching, and delivery of the collection.

  1. Online finding aid to the George S. Messersmith papers
  2. George S. Messersmith papers on University of Delaware Library Institutional Repository, D-Space
  3. U-Daily "Library receives NHPRC grant to digitize Messersmith papers"
  4. U-Daily "Witness to history: papers of 20th century diplomat now online at UD Library"

  5. PLEASE HELP UD Library assess use of the digital collection by taking a brief survey
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