The Diary of Rexford G. Tugwell: The New Deal, 1932-1935

By Michael Vincent Namorato | Go to book overview

Rexford G. Tugwell Diary: An Explanation

The Rexford Tugwell papers are located in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York. The collection consists of 114 boxes and 9 scrapbooks. This represents Tugwell's original donation of papers to the library as well as a 1982 accretion given by his wife. The accretion was eventually interfiled in the original collection. The papers contain a wide variety of materials, including Tugwell's correspondence, writings, transcripts of speeches and interviews, photographs, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous items. One of the most important parts of the collection is the Tugwell diary contained in boxes 30 through 42.

The diary begins in 1932 and continues through 1960. It is fairly representative in original entries during the New Deal years ( 1932-1935) and Tugwell's tenures as chairman of the New York City Planning Commission and governorship of Puerto Rico ( 1939-1946). After 1946, the diary is sporadic and inconsistent with entries centering on Tugwell's personal situation more than on his thoughts or opinions on events going on around him. The post-1946 diary, in fact, tends to be more a journal and series of personal notes (frequently handwritten) rather than a carefully composed work. In spite of this, the entire Tugwell diary, taken as a whole, is quite illuminating in scope and content.

Another important point to bear in mind is that Tugwell frequently relied on his diary in his own publications. There are four works in particular where he quoted, reproduced, or used it -- The Brains Trust ( New York: Viking Press, 1968), Roosevelt's Revolution: The First Year, A Personal Perspective ( New York: Macmillan, 1977), The Stricken Land: The Story of Puerto Rico ( New York: Doubleday, 1947), and A Chronicle of Jeopardy, 1945-1955 ( Chicago: University Press of Chicago, 1955). Within the Tugwell papers, moreover, there are some incomplete manuscripts dealing with his activities as a New Dealer in 1933-1934, extensive notes which he planned to use in drafting a manuscript on his

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