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Livingston L. Biddle, Jr. papers, circa 1940-2002

Biddle, Livingston, 1918-2002

Writer, Arts administrator

Collection Information

Size: 40.2 linear feet

Summary: The papers of government arts administrator and novelist Livingston L. Biddle, Jr. (1918-2002) measure 40.2 linear feet and date from circa 1940 to 2002. The papers are comprised of biographical materials, correspondence, interviews, writings, numerous files reflecting his work to establish the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), political committee files, personal legal records, printed materials, scrapbooks, and photographs. Throughout the collection are video and sound recordings.
Biographical materials consist of awards; diplomas; genealogy records; resumes; and files for Biddle's work at Fordham, his nomination for the National Medal of Arts award, and about his second wife Catharina Baart. Correspondence is with family, friends, and professional and political contacts such as Jane Alexander, President Jimmy Carter, Armand Hammer, Nancy Hanks, Edward Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Sandra Day O'Connor, Claiborne Pell, Robert Rauschenberg, Slava Rostropovich, and others.
Interviews with Biddle include transcripts, four sound recordings, and two video recordings of Biddle with R.A. Davis, Bob Edwards, Peter Jessup, Susan King, Bob Schieffer, and Louann Temple. Among the writings are journals, articles, poetry, speech notes, manuscript drafts of "Our Government and the Arts: A Perspective from the Inside" and "Sam Bentley's Island," one video recording of "Art/Work/USA" by Barbara Rose, and one sound recording of a film introduction entitled "The Eagle".
Files concerning the establishment and early years of the National Endowment of the Arts consist of correspondence; congressional briefing books, committee files, and reports; financial material; drafts of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965; one sound reel titled "Swearing-In of L.L. Biddle, Jr.," and three video recordings. Additional files concerning Biddle's work for congressional committees and political campaigns include correspondence, meeting agendas and notes, and printed material concerning multiple arts organizations and the political campaigns for Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Claiborne Pell. Family and real estate records, a partnership agreement, and will are in personal legal records.
Printed materials include booklets, clippings, event invitations and programs, flyers, magazines and journals, and posters autographed by Jacob Lawrence, Fritz Scholder, and John Glenn. Additionally, one commercial sound cassette recordings of National Public Radio's program Performance Today is also found. Two mixed-media scrapbooks contain memorabilia from Biddle's professional life and international travel.
Photographs are of family, travel, and friends and colleagues at various events. Six video recordings are home movies of Bryn Mawr and documentaries about St. Katherine Drexel. Artwork in the form of pencil and watercolor sketches is by Ruth Asawa Lanier, Barb Maxwell, Pat Oliphant, James Rosenquist, and Howard N. Watson.

Biographical/Historical Note

Livingston L. Biddle, Jr. (1918-2002) was a federal government arts administrator and novelist active in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Biddle graduated from Princeton University in 1940. He later wrote legislation to create the National Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and was chair of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1977-1981.


The Livingston L. Biddle, Jr. papers were donated in 2013 by Thomas O'Callaghan, a close friend of Biddle's who inherited the papers.