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

Biographical Note

Livingston L. Biddle, Jr. (1918-2002) was a federal government arts administrator and novelist active in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
Livingston L. Biddle was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1918 to a distinguished and wealthy family. He graduated from Princeton University in 1940. During World War II, Biddle volunteered as an ambulance driver in Africa for the American Field Services.
While working as a special assistant to Rhode Island Democratic Senator Claiborne Pell in the 1960s, Biddle drafted the legislation for the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965, which led to the creation of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) one year later. Biddle served as deputy chairman of the NEA from 1966 to 1967, as congressional liaison director in 1975, and as chairman from 1977 to 1981. In 1976, he served as director of the Congressional Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and Humanities.
Also a writer, Biddle wrote four novels, all set in Philadelphia, including Sam Bentley's Island published in 1961. From 1968 to 1970, he was a professor and chairman of Fordham University's arts division. Biddle also published a non-fiction book about his experiences establishing and working for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) titled Our Government and the Arts: A Perspective from the Inside in 1988.
Biddle married artist Catharina Baart in 1973 after his first wife, Cordelia Frances Fenton, died in 1972. Biddle died in Washington, D.C. in 2002.