By Theresa Berger
It’s always fun to process a collection where the creator genuinely comes to life. The Charles F. Darlington papers, with their detailed folder descriptions and handwritten assessments of their contents’ historical value (“this shows the complexity of the work I was involved in”; “an extremely disagreeable person”) is an example of one such collection. Like its namesake, the collection is meticulously organized and rich with details of experience. From the League of Nations to the United Nations, Saudi Arabian oil industry to the U.S. State Department, and presidents from Herbert Hoover to J.F.K., the Charles F. Darlington papers illustrate the life of an economist-turned-ambassador, businessman-turned-public servant, and Republican-turned-Democrat with a knack for observation and a quiet but sharp sense of humor. Darlington’s memoirs and correspondence highlight his unique perspective on the League of Nations and the United Nations as an American economist, while his experiences as the first U.S. Ambassador to Gabon and one of the last men to meet with John F. Kennedy in Washington before his assassination in 1963 can be read in the personal drafts and related correspondence of his 1968 book, African Betrayal. The span of the collection covers nearly six decades (1926 to 1985) and contains source material as rich and varied as the career of its creator. Economist, financial advisor, policy analyst, speechwriter, and ambassador are but some of the hats Darlington wore. His collection of speeches, writings, correspondence, photographs, journals, and newspapers are an incredible source detailing these experiences, and more.
Current Hoover Archives intern Theresa Berger is an MA student at San Francisco State, where she concentrates on history and public history.