May 16, 2022

UT Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History Acquires the Richard N. Goodwin and Doris Kearns Goodwin Archives

From the Briscoe Center/UT Austin:

The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin has acquired the papers of Richard N. Goodwin, speechwriter and policymaker for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and Doris Kearns Goodwin, acclaimed presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. In addition, Ms. Goodwin will join the Briscoe Center’s Advisory Council.

Draft of President Johnson's address to Congress on Civil Rights (“We Shall Overcome”), March 15, 1965 speech [first page]

Draft of President Johnson’s address to Congress on Civil Rights (“We Shall Overcome”), March 15, 1965 speech [first page]. Richard N. Goodwin Papers, courtesy of the Briscoe Center for American History.


Mr. Goodwin’s papers stretch more than six decades, from roughly 1950-2014, and provide an intimate look into his distinguished professional career. The papers document Mr. Goodwin’s public service as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, as well as his work as a House subcommittee investigator into the rigged television game show Twenty-One (adapted into Robert Redford’s 1994 film Quiz Show). Mr. Goodwin’s archive, an extraordinary time capsule of the 1960s, includes memos and notes on his contributions to shaping national and international policy during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, including the War on Poverty and the Civil Rights movement. Among the treasures are drafts of several of the most historically significant speeches of the 20th century, including JFK’s inaugural speech, and LBJ’s “Great Society” and “We Shall Overcome” speeches. The draft of LBJ’s landmark Howard University speech calling for affirmative action is accompanied by a telegram from Martin Luther King Jr. that reads: “Never before has a president articulated the depths and dimensions of the problems of racial injustice more eloquently and profoundly.”[Clip]

The archive of Ms. Goodwin, author of seven critically acclaimed and bestselling books and who New York Magazine heralds as “America’s Historian-in-Chief,” spans six decades from the 1960s to near present. The papers provide a road map of her writing process from her initial foray into a subject, and include original research materials, interviews, early outlines, primary sources, and manuscripts.

Doris Kearns and President Lyndon B. Johnson, White House Cabinet Room, Oct. 29, 1968. Kearns was Secretary of the White House Fellows Association, and the event marked the presentation of the White House Fellows Report on Youth Participation. Doris Kearns Goodwin Papers, courtesy of the Briscoe Center for American History.

Doris Kearns and President Lyndon B. Johnson, White House Cabinet Room, Oct. 29, 1968. Kearns was Secretary of the White House Fellows Association, and the event marked the presentation of the White House Fellows Report on Youth Participation. Doris Kearns Goodwin Papers, courtesy of the Briscoe Center for American History.

Ms. Goodwin is best known as a preeminent public intellectual, presidential historian, and biographer frequently seen on television putting today’s news into historical context. Her books include the 1995 Pulitzer Prize-winning No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front During World War II; Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, which won the Lincoln Prize and served as the basis for Steven Spielberg’s 2012 award-winning film, Lincoln; and her most recent, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, which explores the early development, growth, and exercise of leadership. Her papers chart the course of her growth as a historian and writer and include professional correspondence, documents, photographs, visual recordings, news clippings, and other memorabilia.

“This acquisition is a landmark event in the relatively short history of the Briscoe Center,” said Don Carleton, the Briscoe Center’s executive director. “These two archives cover an amazingly wide range of significant events in American political, presidential, and cultural history extending from the late 1950s until the very recent past. Adding to my excitement about these collections is the fact that Doris has agreed to be a member of our Advisory Council and will serve as an advisor to and ambassador for the Briscoe Center on an ongoing basis. I eagerly look forward to working with her to continue to build and promote the Briscoe as one of this nation’s leading history centers.”

[Clip]

The Richard Goodwin and Doris Kearns Goodwin papers are closed at this time for processing. The center will announce when the collections are open to researchers.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement (approx. 2030 words) and View Selections From the Collection

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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