Nobel laureate Henry A. Kissinger, who served as United States Secretary of State under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford LAW ’41, will donate his papers to the University in a move that will greatly enhance the study of diplomatic history at Yale.
Finalized after roughly six months of discussions over the gift, Kissinger’s donation to Yale includes approximately one million documents and objects, broadly covering his life as a statesman, scholar and private citizen. Accompanied by a gift from Charles B. Johnson ’54, who previously donated to the University in 2006 to expand Program in Grand Strategy, the Kissinger Archives create the foundation for growth in the study of diplomatic history at Yale by establishing the Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy.
“It was clear that one of his hopes was that he wouldn’t just deposit the papers in our library but that they would serve as a basis for scholarly research and stimulate discussion of diplomatic history,” University President Richard Levin said in an interview Wednesday evening.
The Kissinger papers will join those already housed in the University library belonging to other former US secretaries of state, including Henry Stimson 1888, Dean Acheson ’15 and Cyrus Vance ’39 LAW ’42. Unlike those diplomats, Kissinger is not an alumnus of the University; he received his undergraduate and doctorate degrees both from Harvard University, where he later served on the faculty.
Still, Levin said, Kissinger has many ties to the University — Levin himself said he has developed a “pretty personal relationship” with Kissinger over the years. Two of Kissinger’s children attended Yale as undergraduates, and he gives a lecture in the Grand Strategy program at least once every year, Levin said. He added that the library’s “service-oriented mission” in being open to visiting scholars and the University’s internationalization were also factors in Kissinger’s decision to donate the papers to Yale.
“I am extremely pleased to be associated with Yale in this important new initiative,” Kissinger said in a Wednesday press release from the Office of Public Affairs. “With its remarkable array of academic programs and library collections in world affairs, as well as its established involvement with practitioners of international security and diplomacy, Yale will make a superb home for my papers.”
The Johnson Center will be housed in the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.