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Senator J. William Fulbright (1905-1995)

After the unexpected death of University President John Futrall in 1939, Fulbright was appointed to fill the vacancy. At thirty-four, he was the youngest college president in the country. Walter Lemke Papers, Series 4, Box 2, Folder 14, Picture No. 529

President John F. Kennedy signed the Fulbright-Hays Act at the White House on September 21, 1961, in the presence of House and Senate members, including the cosponsors of the legislation, Senator Fulbright (left) and Congressman Wayne L. Hays (sixth from left). Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Historical collection, Box 342, Folder 5

J. William Fulbright in London, England, with Fulbright scholar, 1957. J. William Fulbright Papers, Series 86, Box 3a, Folder 3

Fulbright with Soviet and American officials in Moscow in August 1963 during ceremonies for the signing of the nuclear test ban treaty. (left to right: Fulbright, Hubert Humphrey, and Premier Nikita Khrushchev.) J. William Fulbright Papers, Series 86, Box 8, Folder 1

Oxford, England, lacrosse team of 1925-1926. Fulbright is at the bottom right. J. William Fulbright Papers, Series 86, Box 14, Folder 1

On May 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Senator Fulbright at the Fulbright’s eighty-eighth birthday tribute. Harriet Mayor Fulbright observed the ceremony. J. William Fulbright Papers, Series 86, Box 42, Folder 4

J. William Fulbright reelection campaign in 1968. J. William Fulbright Papers, Series 86, Box 4, Folder 1

The Fulbrights with their daughters, Elizabeth and Roberta, at Rabbit’s Foot Lodge, a 150-acre farm near Springdale, Arkansas. The farm was called Rabbit’s Foot Lodge after a Sequoia Indian Chief who supposedly had ruled over the land in the past. Walter Lemke Papers, Series 4, Box 2, Folder 14

Biography

One of the most influential politicians in the twentieth-century, Senator James William Fulbright’s political career was marked by his tenure as the longest serving chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In this capacity, he had a profound influence on America’s foreign policy, and his vision for mutual understanding and world peace shaped the far-reaching legacy of the Fulbright international exchange program which he established during the post-World War II period.

Spanning over three decades, the papers of J. William Fulbright consist of more than 1,400 linear feet of correspondence, speeches, legislative bills, photographs, and other records pertaining to the legislative, political, and diplomatic issues. Materials document the internal workings of Congress, the work of U.S. Senate committees, particularly Foreign Relations and Banking and Currency; and Fulbright's relationship with his constituency. Significant portions of the collection relate to United States foreign relations and include such important events as the Cuban missile crisis, the Bay of Pigs invasion, U.S. intervention in the Dominican Republic, and the Vietnam War. The papers include materials on the Fulbright resolution of 1943 favoring U.S. participation in a postwar international peace-keeping organization; the origin and administration of the Fulbright program; the censure of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy; the Fulbright memorandum of 1961 on educational and propaganda activities of the military; U.S. policies toward the Middle East and the former Soviet Union; and the senator's political campaigns, including the first in 1942 for the House and the second in 1944 for the Senate.

For additional biographical information please see: J. William Fulbright Brochure Series and the James William Fulbright Bibliography.

Finding Aids for the Fulbright Papers

The Fulbright papers are organized in four accessions. The first accession is accessible through a digitized nine-volume finding aid consisting of file analyses supported by extensive indexes to file titles, correspondents, and subjects. Materials span from 1942 to 1960.

The finding aid for the most frequently used parts of the second accession are available online and include series and subseries descriptions as well as container lists for materials dating from 1960 to 1975.

The third accession includes post-senatorial papers associated with Fulbright's activities and interests from 1975 to 1994.

The fourth accession or addendum (circa 1944-1974) consists of constituent, business, personal, and general correspondence; press releases; correspondence concerning legislation reviewed by Senatorial and Congressional Committees; and correspondence regarding Fulbright's senatorial speeches, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and ethics in government.

Please note that restricted materials are noted in the finding aids. To facilitate their work, researchers who wish to use the papers are advised to contact Special Collections in advance.

Digital Collections

Digital collections relating to the Fulbright papers include the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Grantee Directories which list American scholars who received Fulbright awards for teaching and advanced research abroad from 1948 to 1998. The descriptive information for each scholar is arranged according to academic discipline. Scholars are also listed alphabetically, by home state, and by host country in the indices. Digital exhibits encompass J. William Fulbright Speaks which presents fifty speeches that Senator Fulbright made during his congressional career as well as an overview of the 50th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program, 1946-1996.

Related Collections

In addition to the Fulbright papers, the University of Arkansas Libraries house one of the country's largest collections on international education and cultural exchange.

Special Collections is the active collecting repository for:

Please see the International Education and Cultural Exchange webpage for a list of related collections housed in Special Collections.

Related International Education Organizations