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David Niles papers

Identifier: 11-MWalB02055

Scope and Contents

David K. Niles was active in politics and commerce-related endeavors both locally and nationally throughout the first half of the twentieth century. His papers relate to his leadership of Boston's Ford Hall Forum, his work on national Progressive and Democratic election campaigns, his positions in the U.S. Labor and Commerce Departments, his time advising the Works Progress Administration, and his nearly decade-long position as Special Assistant to the President under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. The collection reflects Niles's participatory role in a range of subjects, including domestic civil rights, campaign politics, immigrant quotas, post-World War II foreign redevelopment projects, and the creation of the State of Israel. Niles was an active member of the local, national, and international Jewish community. As such, the collection reflects the growth of the American Jewish community. There are letters to David Niles from Jews requesting assistance in finding relatives in war-torn Europe, letters from Jewish community leaders reflecting the growing support for the recognition of the State of Israel, and material dealing with anti-Semitism in American society and media. The collection also includes correspondence about a new Jewish-sponsored university in Waltham, Massachusetts—Brandeis University—which Niles helped establish and of which he eventually became a trustee. After Niles's death in 1952, his papers were donated to Dr. Abram L. Sachar, the president of Brandeis University. Sachar and his staff organized and processed the papers and, in 1985, gave the majority of them to the Truman Library. While the collection at Brandeis contains some original material—correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia—most of the materials are photocopies of originals housed in the David K. Niles Papers of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library.


  • 1909-1977
  • Majority of material found in 1937-1952


Conditions Governing Access

Access to the collection is in accordance with the policies of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University. Please contact the department for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests to reproduce or publish material from the collection should be directed to the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.


14.00 Linear Feet (28 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



Arranged in ten series: 1. Personal Correspondence, 1909-1952, undated; 2. Politics, 1925-1952, undated; 3. Immigration and Refugees, 1937-1951; 4. Israel Affairs, 1940-1952, undated; 5. Foundations and Funds, 1926-1950; 6. Jewish Affairs, 1929-1952; 7. Brandeis University, 1948-1968; 8. Post-World War II Europe, 1936-1951, undated; 9. Photographs, Books and Personal Memorabilia, 1933-1951; 10. Miscellaneous Newspaper Clippings, 1917-1977. For more information about each series, please consult the series descriptions in the box and folder listing, available in print form in the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.

Related Materials

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library (P:816-268-8200 or P:800-833-1225) also holds the David K Niles papers relating to Niles's career of government service in the White House as Administrative Assistant to Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman from 1942 to 1951. Please see link below.

Anne Marie Reardon
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Repository Details

Part of the Brandeis University Repository

415 South St.
Waltham MA

About Us

The Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department at Brandeis University consists of two collecting units, the University Archives and Special Collections. University Archives documents the history and development of Brandeis University and its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Special Collections features a broad array of unique primary source materials across a wide range of disciplines that support research, teaching and learning at Brandeis. Learn more about our collections