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Lincoln P. Bloomfield papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0326

Scope and Contents

Lincoln Bloomfield was a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1961 to 1991. Bloomfield first came to MIT in 1957 to direct the U.N. Project at MIT's Center for International Studies. In addition he worked in the U. S. Department of State as well as serving as a consultant for other government, industry, and private groups, dividing his professional life between government service and academia. The materials in his collection are arranged by broad categories reflecting these activities, an arrangement suggested by Professor Bloomfield at the time of a large transfer of his papers in 1998.

Materials in the Biography series; Writings series; and Speeches series provide information about Lincoln Bloomfield's many interests as an author and a scholar, political and personal reflections, and "other doings" (a section of a "literary" bio he composed).

Lincoln Bloomfield worked extensively with various government agencies, serving as a member of the State Department from 1946 to 1957 and as a consultant thereafter, and in the White House in charge of global issues for the National Security Council from 1979 to 1980. Records about his consulting work for the Department of State, the Ford Foundation, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and other organizations are included in the Subject Files, Soviet Union, and Peacekeeping series.

In 1970 Bloomfield was invited to lecture at the Institute for the Study of the USA of the Soviet Academy of Science. He gave a week of talks and met with director of the Institute Georgi Arbatov and deputy director Andrei Kokoshin. On that same trip he also traveled to Bucharest, Romania, invited by the Romanian Institute for International Affairs. Later visits to the USSR were made under the auspices of the UN Association of the USA, specifically the US-Soviet Arms Control and Economics Panel.

Arms control and disarmament were dominant issues of the U.S. government in the 1950s and 1960s, and of strong corresponding interest in academia. Information about Bloomfield's engagement with these issues is gathered into the Arms Control and Disarmanent series in box 8 and include the minutes of the Havard-MIT Joint Arms Control Seminar, which Bloomfield co-chaired from 1960 to 1972.

Bloomfield was a contributer to developing political simulation exercises, and his efforts in political-military gaming are well documented in the Political Gaming series, in boxes 8 to 13. An unpublished essay and accompanying materials from several exercises conducted in the 1960s and 1970s document the development of the political gaming concept. POLEX gaming materials which came out of work at the Rand Corporation and were developed by Bloomfield at MIT are included as well as gaming exercise studies he ran using POLEX with the State Department leaders, and with other groups. Also in this series is good documentation of CASCON (Computer-Aided System for Information on Local Conflicts), a computerized conflict analysis system designed to compare vast amounts of data about conflicts.

Copies of Lincoln Bloomfield's book reviews, articles, and books, as well as supporting notes and correspondence, are included in the Writings series, as research projects and activities documented throughout the collection were most often gathered together in a book or major publication which followed the end of a project or study. Materials can be found in boxes 15 to 21, and are divided by type of publication.

The Speeches series helps document Bloomfield's activities as a global public speaker and commentator, including in television and in other media. There is information relating to his involvement as host of the "Fifty Years Ago Today" radio program on the Christian Science Monitor network for several years. There are also transcripts of television program commentaries done for the WGBH program "The Advocates." Transcripts can be found in box 21.


  • 1940 - 2000


Conditions Governing Access

Materials in this collection are open unless they are marked as restricted. Restrictions are noted in the container list.

Digital Access Note

Some parts of this collection are available online. Links to specific online digital items are found within their entry in this finding aid.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Biographical Note

Lincoln Palmer Bloomfield, 1920-2013, earned a BA 1941, MPA 1952, and PhD 1956, each from Harvard University. He joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for International Studies in 1957 where he directed the United Nations Project from 1957 to 1960, the Arms Control Project from 1960 to 1971, and co-chaired with Thomas Schelling the Harvard-MIT Joint Arms Control Seminar from 1960 to 1972. From 1961 until his retirement in 1991, he was a faculty member in the MIT Department of Political Science, in which he initiated a curriculum in arms control.

From 1946 to 1957, prior to coming to MIT, Lincoln Bloomfield worked in the Office of Strategic Services in Burma and China, and held positions in the U.S. State Department, later serving as a consultant. His service in the Department of State centered on U.S. participation in the United Nations. He served in the White House as Director of Global Issues for the National Security Council, 1979-1980.

A specialist in U.S. foreign policy, the United Nations, and arms control, Bloomfield developed CASCON (Computer-Aided System for Analyzing Conflict) a system for comparing vast amounts of data on local conflicts. He contributed to development of the technique of political-military gaming (POLEX or RAND/MIT) and designed and conducted a series of gaming exercises, some in conjunction with the State Department and the Department of Defense.

Bloomfield was the author, co-author, and editor of numerous books and articles. In the 1980s he hosted the daily television program "Fifty Years Ago Today" on the Christian Science Monitor channel.

MIT News Office obituary:


21.3 Cubic Feet ((21 record cartons, 1 manuscript box) )

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Source of Acquisition

Materials were given to the Department of Distinctive Collections (formerly the Institute Archives and Special Collections) by Lincoln Bloomfield in 1991, 1994, 1997, 1998, and 2000, and by the family in 2014 and 2015.

Selected Bibliography

  • Lincoln Bloomfield. Evolution or Revolution? The UN and the Problem of Peaceful Territorial Change. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield and others. International Military Forces: The Question of Peacekeeping in an Armed and Disarming World. Boston: Little, Brown, 1964. Revised as The Power to Keep Peace - Today and in a World Without War. Berkeley: World Without War Council, 1971.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield, Walter Clemens, and Franklyn Griffiths. Krushchev and the Arms Race: Soviet Interests in Arms Control and Disarmament, 1954 - 1964. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1966.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield. The United Nations and U.S. Foreign Policy: A New Look at the National Interest, revised edition. Boston: Little, Brown, 1967.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield, editor and co-author. Outer Space: Prospects for Man and Society, revised edition. New York: Praeger, 1968.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield with Amelia C. Leiss. Controlling Small Wars: A Strategy for the 1970s. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield. The Foreign Policy Process: A Modern Primer. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1982.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield, co-editor and co-author. Prospects for Peacemaking: A Citizen's Guide to Safer Nuclear Strategy. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1987.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield, editor and co-author. The Management of Global Disorder. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1987.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield with Allen Moulton. Managing International Conflict: From Theory to Policy. A Teaching Tool Using CASCON. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield. In Search of American Foreign Policy: The Humane Use of Power. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.
  • Lincoln Bloomfield. Accidental Encounters With History (and Some Lessons Learned). Cohasset, MA: Hot House Press, 2005.
Guide to the Papers of Lincoln P. Bloomfield
Elizabeth Andrews
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 July 7: Edited by Lana Mason to remove aggrandizing terms in the biographical and scope and content notes description.
  • 2023 February 10: Revised by processing archivist Chris Tanguay to add access notes.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US