Skip to main content

Norman Judson Padelford papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0479

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The bulk of the collection consists of reports, photographs, maps, newspaper clippings, and other material dealing with the Panama Canal, much of which served as background material for Padelford's 1977 unpublished “Roosevelt and the Panama Canal,” which is included in this collection. The collection also includes Padelford's writings about the United Nations; his memoirs, entitled “Between Classroom and Government”; and reprints of several of his journal articles.


  • 1921 - 1981


Access note

This collection is open.

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

Norman J. Padelford, PhB 1925, Denison University; AM 1928, PhD 1929, Harvard University, was professor of government at Colgate University, 1929-1936, and professor of international law at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1936-1945. He came to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1944 as professor of international relations to inaugurate courses in this field. He chaired the political science section of what was then the Department of Economics and Social Science, and he was later instrumental in developing a new department of political science at MIT. He retired from MIT in 1969.

Padelford was a consultant to the US State Department from 1942 to 1949 and served as its expert on European waterways. During this time, he was advisor to Secretary of State James Byrnes and was the US delegate to the London Conference on European Inland Transport. He also worked with a group appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to draft the charter of the United Nations. He was a member of the United States delegation at the 1944 Dumbarton Oaks Conference on International Organization in Washington, DC. In 1945 he was executive officer in charge of drafting the statute for the International Court of Justice (known as the World Court) at the United Nations Conference in San Francisco. From 1969 to 1970, he was a member of President Richard Nixon's task force on oceanography.

Padelford's publications include the classic The Dynamics of International Politics. He also served on the board of editors of the journal International Organization from its inception in 1947 to 1968, including many years as chair. Padelford wrote extensively on the United Nations, the Balkans, the Spanish Civil War, and the Panama Canal.


3 Cubic Feet (3 record cartons)

Language of Materials



Norman J. Padelford was a member of the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1944 to 1969. Padelford helped develop a department of political science at MIT. Writings and correspondence in the collection document his involvement with the beginnings of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. The collection also includes background materials and the manuscript of his unpublished “Roosevelt and the Panama Canal.”


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

Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Guide to the Papers of Norman Judson Padelford
Ready For Review
Frances O'Donnell
(Copyright 1996)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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