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James S. Rosen Papers

Identifier: 31/6/129

Scope and Contents

The James S. Rosen Papers fill 123 boxes and span the years 1918 to 2014. The collection is divided into two series, Personal Papers and The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate. Each series is divided further into subseries; the Personal Papers series has three subseries and The Strong Man series has eleven subseries. Descriptions of the subseries are as follows:

Biographical materials include artifacts that elucidate Rosen’s life outside of journalism. Items include a program from a high school production of Bye Bye Birdie; a collection of Rosen's drawings and caricatures; items from the 2003 Funniest Celebrity in Washington contest (which he won); and several items relating to Rosen and his working relationship and friendship with journalist and news anchor Dan Rather. In addition to audiocassette tapes containing concerts by artists such as Grateful Dead and Simon and Garfunkel, there are vinyl records of recordings released by the National Review that reflect Rosen's fondness for the publication and his relationship with William F. Buckley, Jr. Box 1, folders 3 and 7 are restricted.

Journalism career contains a variety of materials from Rosen’s career as a journalist. Materials in this subseries are arranged in groups by type--articles and book reviews written by Rosen, press schedules from Rosen’s time traveling around the world as a member of the White House Press Corps during Bill Clinton and George W. Bush’s presidencies, and press passes, for instance.

Correspondence is mostly made up of letters written to Rosen, as opposed to material written by Rosen himself. There are separate folders for letters from Dan Rather, the White House, and William F. Buckley, Jr. Items in the White House folder include Christmas cards from the Clinton and the Bush families.

Subject files are made up of mostly primary source material used by Rosen as research for The Strong Man. The folder titles are those used by Rosen throughout the researching and writing of the book. The primary source material was often photocopied from the National Archives and Records Administration Record Group 460, Records of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, or the Nixon Presidential Library. Box 26, containing John Mitchell’s will, is restricted from public use.

James Rosen interviews contain audiocassette tape recordings of over 120 interviews conducted by Rosen as research for The Strong Man. The interviews took place between 1991 and 2004; interviewees include President Gerald Ford, former White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, and Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Two boxes containing audio dubs of certain interviews have been separated from the rest of the collection for preservation purposes.

Realia contains objects relating to Mitchell, Nixon, and Watergate. Of particular note are two of John Mitchell’s pipes, including the one he had with him when he died from a heart attack in 1988. Also in this subseries are a Watergate card game and a special Watergate-themed issue of Rolling Stone from 1975.

Maureen K. Dean and John W. Dean v. St. Martin’s Press, Inc., Len Colodny; Robert Gettlin; G. Gordon Liddy; et al. contains materials from a lawsuit against the publishers and authors of Silent Coup: The Removal of a President and G. Gordon Liddy by John and Maureen Dean. Silent Coup suggested that John Dean was responsible for the 1972 break-in at the Watergate hotel, and he sent the burglars to remove information linking Maureen, Dean’s wife, to a call-girl ring. While researching and writing The Strong Man, Rosen developed a working relationship with Silent Coup author Len Colodny, and materials from the lawsuit were sent to Rosen from both Colodny and Colodny’s lawyers.

General research consists of magazine clippings, newspaper clippings, and other materials that were used by Rosen for research but were not placed in his subject files.

The Watergate trials subseries contains microfilm copies of transcripts from four major Watergate trials, including exhibits, and audiocassette tapes of the Watergate Trials from the National Archives and Records Administration.

Publishing contains items that relate to the publishing of The Strong Man in 2008. Items include the original, extended manuscript, book reviews, and notes and suggestions from Jim Hougan, another Watergate author and enthusiast. Of particular note is a large folder of correspondence, which contains letters both to and from Rosen’s prospective interviewees (box 82, folder 1). Box 80, which contains the original manuscript, and box 81, folder 4, are restricted.

Books are arranged alphabetically by author surname. The books in this subseries were used for research for The Strong Man; Titles that are signed and/or annotated are marked as such in the finding aid. Please see physical inventory for a list of books in the collection.

Addition, Boxes 124-131:

This addition to the James S. Rosen Papers fills eight boxes and span the years 1986 to 2014. Descriptions of the series are as follows:

Professional materials include documents and artifacts relating to Rosen’s career as a journalist. Two boxes (numbers 124 and 125) contain articles about Rosen, notes sent to Rosen by fans as well as caricatures and drawings by Rosen. A main category are letters sent to Rosen in the years 1999 through 2014. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by surname of the sender. Also included are artifacts, such as a collection of hotel keys, Rosen’s press passes, napkins and a matchbook with the “Seal of the President of the United States” as well as a chocolate bar commemorating the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama in 2013.

A small collection of photographs depict various motifs, such as charity events, the staff of the Fox News Channel, The Beatles, Barbara and George W. Bush at The White House, and a White House Policy Planning Staff Reunion Luncheon. Photographs date from 2003 through 2009.

A short category of personal files include drawings and letters from Rosen’s son Aaron, and a yearbook from Susan E. Wagner high school, from which Rosen graduated in 1986.

Box number 126 is filled with articles by Rosen and holds a variety of magazines and newspapers, to which Rosen contributed between 1999 and 2014. The bulk of the publications are National Review and Weekly Standard. Folders are arranged alphabetically by title of the publication, items within each folder are arranged by date of the publication.

Box number 127 includes illustrations by Rosen, which were published in the magazine American Interest between 2005 and 2007.

Box number 128 contains VHS cassettes relating to Carl M. Shoffler, Maureen Dean, and Ida Maxwell Wells.

One CD with songs by The Beatles, and three DVDs featuring Ronald Reagan, fill box number 129.

Box number 130 contains a variety of souvenirs and artifacts from Rosen’s international travels and from his office desk.

Box number 131 is filled with books. They are arranged alphabetically by author surname. Titles that are signed and/or annotated are marked as such in the finding aid.


  • 1918-2014
  • Other: Date acquired: 07/09/2013


Conditions Governing Access

Box 1, folders 3 and 7, box 26, box 30, folder 5, box 80, and box 81, folder 4, are restricted; consultation with University Archivist required prior to use. Materials containing sensitive information and two boxes of dubbed Rosen interviews have been separated from the rest of the collection.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


131.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



The papers of journalist and author James S. Rosen fill 131 boxes and span the years 1918 to 2014. These papers document Rosen’s life and journalism career, as well as his extensive research relating to his biography of former Attorney General John N. Mitchell (The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate). Materials include, but are not limited to, documents, photographs, recorded interviews, and clippings.


The papers of James S. Rosen are divided into two series: personal papers; and The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate. Each series is divided further into subseries:

  • Personal papers are subdivided into: biogrpahical materials; journalism career (arranged by type, each group arranged chronologically); and correspondence (in alphabetical order by name)
  • Materials on The Strong Man are subdivided into: subject files (in the original order: groups of folders concerning John and Martha Mitchell, followed by alphabetically-arranged folders (with a few out of order at the end)); interviews (in two separate alphabetical sequences); realia; the case Maureen K. Dean and John W. Dean v. St. Martin's Press, Inc. ...; general research; the Watergate trials; publishing.
  • Source of Acquisition

    The University Archives received the James Rosen Papers as as Accession #13-180.

    Addition: This addition was donated to the Northwestern University Archives by James Rosen between March and November, 2014, as Accession # 14-40, 14-49, 14-52, 14-66, 14-77, 14-78, 14-114, and 14-126.

    Accruals and Additions

    Additional materials received  from James Rosen as #13-195 and #14-49 and incorporated into the collection.

    Processing Information

    Amanda Axel, November 2013-April 2014.

    Addition: Yvonne Spura; December, 2014.

    Guide to the James S. Rosen Papers
    Amanda Axel
    Description rules
    Describing Archives: A Content Standard

    Repository Details

    Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

    Deering Library, Level 3
    1970 Campus Dr.
    Evanston IL 60208-2300 US