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James S. Rosen Papers

Identifier: 31/6/129
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 Rosen’s high school production of Bye Bye Birdie, a collection of drawings and caricatures he has done throughout the years, 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 put out by the National Review that reflect his 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. Each group type is arranged chronologically.

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by surname. The subseries is mostly made up of letters written to Rosen, as opposed to notes penned by Rosen himself. Dan Rather’s letters have been given their own folder, as have letters from the White House and William F. Buckley, Jr. Items in the White House folder include Christmas cards from the Clintons and the Bush’s.

Subject files are made up of mostly primary source material used by Rosen as research for The Strong Man. The original order of the files has been maintained, as Rosen kept them in filing cabinets with the Mitchells in the first drawer, and everything following in alphabetical order. Folder titles are also those used by Rosen throughout the research 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 take place between 1991 and 2004, and interviewees include President Gerald Ford, former White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, and Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Interviews are arranged alphabetically by surname. 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 passed away 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 in 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.


  • 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 and only viewable with permission from the University Archivist. Materials containing sensitive information and two boxes of dubbed Rosen interviews have been separated from the rest of the collection.


123.00 Boxes


The papers of journalist and author James S. Rosen fill 125 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. Materials include, but are not limited to, documents, photographs, recorded interviews, and clippings.

Source of Acquisition

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

Accruals and Additions

Additional materials received  from James Rosen as #13-195 and incorporated into the collection.
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, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US