Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Herbert F. York Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 107
Mandeville Special Collections Library
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
Language of Material:
45.7 Linear feet
(102 archives boxes and 16 oversize folders)
Date (inclusive): 1958 - 1999
Papers of Herbert Frank York, founding director of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (1952-58); member of the Presidential
Scientific Advisory Committee under Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson; chief scientist of the Department of Defense's Advanced
Research Projects Agency (ARPA); first chancellor of the University of California, San Diego; and director emeritus of UCSD's
Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. The papers highlight York's work on nuclear arms negotiations and disarmament,
particularly after 1969, and contain correspondence, reports, memos, drafts of articles and books, news clippings, autobiographical
sketches, date books and wall calendars, invitations, teaching materials, lectures, speeches, interviews, and video tapes.
York's involvement in the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and Presidential Scientific Advisory Committee is documented,
as is York's role in the debate over the Antiballistic Missile (ABM). Absent from the collection are papers related to York's
directorship of the Livermore Laboratory and his files as UCSD chancellor.
York, Herbert F., (Herbert Frank)
Scope and Content of Collection
Accessions Processed in 1992
The bulk of the materials donated thus far comprise correspondence, reports, teaching materials, drafts of York's books, and
audio-visual materials. The papers generally date between 1961, when York moved to San Diego to become the University's first
Chancellor, and 1987. Files generated by York prior to 1961 may be found in Related Collections. York presently maintains
a campus office which houses current files and research materials. The York papers are divided into nine series:
1) BIOGRAPHICAL, 2) DIARIES, 3) INVITATIONS, 4) CORRESPONDENCE, 5) ORGANIZATIONS, 6) SUBJECT FILES, 7) UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA,
SAN DIEGO, 8) WRITINGS, and 9) AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIALS.
Many of the papers--correspondence, writings, and reports-- highlight York's efforts with nuclear arms negotiations and control,
particularly after his 1969 anti-ABM testimonies before Congress. These papers also provide valuable historical recounts of
events and organizations created after World War II, including a history of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA),
the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), and the reminiscences of York and his correspondents, mainly scientists (see
Well-represented is York's correspondence with leaders in science and public affairs (particularly Hans Bethe, James Killian,
George Kistiakowsky, [Wolfgang] Pief Panofsky, I.I. Rabi, Victor Weisskopf, and Jerome Weisner), and to a lesser extent, members
of the Senate and Congress who were involved in nuclear arms issues. Not present in the collection are materials related to
York's graduate career or work on the Manhattan Project, to his role as Director at Lawrence Livermore (1952-1958) and his
files as UCSD Chancellor (1961-1964, 1970-1972).
SERIES 1: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
The BIOGRAPHICAL series is arranged in chronological order. These materials, which include news clippings and biographical
sketches, were originally interfiled with York's subject files.
The subseries Publicity and newspaper articles was originally maintained in a scrapbook format. The entire contents of these
three albums of news clippings have been photocopied. The subseries on York's Lawrence Livermore employment pertains to his
later years as a consultant, and do not span his years as Director (1952-1958).
SERIES 2: DIARIES
The DIARIES series contains appointment books, date books and wall calendars in chronological order. For some years there
is an overlap between the two subseries, Date books and Wall calendars. Otherwise, the materials are divided by format and
"Post-its" were photocopied as found within the appointment books. The original post-it was discarded, and a photocopy of
the original page with the post-it was inserted in the appropriate month.
The earliest appointment books (1959-1961) document York's early years at the Pentagon.
SERIES 3: INVITATIONS
The INVITATIONS series is arranged in chronological order. Materials dating from 1959-1960 cover York's early years in Washington,
and reflect the social and professional circles with which he mingled. These materials are preserved in their original scrapbook
Invitations from 1970-1973 were originally interfiled with subject folders.
SERIES 4: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series, comprised of Miscellaneous correspondence, Chronological files, and Personal correspondence, is
filed in chronological order. The materials are in reverse chronological order, as originally filed. Indexes precede the correspondence
for the Chronological files for 1973 and 1974.
This series includes committee agendas, drafts of papers, news articles, nominations, papers, professional correspondence,
recommendations, reviews, requests and permissions, and travel plans. Bulk dates for correspondence are between 1970 and 1986.
This series does not include York's correspondence as an administrator for the U.S. Government or for the University of California,
These files comprise the largest and most comprehensive series, and heavily document communications between York and scientists
(including Frank Barnaby, Hans Bethe, Harold Brown, Bernard Feld, James Killian, George Kistiakowsky, Oskar Morgenstern, Jack
Ruina, Jerome Weisner, Victor Weisskopf), and to a lesser extent, his correspondence with public and political figures (President
Carter, Henry Kissinger, Charles Lindbergh, Philip Noel-Baker, [Herbert] Pete Scoville, Senators Cranston, Gore, and Kennedy,
and Lord Solly Zuckerman). York's correspondence with his science colleagues spans many years and topics. York's correspondence
with political figures largely pertains to appreciation and encouragement for his support of particular legislative issues.
York's views on past events and contemporary issues concerning arms control, disarmament problems, and science and defense
policy, may be grasped through this series. The correspondences sometimes contain detailed responses to topics such as Eisenhower
and SAINT (the satellite intercepter system), the beginnings of NASA, missile development, MIRV, the Mike explosion, U-2,
B-1, "no first use," the Comprehensive Test Ban talks, and the MX missile system. Through his correspondence and subsequent
writings, York seeks to understand the technological arms developments and deployment; the major decisions, the decision makers,
the advice, and the advisors. Then, in retrospect, York analyzes the arms race and approaches arms control problems.
Additionally, much of the correspondence concerns recollections about specific events which York later incorporated into his
memoirs and writings. York routinely submitted drafts of his writings to his colleagues for historical accuracy and fairness,
and sought the assistance of various historians (at institutions such as Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore, NASA,
the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Atomic Energy Commission, Department of State, and Bancroft Library). The bulk
of this correspondence is from the 1970s, after the publication of
Race to Oblivion, and prior to his 1987 memoir,
Making Weapons, Talking Peace. In a 1976 letter to Cargill Hall at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, York states that the source for RACE TO OBLIVION was
largely his memory, and that he made greater use of documentation for
Making Weapons, Talking Peace (see box 11).
Other items within the series include a declassified 1959 "Saturn chronology" which York annotated for NASA in 1974 (box 8);
York's 1974 recollection about LBJ's expectations of the Presidential Science Advisory Committee (PSAC), and Johnson's eventual
loss of faith in PSAC (box 8); 1975 SALT talks (boxes 9 and 10); York's comments and xerox of a declassified 1943 letter from
Robert Oppenheimer to Enrico Fermi, at Los Alamos, about the use of radiological warfare (1983, see box 20); a 1984 series
of recollections by York, Edward Teller, and Emil Konopinski, in regard to their conversation with Fermi when he asked, "Where
is everybody?" (This famous question was central to debates about the prevalence of extra-terrestrial civilization. See box
22); and a 1976 letter to Harold Brown describing York's current stance on JASON and his appearance on Nixon's "Enemies List."
The materials within this series contain the bulk of York's correspondence, but some correspondence may be found in other
series, particularly the SUBJECT and the ORGANIZATIONS series.
SERIES 5: ORGANIZATIONS
The files comprising the ORGANIZATIONS series were originally arranged in alphabetical order (and interfiled with the files
which now comprise the SUBJECT series); they largely consist of reports and administrative memos. Files culled for this series
pertain to York's affiliation with and service for various private and governmental agencies, organizations, and councils
at the national and international level. This series contains files which York maintained during his participation in the
U.S. Arms Controls and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC), or as trustee or member of
the board. Files on organizations for which York was solicited but did not serve are in the SUBJECT series.
Of particular note is the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) subseries which contains an unpublished history of the
agency, "The Advanced Research Projects Agency, 1958-1974." Files on the Aerospace Corporation and the Institute for Defense
Analyses (IDA) contain mostly memos of meetings and reports to trustees. The PSAC files, comprised mainly of reports, represent
York's second service under President Johnson, from 1964-1968. The Pugwash files contain reports, correspondence, and agendas
for meetings which York did and did not attend.
SERIES 6: SUBJECT FILES
The SUBJECT FILES series is arranged in its original alphabetical order, and includes reports and correspondence. Some files
were culled and placed in the ORGANIZATIONS series. Miscellaneous material was incorporated into this series.
The subseries on the Antiballistic Missile (ABM) contains extensive coverage of York's role and 1969 congressional testimonies,
through reports, news articles, and correspondence. The subseries on Conferences includes meetings for which York was a delegate
or committee member, such as the 1982 University of California conference on International Security and Arms Control.
SERIES 7: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO
The files of the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO series have been generated while York has been at UCSD, but they are
not comprehensive. The files, containing mostly reports and teaching materials, represent York's activities and roles as professor,
chancellor, acting chancellor, dean, and his directorships of Science, Technology, and Public Affairs, and of the Institute
for Global Conflict and Cooperation. These files are organized in alphabetical order. Note that while the CORRESPONDENCE series
comprises materials generated from these offices, York's administrative papers from these offices are not represented in this
collection. Also, files are currently maintained by York in his campus office.
The subseries on Teaching includes syllabi, exams, homework, and lecture notes. Student grades were discarded.
SERIES 8: WRITINGS
The series of WRITINGS includes lectures, prepared remarks, speeches, transcripts of congressional testimony, interviews,
manuscripts and drafts of papers and books, and other writings and oral presentations by York, arranged by date. The bulk
of the material comprises drafts and manuscripts of York's books,
Race to Oblivion,
The Advisors and
Making Weapons, Talking Peace.In 1980, York was interviewed by the Navy Laboratories about his "Past and Present Views of Military Research and Development."
York's interview with Karyn Gladstone, in 1987, formed part of her Ph.D. work in which she did a psychological analysis of
ten men and their attitudes to nuclear weapons. In 1986, York was interviewed by historian Finn Aaserud about American physicists
in science policy after World War II. York answers questions about physicists' involvement in science policy, and JASON is
used as a case study.
SERIES 9: AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIALS
The AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIALS series includes non-manuscript materials in chronological order. Included are video tapes (3/4"
and VHS formats) in which York appears or is interviewed.
In 1958, York was named as the first chief scientist to ARPA, and, in this capacity, appeared on the CBS show,
Face the Nation. In the half hour interview York was questioned about space programs and the arms race with the Russians. In the 1984 "Quest
for Peace" tape, York was interviewed about the problems posed by the nuclear arms race. During the first few minutes of the
1988 Tufts/Moscow "Global Classroom," some historical footage is introduced which depicts York. The 1991 series of unedited
tapes at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University cover nuclear weapons and the arms race after World War II. York
is interviewed along with Glenn Seaborg, Sigvar Ekland, Robert Marshak, Bernard Goldschmidt, and Gerald Tape.
Accession Processed in 2000
The accession to the Herbert F. York Papers processed in 2000 contains photocopies of declassified cable messages, correspondence,
reports, plenary statements made at the United Nations, background information, briefing material, and draft treaty texts
related to York's work as the United States ambassador and chief negotiator at the Comprehensive Test Ban negotiations in
Geneva. It spans the period 1977-1980 and is arranged alphabetically in a single series: 1) COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY
SERIES 1: COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY NEGOTIATIONS series is arranged alphabetically, using York's own folder titles. All
the material had to be declassified and correspondence regarding declassification is located in the folders for the United
States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense.
York was appointed as ambassador during the Carter administration and the files contain messages from Secretary of State Cyrus
Vance, National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Secretary of Defense Harold Brown.
Accession Processed in 2004
The accession processed in 2004 contains materials which are complementary to those found in the previous accessions. Included
are biographical files, correspondence, committee work files, York's writings, speeches, conference presentations, Comprehensive
Test Ban negotiation materials, subject files, and book production files for
Race to Oblivion: A Participant's View of the Arms Race. The series titles and their arrangement mirror those of the previous accessions.
The materials highlight York's effort with nuclear arms negotiations and control and they supply additional information on
history of arms race and disarmament and on key leaders in science, public affairs, and members of government involved in
nuclear arms issues. The papers are arranged in nine series: 1) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) ORGANIZATIONS,
4) WRITINGS, 5) WRITINGS BY OTHERS, 6) COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN, 7) SUBJECT FILES, 8)
RACE TO OBLIVION RESEARCH MATERIALS, and 9) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
SERIES 1: MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS
The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series is arranged in five subseries: A) Biographical Materials, B) Interviews, C) Letters of
Appointment, D) Awards, and E) Photographs.
A) The Biographical Materials subseries, arranged alphabetically, includes a biographical note and resume, photocopies of
newspaper clippings with articles about York's work, and detailed security clearance questionnaires containing information
about his employment, travel abroad, and residency.
B) The Interviews subseries, arranged chronologically, contains transcripts or published versions of interviews conducted
between 1964 and 1994 and are concerned with York's views on past and contemporary issues dealing with arms control and disarmament
C) The Letters of Appointment subseries documents York's involvement in high-level defense policy-making and contains appointment
letters to the Presidential Scientific Advisory Committee for Lyndon Johnson and U.S. Ambassador to the Comprehensive Test
Ban talks in 1979-1980.
D) The Awards subseries contains award certificates and citations and is arranged in alphabetical order by the title of the
E) The Photographs subseries, arranged alphabetically, documents York's involvement in committee work at the White House,
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Comprehensive
Test Ban talks in Geneva.
SERIES 2: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series primary documents York's professional activities and contains communications between York and his
science colleagues, as well as public and political figures. The series is arranged in four subseries: A) Chronological Files,
B) Personal Correspondence, C) Alphabetical Files, and D) Letters of Recommendation.
A) The Chronological Files subseries includes incoming and outgoing correspondence from York's office at UCSD at the end of
his tenure as director of UCSD's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. The correspondence files span the years of
1987-1992 and include communications between York and his science colleagues, as well as publishers, media people, and government
B) The Personal Correspondence subseries contains York's personal correspondence while he served as U.S. Ambassador to the
Comprehensive Test Ban talks in Geneva. The series is arranged in chronological order and comprised of letters between York
and his friends, colleagues, and cordial correspondence during the years of 1979-1980.
C) The Alphabetical Files subseries is arranged in alphabetical order by personal or corporate name and contains correspondence
between York and publishers, science colleagues, and academic institutions. The subseries includes paper drafts, reprints,
and brochures on issues concerned with arms control, disarmament problems, and U.S. science and defense policy. The files
contain materials for the years of 1951-1994 and include papers and letters from Richard L. Garwin, Hugh DeWitt, and Daniel
Ellsberg, materials related to the opening of the Carter Center, and correspondence, memorandums, and booklets discussing
the University of California Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.
D) The Letters of Recommendation subseries contains letters of recommendations written by York. These letters are restricted
SERIES 3: ORGANIZATIONS
The ORGANIZATIONS series is arranged in alphabetical order and documents York's affiliation with and service to various private
and governmental agencies, organizations, councils, and committees at the national and international level. The files contain
correspondence, brochures, reports, minutes, meeting summaries, announcements, and photocopies of newspaper clippings. The
files were originally interfiled with materials which now comprise the SUBJECT FILES series and separated to distingush them
from files on organizations for which York did not serve.
SERIES 4: WRITINGS
The WRITINGS series supplements those found in the first accession. The series is arranged in two subseries: A) Books, Articles,
Statements, Speeches, and Reviews; and B) Notes.
A) The Books, Articles, Statements, Speeches, and Reviews subseries is arranged in chronological order and contains manuscripts,
typescripts, reprints, page proofs, and correspondence related to York's published works, congressional testimony and statements,
and speeches. The bulk of material comprises typescripts and reprints of York's articles, as well as correspondence and book
reviews for two of his books -
Advisors: Oppenheimer, Teller and the Superbomb and
Making Weapons, Talking Peace: A Physicist's Journey from Hiroshima to Geneva.
B) The Notes subseries is arranged in alphabetical order and mainly contains preparatory notes for his speeches.
SERIES 5: WRITINGS BY OTHERS
The WRITINGS BY OTHERS series is arranged alphabetically and contains typescripts or reprints of articles concerned with arms
control and disarmament, the history of nuclear weapons development, and science and defense policy.
SERIES 6: COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN - GENEVA - AMBASSADOR
The COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN series contains materials pertaining to York's service as ambassador to the Comprehensive Test
Ban talks in Geneva. The files contain memos, agendas, delegates names, internal communications notes, summaries of meetings,
reports, papers, meeting announcements, invitations to receptions, personnel policies, and periodicals.
SERIES 7: SUBJECT FILES
The SUBJECT FILES series is arranged in alphabetical order and includes reports, articles, correspondence, memorandums, news
releases, photocopies of newspaper clippings, statements, brochures, and photocopies of archival materials related to the
history of nuclear arms development and disarmament issues.
RACE TO OBLIVION RESEARCH MATERIALS
RACE TO OBLIVION RESEARCH MATERAILS is arranged in four subseries: A) Chapter Notes, B) Subject Files, C) People and Personalities, and D)
Miscellaneous Reference Materials.
A) The Chapter Notes subseries contains an outline for Chapter IV-VII, bibliographic references, book assistants' notes, and
B) The Subject Files subseries is arranged in alphabetical order and contains reference materials on various topics in nuclear
arms development and disarmament.
C) The People and Personalities subseries contains notes and reference materials on key science and public leaders who played
a significant role in nuclear arms development and disarmament. The files are arranged in alphabetical order by surname.
D) The Miscellaneous Reference Materials subseries, arranged in York's numeric order, contains miscellaneous reference materials
that were found in folders with book materials.
SERIES 9: ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES
The ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES series contains the originals of brittle or high acid content documents that have
Herbert Frank York was born on November 24, 1921, in Rochester, New York. He earned B.A. and M.S. degrees at the University
of Rochester in 1942 and 1945, and the Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, in 1949, all in experimental physics.
His early career as a physicist and military science advisor (1943-58) focused on the development of nuclear weapons, while
his later career as an advisor, consultant and professor have focussed on disarmament.
In 1943, while still a graduate student, York was recruited by the University of California Radiation Laboratory to work on
uranium production for the Manhattan Project. After the war, York finished his graduate work at UC Berkeley in 1949, and in
1950, with Hugh Bradner, planned and designed Operation Greenhouse, the atomic test at Eniwetok for diagnostic measurements
of atomic blast. The following year he joined the physics faculty of UC Berkeley.
In 1952, E. O. Lawrence asked York to prepare plans for a new weapons development laboratory, today known as Lawrence Livermore
Laboratory. Following Atomic Energy Commission approval for the lab, York served as director of the lab from 1952-1958. It
was during this period that he began informing U.S. defense policy-makers, serving on Army, Air Force and Defense Department
advisory groups (1953-57: USAF Science Advisory Board; 1955-58: Secy Defense Ballistic Missile Advisory Committee; 1956-58:
US Army Science Advisory Panel). York left Livermore for Washington, D.C., in 1958 to accept two positions within the Office
of the Secretary of Defense: Director of Defense Research and Engineering and the Chief Scientist of the Advanced Research
Project's Agency (ARPA, later known as DARPA). Before leaving Washington, York also served as the youngest member on Eisenhower's
Presidential Science Advisory Committee (1957-1958). He served on PSAC again under Johnson in 1964-68.
In 1961, York returned to the west coast to become the first chancellor of the University of California, San Diego. After
moving to UCSD, York maintained his involvement in high-level defense policy-making. President Kennedy appointed York to the
General Advisory Committee of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (USACDA) in 1962, a position he held until
1969. He has been on the board of trustees of two not-for-profit think tanks since the 1960s, the Aerospace Corporation and
the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). York acted also as an advisor to IDA's JASON division, a high-level science advisory
group that York helped establish as Chief Scientist of ARPA in the late 1950s. York returned to Washington, D.C., (1977-81)
to be a senior consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 1977-1981 and served on the Defense Science Board in
1978-1981. During the Carter Administration, York served as U.S. ambassador to the Comprehensive Test Ban talks (1978-80).
At UCSD, York's tenure as UCSD chancellor was brief. He stepped down from the post in 1964, preferring to join the physics
faculty. In 1969-1970, he was dean of graduate studies and in 1970-1972 was re-appointed as acting chancellor after William
McGill's departure from that position until the appointment of William McElroy. York set up a program at UCSD called Science,
Technology and Public Affairs to teach about and do research related to the arms race. After his four-year leave in Washington,
D.C., York was appointed director of UCSD's Institute on Global Conflict on Cooperation, whose mission is "...to promote academic
study of peace and security issues on all campuses of the university." York retired in 1988 and is currently director emeritus.
He has written three books on his experiences as a defense advisor,
Race to Oblivion (1970),
The Advisors (1976), and
Making Weapons, Talking Peace (1987).
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Herbert F. York Papers, MSS 107. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Merit reviews and letters of recommendation are restricted until 2050. Audio-visual materials are also restricted. Researchers
must request user copies be produced.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Bethe, Hans Albrecht, 1906-
Killian, James Rhyne, 1904-
Kistiakowsky, George B., (George Bogdan), 1900-
University of California, San Diego -- History -- Archives
Weisskopf, Victor Frederick, 1908-2002
Wiesner, Jerome B., (Jerome Bert), 1915-1994
Arms race--History--20th century
Nuclear arms control
Nuclear weapons -- History
Physics -- Study and teaching
United States -- Defenses -- History