Robert J. C. Butow papers, approximately 1950-2001  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Butow, Robert J. C. (Robert Joseph Charles), 1924-
Robert J. C. Butow papers
approximately 1950-2001 (inclusive)
41.67 cubic feet (37 boxes including textual materials, sound cassettes, floppy and zip disks, and video cassettes)
Collection Number
5978 (Accession No. 5978-001)
Research materials and drafts of books and articles of a history professor at the University of Washington
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Paper-based materials are open to all users. Digital and analog media is closed until processed/evaluated. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Records stored off-site; advance notice required for use.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Robert Joseph Charles Butow (born March 19, 1924) is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Washington. Robert Butow was born in San Mateo, California. He attended college at Stanford University, where he was a member of the Army Reserve, and a student of the Japanese language. He received his A.M. in 1948 and Ph.D. in 1953, both from Stanford. Butow was an instructor in history from 1954 to 1959, and an Assistant Professor from 1959 to 1960 at Princeton University in New Jersey. He joined the faculty of the University of Washington as an associate professor in 1960, then became a full professor in 1966 and professor emeritus in 1990. He held a joint appointment with the UW's Jackson School of International Studies.

When his Army Reserve unit was activated, Butow was selected to attend the Army Japanese Language School. He served in the United States Army during the early months of the occupation of Japan in 1945 and 1946, and became interested in Japanese history and culture. Upon his discharge as a second lieutenant, he returned to Stanford. His doctoral thesis on the Japanese surrender (Japan's Decision to Surrender) was subsequently published as his first book. His next book, Tojo and the Coming of the War, was a biography of Hideki Tōjō, the prime minister of Japan during most of World War II. His third book (The John Doe Associates: Backdoor Diplomacy for Peace, 1941) was about a small group of Americans who, without diplomatic authority, tried to promote peace with Japan before 1941, but only ended up worsening relations between the two nations. Butow worked for many years on a history of Franklin Roosevelt and the war in the Pacific, but was unable to complete the book due to illness.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection primarily consists of research materials and drafts for Butow's books and articles. A large proportion of the collection consists of research files and drafts for Butow's unpublished history of Franklin Roosevelt and the Asia Pacific War. Included are copies of the "FDR tapes" from the Roosevelt Presidential Library that Butow is credited with bringing to light.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Preservation Note

Records stored off-site; advance notice required for use.

Acquisition Information

Reiko Hurvitz, November 30, 2012; Stephanie Butow, April 9, 2013.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
1 "FDR Tapes"
1 Japan/FDR Research Materials
1 John Doe Associates Materials
1 "Thar She Spaouts..." Materials
2 FDR/Japan Research Material
2 Misc Research Materials
3 FDR Materials
3 "Surprise" Research Materials
3 Misc Research Materials
4 "A Notable Passage to China" Papers
4 "A Notable Passage to China" Research Materials
5 Research & Course Materials
6 Research & Course Materials
7 Research Materials
7 "Death of an Emperor" Papers
8 Research & Course Materials
9 Research Materials
10 Research Materials
10 Naval History
10 PHA Papers `
11 Military Testimonies
11 Japan Research Materials
12 Course Materials
12 Whaling & "Thar She Spaouts..." Materials
13 Course Materials
13 Japan Research Materials
14 Bibliographic Information Japan/FDR
15 Tojo Correspondence
15 Japan Research Materials
16 Tojo Research Materials
16 John Doe Associates Manuscripts
17 John Doe Associates Illustrations
17 "A Notable Passage to China" Correspondence
17 The Surrender of Japan Research Materials
17 Course Materials
18 Navy and the Sea
18 Oral Histories
18 Pearl Harbor Attack Materials
18 FDR Research Materials
19 FDR Research Materials
20 FDR Manuscripts & Materials
21 FDR Materials & Correspondence
22 FDR Manuscripts & Materials
22 "A Notable Passage to China" Papers
23 "The 'Magic' Road to Pearl Harbor" Materials
23 FDR Research Materials
24 FDR Research Materials
25 FDR Research Materials
25 FDR Photos & Illustrations
26 FDR/Japan Research Material
27 FDR Research Materials
27 FDR/Japan Chronological Files
27 FDR/Japan Alphabetical Files
28 FDR/Japan Alphabetical Files
28 FDR Research Materials
29 FDR Research Materials
29 "FDR Tapes" on Cassette Tapes
29 "FDR Tapes" on VHS Tapes
29 Floppy Disks of Manuscripts
30 FDR Research Materials
30 Pearl Harbor Attack Materials
30 Research Materials
30 "A Notable Passage to China" Research Materials
31 FDR Research Materials
31 "Thar She Spaouts..." Galley Proofs & Working Copies
31 Whaling Ships Log Books
31 Japan/Pearl Harbor Research Materials
31 "The 'Magic' Road to Pearl Harbor" Materials
32 National Archives Research Materials
32 "The 'Magic' Road to Pearl Harbor" Materials
32 FDR Research Materials
32 Delano family/Fairhaven research materials
33 FDR Research Materials
33 "A Notable Passage to China" Research Materials
33 FDR Research Materials
33 Groton School Archival Materials
33 "The 'Magic' Road to Pearl Harbor" Materials
33 Drafts of FDR Manuscript Chapters
34 Japan Research Materials
34 "Surprise" Research Materials
34 FDR Research Materials
34 Groton School Archival Materials
34 "Surprise" Research Materials
35 Bibliographies, references, and index
36 FDRL 2000-2002
37 FDRL Research visit 2000-2001

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Armed Forces--Officers--Archives
  • Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941--Sources
  • University Archives/Faculty Papers (University of Washington)
  • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Ocean--Sources
  • World War, 1939-1945--Japan--Sources

Personal Names

  • Butow, Robert J. C. (Robert Joseph Charles), 1924- --Archives
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--Archives

Corporate Names

  • University of Washington. Department of History--Faculty--Archives

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • University of Washington. University Archives (host institution)