Skip to main content

Carroll Binder papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Binder

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence, manuscript drafts and clippings of Binder's foreign dispatches and columns, notebooks, personal and family materials, and photographs.

Binder was a revealing letter writer and his correspondence with Daily News colleagues such as Charles Dennis, Paul Scott Mowrer, Helen Kirkpatrick, and Hal O'Flaherty are of particular interest. He went into great detail in describing his struggles with newspaper leadership to maintain the integrity of his work. His writing itself is impassioned and left-leaning. Clippings, notebooks, and drafts vividly chronicle the changing world of the first half of the 20th Century.

Family and personal papers, including diaries and correspondence with his wife Dorothy, reveal Binder to be as impassioned about his family as his work.


  • Creation: 1910-1984
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1920-1955



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Carroll Binder papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Carroll Binder papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of Carroll Binder

Newspaper correspondent, editor, and editorial writer.

Abner Carroll Binder was born on February 20, 1896 in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, to James I. and Emma Flohr Binder. His mother died when he was three and he was subsequently raised by family friends. He attended the York Academy preparatory school, the University of Pennsylvania, and then Harvard where he graduated cum laude in 1916 with a degree in philosophy and social ethics. Binder was a self-made man and supported himself throughout his college career with a variety of odd jobs including selling ice cream, pretzels, and aluminum siding. He spent one year doing post graduate work in the Harvard Divinity School, supporting himself as a librarian at the Harvard Club of Boston. Binder was raised in the Quaker faith, and chose to serve with the American Friends Service Committee, the Quaker unit of American Red Cross in France and Belgium caring for civilian refugees during 1917-1919. It was there that he met his future wife, Dorothy Walton of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Binder began his newspaper career covering labor issues. He helped launch the Minnesota Daily Star, a paper organized by labor unions and non-partisan league farmers. Throughout 1920 he wrote for the Courier News in Fargo, North Dakota and for the Federated Press, a co-operative, labor oriented newsgathering association. He joined the Chicago Daily News staff in 1922 as a reporter on industrial relations and sociological topics and in 1925 and 1926 was assigned his first foreign stories covering the Nicaraguan revolution and other Latin American developments. In 1927 he was permanently appointed to the Chicago Daily News foreign service and worked as a correspondent in Italy, Russia and England until 1931. Upon Walter Strong's death in 1931, Binder was called back to Chicago to become editorial assistant to new Daily News publisher Frank Knox. In 1936 Binder became director of the Daily News foreign service, and for the next eight years he oversaw worldwide, award winning news coverage leading up to and during World War II.

In 1945, amidst another change in ownership, he left the Chicago Daily News to become editor of the editorial pages of the Minneapolis Tribune. He also wrote a regular column on world affairs and visited both the Pacific and European war theatres to cover the war firsthand. He lectured extensively at universities and colleges on world affairs and freedom of the press, and became especially impassioned about the Zionist movement which he opposed. In 1949 he was appointed to the United Nations Sub-Commission on Freedom of Information and the Press. He often appeared on radio as a commentator and in 1952 contributed a particularly popular segment to Edward R. Murrow's This I Believe radio program.

He married wife Dorothy Walton Binder in 1920 and they had four children, Carroll Binder, Jr., Mary Kelsey, and twins David and Deborah. His son Carroll Jr. was killed in action over France during World War II. His death was the source of considerable despair for Binder and his wife as governmental bureaucracy prevented him from being declared dead for several months. Binder never truly recovered from the loss. He succumbed suddenly to leukemia at age 60.


22 Linear Feet (55 boxes and oversize volumes and folders)


Correspondence, writing, personal and family materials, and photographs of newspaper editor and foreign correspondent Carroll Binder.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Outgoing Correspondence, 1917-1956
Boxes 1-16
Series 2: Incoming Correspondence, 1913-1957
Boxes 17-25
Series 3: Works, 1919-1957
Boxes 26-40
Series 4: Personal, 1910-1956
Boxes 41-43
Series 5: Family, 1912-1967
Boxes 44-51
Series 6: Photographs, 1912-1955
Box 52

Collection Stack Location

1 5 6-7


Gift of Dorothy Walton Binder, 1960.

Processed by

Amy Nyholm, 1960, Lisa Janssen and Shannon Yule, 2007.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Carroll Binder papers, 1910-1984, bulk 1920-1955
Lisa Janssen and Shannon Yule
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2011-08-09: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States