This collection is made up of about 140 letters that New York resident Emerson C. Ives wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt, United States congressmen and public officials, and several newspaper editors between 1932 and 1970. Ives provided his opinions on a variety of contemporary issues, such as Roosevelt's economic policies during the Great Depression, the Lend-Lease program, solutions for the aftermath of World War II, and the presence of United States forces in Vietnam in the late 1960s. Some newspaper clippings, including reprints of Ives's editorials, are present in the collection.
The bulk of the collection consists of retained copies and drafts of Ives's outgoing correspondence regarding domestic and international political issues affecting the United States in the mid-20th century. Ives pasted around 90 of the letters in a scrapbook, most of which were written between 1932 and 1945; he also added newspaper clippings. He sent essays to several New York newspaper editors, particularly to those at the Sun, Herald-Tribune, and New York Times. Many correspondents sent brief notes acknowledging the receipt of Ives's letters and commenting on his views.
Ives, who worked for a Wall Street firm, frequently commented on economic affairs throughout the Great Depression, and often attacked President Roosevelt's policies, including the New Deal. In his earliest letters, he defended the character of Wall Street brokers, and shared his belief that they were not solely to blame for the economic crisis. He also discussed the gold and silver currency standards and the presidential elections of 1936 and 1940. Later in the 1930s, he wrote about the Lend-Lease program, and, in at least one letter (December 12, 1940), he directly advocated support for Great Britain's military efforts against Nazi Germany. During the war, Ives offered his opinions on how the United States should treat Germany after the war, and dismissed Russia's potential as a postwar military threat. In 1943, he also voiced his opposition to a threatened railroad strike. After the war, he wrote less frequently, but continued to comment on economic and military affairs, such as a proposal to ensure universal military training in the United States. During the late 1960s, Ives strongly advocated the unconditional removal of U. S. troops from Vietnam, and in one letter he anticipated China's potential as a dominant international political force (February 3, 1970).