Skip to main content

Ben Barber papers

Identifier: Ben Barber papers

Scope and Contents

The Ben Barber papers consist of story proposals, journalism and poetry notebooks, and news service copy; correspondence between Barber, fellow journalists, editors and friends; photographs that accompany his work as a journalist and senior editor for USAID; personal papers from his time as a student and professor. Throughout his career as a journalist Barber focused on social injustice, economic policy and conflict in developing countries and beyond.


  • 1960 - 2014

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

Born in Warwick, England in 1944, Ben Barber immigrated to the United States with his Czech parents and grew up in Bronx, NY as a child. He attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature in 1964. After graduation, Barber attended the Sorbonne in Paris for one year and received a certificate in French Language and Literature in 1965. Focusing his attention on writing and poetry he traveled to Asia, North Africa and Europe. In the mid-1970’s Barber began submitting features for publication. He returned to school to earn a Master’s degree in Journalism from Boston University in 1979. Beginning in 1982 he worked as a freelance foreign correspondent for the Washington Times, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and many international publications. In 1987, he was awarded a Gannett Fellowship in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii. He worked for UPI as an international desk editor from 1989 to 1990. He was promoted to State Department Bureau Chief and Assistant Foreign Editor at the Washington Times in 1994 and it was during this tenure that Barber was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for pieces on the Hmong people in Laos and America. He covered foreign affairs, economic development, conflict, health, and politics while at the Washington Times. He travelled with President Clinton to the Middle East peace talks and later with Secretary Powell until 2002. From 2002 until 2010, Barber was a senior writer for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and was the editorial director of Frontlines, their monthly newsletter. While working for USAID, Barber reported on and photographed aid projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, among others. In 2010 Barber began working as a foreign correspondent for the Huffington Post and the McClatchy Newspapers. His book Groundtruth: Work, Play and Conflict in the Third World was published in 2014. Over the years Barber worked as an adjunct international communications professor at George Mason University and Georgetown University and taught media seminars to journalists in Africa.


25 Cubic Feet (20 records storage cartons, 13 clamshell boxes, 2 document boxes)

80.6 Gigabytes : Digital photographs

Language of Materials



Writings, notebooks, correspondence and photographs document Barber’s work as an international journalist from the late 1970’s to 2014; materials are included from Trinity, as are the notebooks of poetry he wrote after graduation (1962-1979); also included are materials from the United States Agency for International Development, where Barber was a senior writer and editorial director of Frontlines (2002-2010)


Arranged in 8 series: Series 1. Writings, 1975-2015; Series 2. Poetry, 1960-1979; Series 3. Biographical and personal, 1962-2012; Series 4. United States Agency for International Development, 2002-2010; Series 5. Photographs, 1965-2014; Series 6. Journalism Notebooks, 1975-2013; Series 7. Teaching and Workshop Materials, 1992-2002; Series 8. Published Materials and Press Clippings, 1978-2014.

Processing Information

Processed by Jennifer Hayner
Guide to the Ben Barber papers
Jennifer Hayner
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Watkinson Library Manuscripts Repository

Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106