Everett F. Drumright Collection
Scope and Contents
FULL FINDING AID (PDF)
U.S. Ambassador. Personal correspondence (1944-2002), speeches (1954-1976), and personal records of Everett F. Drumright, including an outline and notes for Drumright's autobiography, and miscellaneous writings by his wife, Florence Teets Drumright. The collection also contains printed matter on Chinese history and culture, Taiwan, and Hong Kong; and seven photograph albums and scrapbooks (1950-1984) documenting Drumright's life and career as U.S. ambassador to China.
- Creation: 1935-2002
Restrictions on Access
Open for public research. This collection is located at the Library Service Center. Request via Sooner Xpress to view at the Western History Collections.
Biographical / Historical
Everett Francis Drumright was born in 1906, in Drumright, Oklahoma. His father, Aaron Hatcher Drumright, was one of the founders of Drumright, Oklahoma for whom the town was named. Everett graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1929 with a degree in business and within a year had joined the U.S. Foreign Service. He served his first probationary tour in Juarez, Mexico and was then sent to China to study the Chinese language. After his studies in Peking, he was transiting through Shanghai while enroute to Hankow in February 1932, when he was caught in the crossfire between Chinese troops and Japanese forces which were attempting to overrun China. He later served in Nanking, Chungking, and Shanghai between 1932 and 1941. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese less than a week after he arrived in Shanghai and spent over six months in an internment camp. He and other American officials were released only when the Americans and Japanese agreed to an exchange of diplomats. After a brief stay in Washington D.C., Drumright returned to West China in January 1943 and remained there until 1944. He was then assigned to Washington D.C. once again and was reassigned to Tokyo, Japan as Deputy to the Political Affairs Division of General MacArthur’s headquarters. He stayed in Japan for only amonth before he was sent to Korea where he helped establish the U.S. Embassy to the new Korean government. When fighting broke out with North Korea, he was instrumental in evacuating more than 600 American civilians from Seoul, placing them on commercialvessels bound for Japan. Then he helped the American Ambassador load up his car with official documents, and the two of them followed the Korean government to safety in the south. Drumright’s career took him to India for two years, before he finally returned to Washington D.C. where he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs. He served as Consul General to Hong Kong from 1954 to 1958. The highlight and culmination of his 31-year career came in 1958 when he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of China on Taiwan. During his four years in Taiwan, Drumright was the official channel between Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek during the crisis over Quemoy and Matsu, two small islands off the coast of China. Everett Drumright retired from the Foreign Service in 1962 and spent the remainder of his life sharing his Asian expertise and knowledge with government officials, including President Nixon, and interested private citizens. He and his wife led several tour groups to Taiwan and Asia to introduce them to Asian culture. He died in 1993 at Poway, California at the age of 86.
Florence Mae (Teets) Drumright [also known by her pen name, Florence Bergen] was born in 1915, in Milledgeville, Illinois. She was the daughter of George Bergen Teets, a harness maker. In 1942, she graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Florence later attended Columbia University in New York City. She lived and worked in New York City as a public relations representative for Boeing Airplane Company until after World War II. She was the first woman to fly in the B-29 during its first press flight. She later worked at the New York Times before becoming a feature and travel writer for the Christian Science Monitor. For years she spent six months in New York and six months on the skyways and highways of the world, specializing in aviation articles. In 1953, she published a book titled, She's Going Abroad; HerPocket Advisor, a travel guide for women. Her writing also appeared in other newspapers and magazines. In March of 1955, while in the Philippines working on a series on women’s travel for the Christian Science Monitor, she met Everett Drumright, or “Drum” as she called him. After several meetings, she agreed to look him up when she arrived at Hong Kong, the next stop on her agenda. Friends would later joke that she had stopped in Hong Kong to pick up her M-A-I-L and came out with a M-A-L-E. They were married three months later in Tokyo, Japan. For the next eight years, Florence played Foreign Service wife to her diplomat husband, entertaining world-renowned guests in her home. In 1961, she published a novel titled The Men Who Loved Lucinda, under her pen-name Florence Bergen. The “stream of consciousness” novel was never widely popular or well-known. After Drumright’s retirement, the couple often led art and cultural tours to China and other locations in Asia. In 1969, Florence published her third book titled Taiwan, Eden in Asiaunder the name Florence Drumwright [instead of Drumright]. Everett and Florence Drumright donated art pieces consisting of 70 Chinese paintings and calligraphy, which among them 26 were done mostly by masters of the 1950s and '60s in Taiwan, to the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. After Drumright’s death, Florence endowed two scholarships, one at the University of Illinois at Chicago and one at the University of Oklahoma, to enable American-born Chinese students to study their cultural heritage. Florence died at Cape Coral, Florida in 2003, at the age of 88.
6 Cubic Feet (6 ft.)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Papers: Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--2003.
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
Part of the Western History Collections Repository
Monnet Hall, 3rd Floor
630 Parrington Oval
Norman Oklahoma 73019