Collections of Former Members of Congress
The following collections are made up of primary source materials created in the day-to-day operations of each former member's congressional office, such as manuscript materials, correspondence, legislative documents, photographs, etc. Many of the collections also include materials from the member's lives outside of congress including other elected offices, governmental appointments, and personal/family papers.
A brief outline of each collection can be found below as well as a link to a more detailed description of the collection and its contents.
All of the materials are free and open to the public for use - any time-based restrictions are listed below.
Collection Coverage: 1910-1998 (bulk 1946-1998)
Carl Albert served as the representative of Oklahoma's 3rd District to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947-1977. During the last three terms, he was the Speaker of the House. Known as the "Little Giant from Little Dixie," Albert ascended to the highest national political office ever occupied by an Oklahoman.
Collection Coverage: 1939-2002 (bulk 1985-2002)
Richard Keith “Dick” Armey served as the congressman from the 26th District of Texas from January 3, 1985, to January 3, 2003. In December 1992, Armey ascended to the leadership of the House Republican Conference—the third-ranking leadership position for the House GOP—and later became the House Majority Leader. He also chaired the Select Committee on Homeland Security after the September 11th attacks.
Collection Coverage: 1919-1978 (bulk 1963-1978)
Bartlett's political career began in 1962 with election to the Oklahoma state senate. In 1966, he succeeded Henry Bellmon to become Oklahoma's second Republican governor. Six years later, after failing in his bid for a second term as governor, he defeated Congressman Ed Edmondson in a race for a United States Senate seat, a post Bartlett held until 1978.
Collection Coverage: 1951-1972 (bulk 1951-1972)
Page Belcher first entered politics as a county clerk of Garfield County in 1934. From 1951-1973 he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, first for Oklahoma's now-defunct 8th District, then its 1st District. He sat on the Agriculture Committee for his entire tenure as a congressman, becoming its ranking Republican member. He also played a role in the creation of the Arkansas River Navigation System.
Collection Coverage: 1946-1950 (bulk 1949-1950)
Voters first elected Andrew J. Biemiller to represent Wisconsin's 5th District in 1944. He lost his seat in the House in the 1946 election, only to win it back in 1948. During his second term he served as a member of the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee. Between these terms, he served as a member of the 1948 DNC platform committee, in which he was credited with drafting the civil rights plank introduced by Hubert Humphrey.
Collection Coverage: 2005-2013
Daniel Boren served Oklahoma’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2005 until 2013. While in office, he served on the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Natural Resources, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is currently president of corporate development with the Chickasaw Nation.
The Daniel Boren Papers are currently closed.
Collection Coverage: 1979-1994
David Boren represented Oklahoma in the U.S. Senate from 1979 until 1994. While in the Senate, he served on numerous prominent committees, including the Select Committee on Intelligence, which he chaired from 1987 to 1993. As a strong advocate for education and national security, he sponsored the National Security Education Act of 1991, which created the National Security Education Program (NSEP). Following his retirement from the Senate, he became president of the University of Oklahoma (OU). He is the only person to have served as Governor of Oklahoma, a U.S. Senator, and the President of OU.
The David Boren Papers are currently closed.
Collection Coverage: 1885-1946 (bulk 1933-1946)
Lyle H. Boren served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1937 until 1947. During his five terms in Congress, he became involved in a range of issues, including: cancer research, pensions, the Civil Aeronautics Board, consumer product labeling, and labor strikes. He attracted national attention for his criticism of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, calling it a "dirty, lying, filthy manuscript."
Collection Coverage: 1991-1997
William Brewster first entered politics in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he served from 1984 until 1990. In 1990, Oklahoma’s 3rd District elected him to the U.S. House of Representatives. He held that seat until 1997, when he retired from Congress.
The William Brewster Papers are currently closed.
Collection Coverage: 1967-1974
John N. Happy Camp first entered politics as a state house representative in 1942. He left the legislature in 1962 to seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination, a bid that ultimately failed. He then served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1969 to 1975. Camp's most notable committee service was on the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee and the Science and Astronautics Committee.
Collection Coverage: 1898-1951 (bulk 1909-1951)
Wilburn Cartwright was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1914. In 1918, he secured a seat in the state senate, where he served until 1922. He then represented Oklahoma’s 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1927 to 1943. During his eight terms in Congress, he served as chairman of the Committee on Roads and sat on the House Committee for Indian Affairs.
Collection Coverage: 1917-1937 (bulk 1917-1919)
Thomas A. Chandler represented Oklahoma’s 1st District in Congress from 1916 until 1918. Defeated in 1918, he ran again in 1920 and was reelected. While in the House, Chandler served on the Indian Affairs, Alcoholic Liquor Traffic, and Ways and Means Committees.
Collection Coverage: 1959-1971
Jeffery Cohelan served in the U.S. House as the Representative of California's 7th District from 1959 to 1971. During Cohelan's tenure in the House, he served on the Armed Services, Appropriations, and the District of Columbia Committees. He also sponsored legislation for the creation of Redwood National Park in northern California and ending the importation of migrant farm labor from Mexico.
Collection Coverage: 1909-1958 (bulk 1931-1944)
Wesley E. Disney began his political career in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he served from 1919 to 1924. He then represented Oklahoma’s 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1931 until 1945. There, he was on the Banking and Currency Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee, making him known as "watchdog of the Treasury."
Collection Coverage: 1922-1980 (bulk 1940-1951)
Helen Gahagan Douglas began her professional career on the Broadway stage. She then worked with the Farm Security Administration and later was elected Democratic National Committeewoman from California. In 1944, she was elected to represent California's 14th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Six years later she unsuccessfully opposed Richard M. Nixon in a general election for the U.S. Senate.
Collection Coverage: 1958-1964
J. Howard Edmondson became governor of Oklahoma in 1959. As governor, he helped establish a state merit system and mechanisms for central purchasing. In 1963, he resigned from his post as governor in order to accept an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat that had been vacated after Robert S. Kerr’s unexpected death. However, after serving his one-year appointment Edmondson then lost in a democratic primary election to Fred R. Harris in 1964, who then finished the remainder of Kerr’s term.
Collection Coverage: 1977-1992
Marvin Henry "Mickey" Edwards represented Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District from 1977 to 1993. He was appointed to the Appropriations Committee in 1981. By 1985 he had become the ranking Republican on the Military Construction Subcommittee and later the ranking member on the Foreign Operations Subcommittee. In 1987, he was given a seat on the Budget Committee.
Collection Coverage: 1975-1994
Glenn Lee English, Jr. represented Oklahoma’s 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1994. During his time in the House, English sat on the Agriculture and Government Operations Committees. He also served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. Originally viewed as a moderate, he became one of the most conservative Democrats among southern members and often voted against the party leadership.
Collection Coverage: 1975-1980
Millicent Hammond Fenwick’s congressional service began in 1975. She represented New Jersey's 5th District, which included the cities of Morristown, Princeton, and Raritan. Three successful reelection campaigns followed. In 1982, however, she left her House seat to make a bid for one of New Jersey's United States Senate seats, a race she ultimately lost.
Collection Coverage: 1931-1978 (bulk 1950-1967)
Phillip C. Ferguson represented Oklahoma's 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1935 to 1941. In Congress, he sponsored the 1936 Flood Control Act that authorized the construction of dams to conserve Oklahoma's waters and protect it from both flood and drought. In 1950, he entered the race for governor of Oklahoma. As a self-described "Eisenhower Democrat," he finished last in the four-man primary. Shortly thereafter, he changed his party registration to become a Republican.
Collection Coverage: 1994-1997
Michael P. Flanagan entered Illinois politics in 1994, when he defeated 18-term Congressman Dan Rostenkowski. His victory in that race made him the first Republican to represent part of Chicago since 1967. In Congress, Flanagan served on the House Judiciary Committee, the House Government Reform Committee, and the Joint Committee on Telecommunications. In 1996, he lost his bid for reelection to Democrat Rod Blagojevich.
The Michael P. Flanagan Papers are currently closed.
Collection Coverage: 1953-1972 (bulk 1963-1972)
Cornelius E. Gallagher represented New Jersey's 13th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1958 until 1973. During his fourteen years in the House, Gallagher was a member of the Foreign Affairs and Government and Operations Committees and at times chaired the following subcommittees: Asian and Pacific Affairs, International Organizations and Movements, and Invasion of Privacy.
Collection Coverage: 1904-1946
Milton Gline Garber was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 8th District of Oklahoma in 1923. Garber remained in the House until 1933. While in Congress, he served on the following committees: Expenditures in the Interior Department, Indian Affairs, Irrigation and Reclamation, Public Buildings and Grounds, Roads, and Interstate and Foreign Commerce.
Collection Coverage: 1924-1942
Percy L. Gassaway represented Oklahoma’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1935 until 1937. As a congressman, Gassaway was known as "Judge" and the "Cowboy Congressman." He was a firm supporter of the New Deal and of Franklin Roosevelt. Gassaway was defeated by Lyle Boren during the Democratic Party primary of 1936.
Collection Coverage: 1901-1945
Lorraine M. Gensman served Oklahoma’s 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1921 until 1923. During Gensman’s single term, he sat on on Indian Affairs and Insular Affairs Committees. In 1922, he was defeated by Elmer Thomas.
Collection Coverage: 1890-1948 (bulk 1930-1940)
Thomas Gore became one of Oklahoma’s first U.S. Senators after the territory became a state in 1907. His first term lasted only one year, but he was reelected for two full terms. Although he lost his renomination bid in 1920, he remained active in the political arena and did serve one more term in the Senate from 1931-1937. He was the grandfather of writer Gore Vidal.
Collection Coverage: 1913-1926
John W. Harreld entered Oklahoma politics in 1919, when he was elected to represent Oklahoma's 5th District in a special election. He was then elected to the U.S. Senate in 1920, where he served one term. Harreld was a member of the committees on Agriculture and Forestry, Claims, Post Offices and Post Roads, and Public Buildings and Grounds. He also chaired the Indian Affairs Committee.
Collection Coverage: 1963-1976
Fred R. Harris was first elected to the U.S. Senate after Robert S. Kerr’s unexpected death in 1964. He sat on the Select Committee on Small Business, as well as the Government Operations, Public Works, and Finance Committees. President Lyndon B. Johnson named him to the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (Kerner Commission) in the summer of 1967 and he was deeply involved in urban affairs and race relations.
Collection Coverage: 1936-1944
Carl Atwood Hatch served as a United States Senator for New Mexico from 1933 to 1949. A forceful advocate for a federal minimum wage law, anti-racketeering controls, and expansion of the national parks, Hatch also insisted upon reforming the election process. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections for the 77th Congress, Hatch authored and managed the successful adoption of the so-called "Hatch Act."
Collection Coverage: 1993-2007
Ernest Istook Jr. represented Oklahoma’s 5th District in the U.S. Congress from 1993 to 2007. During his seven terms in offices, he served on the Appropriations Committee, along with the Homeland Security Committee. He also helped reestablish the Republican Study Committee. After leaving Congress, he became a Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
The Ernest Istook Jr. Papers are currently closed.
Collection Coverage: 1888-1963
Jed Johnson served in the Oklahoma State Senate from 1920 to 1927. During this period, he actively participated in the Democratic Party on the national level. He was elected to represent Oklahoma’s 6th District in 1927 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives until 1947. Appointed to the U.S. Customs Court in 1947, Mr. Johnson served in that position until his death in New York City on May 8, 1963.
Collection Coverage: 1965-1997 (bulk 1973-1986)
James Robert Jones represented Oklahoma’s 1st District in Congress from 1973 to 1986. Jones sat on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees. He was particularly influential during the budget crises of the early 1980s. After Jones left electoral politics, President Clinton appointed him Ambassador to Mexico in 1993, a post he held until 1997.
Collection Coverage: 1909-1963 (bulk 1931-1962)
Robert S. Kerr first entered politics as Oklahoma's governor in 1942. He left the governor's office in 1947 and one year later won his first bid to the U.S. Senate. Kerr was reelected to two more terms. He served on several key committees, most notably the Finance and Public Works Committees. His legacy includes a series of water projects, including dams and the Arkansas Navigational System.
Collection Coverage: 1994-2002
Steven Largent is a former professional football player who represented Oklahoma’s 1st District in Congress from 1994 through 2002. He initially sought a seat in Congress after Jim Inhofe resigned to seek Senator David Boren’s post.
The Steven Largent Collection is currently closed.
Collection Coverage: 1928-1966
Josh Lee represented Oklahoma's 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1935 to 1937. In 1936, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served until 1943. In the House, Lee served on the Civil Service, Education, Pensions, and World War Veterans' Legislation Committees. In the Senate, he served on the Commerce, Education and Labor, Irrigation and Reclamation, Military Affairs, and Public Lands and Surveys Committees.
Collection Coverage: 1910-1947
James V. McClintic became the first representative of Oklahoma's 7th District, serving from 1915 to 1934. Over this period, he served on numerous committees: Expenditures on Public Buildings, Patents; Public Lands, Ways and Means, and Naval Affairs. "Sunny Jim," as his constituents dubbed him, claimed many congressional firsts, including the introduction of bank deposit guarantee legislation.
Collection Coverage: 1981-1995
Dave McCurdy was elected Oklahoma's 4th District representative to Congress in 1980. He retained this seat until 1995. He was a member of the Armed Services Committee and Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and was Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was also active in the Task Force on Foreign Policy and Defense, Army Caucus, Sunbelt Caucus, Mainstream Forum, House Rural Health Coalition, and was national vice-chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.
U.S. Representative John J. McFall, Democrat of Manteca (Calif.), served eleven terms in Congress (1957-78). McFall was Majority Whip during the 93rd and 94th Congresses and was three times elected Speaker Pro Tempore. His committee assignments included Appropriations, Transportation and Defense.
Collection Coverage: 1903-1909
In 1907, Bird S. McGuire became Oklahoma's 1st District representative to Congress, a position he held until 1915. While in the House, McGuire served on the Committee on Indian Affairs, chaired the Committee on Expenditures in the Indian Department, and chaired the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of Commerce and Labor. In 1915, he declined renomination and returned to his ranch and law practice in Tulsa.
Collection Coverage: 1900-1934
Thomas D. McKeown represented Oklahoma's 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1917 to 1921 and again from 1923 to 1935. McKeown served on numerous committees, including Insular Affairs, Revision of the Laws, Roads, Merchant Marine and Fisheries, and Judiciary. Among McKeown's accomplishments were a pension bill introduced in 1929 and a bankruptcy and debt-relief law.
Collection Coverage: 1946-1968 (bulk 1962-1968)
A. S. Mike Monroney represented Oklahoma's 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1939 until 1951, and represented Oklahoma in the United States Senate from 1951 until 1969. As chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, Monroney wrote and sponsored the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 that created the Federal Aviation Administration.
Collection Coverage: 1880-1920
Dick T. Morgan represented Oklahoma's 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1909 to 1915. He then went on to represent the 8th District from 1915 to 1920. During his congressional career, Morgan served on the following House committees: Expenditures in the Treasury Department, Public Lands, and Judiciary.
Collection Coverage: 1946-1960
Toby Morris was first elected to represent Oklahoma’s 6th District in Congress during 1946. Voters then reelected him in 1948 and 1950. Due to a declining population, the 7th District was combined with the 6th District in the 1952 election. For the next five elections, Morris or Victor Wickersham (the 7th District Democratic incumbent) competed for this seat. Morris was successful in 1956 and 1958. While in office, he served on the following committees: House Administration, Democratic Steering Committee, Public Lands, and Armed Services.
Collection Coverage: 1891-1962 (bulk 1919-1946)
William H. "Alfalfa Bill" Murray first entered Democratic Party politics with the movement for Oklahoma statehood. In 1912, Murray secured one of the state's at-large seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Two years later, he was elected to represent Oklahoma's 4th District. During his four years in Congress, Murray served on three committees: Coinage, Weights, and Measures; Pensions; and Indian Affairs. Known as a debater, Murray opposed segments of the Federal Reserve bill, called for American intervention in Mexico, advocated agricultural education, proposed amendments to the Clayton Anti-Trust bill, and promoted preparedness for American involvement in World War I.
Collection Coverage: 1934-1949 (bulk 1935-1943)
John C. Nichols represented Oklahoma's 2nd District in Congress from 1935 to 1943. He played key roles in legislation concerning Native Americans, soil conservation, pensions, Civilian Conservation Corps camps, and civil aviation. His committee assignments included Claims, the District of Columbia, Rivers and Harbors, Territories, Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Elections No. 3, and Rules.
Collection Coverage: 1913-1946 (bulk 1935-1942)
Robert L. Owen won his bid to become one of Oklahoma’s United States senators in December 1907 and was reelected in 1912 and in 1918. In the Senate, Owen helped draft the Federal Reserve Act and the Farm Loan Act. Owen retired from the U.S. Senate in 1925.
Collection Coverage: 1946-1949
Preston E. Peden represented Oklahoma’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 until 1949. In Congress, Peden served on the Public Lands Committee. He voted for the Taft-Hartley Labor Bill and also voted to override President Truman's veto of that bill. He also supported the Marshall Plan.
Collection Coverage: 1922-1948
William B. Pine served as one of Oklahoma’s U.S. senators from 1925 until 1931. He sat on the Senate's Appropriations, Banking and Currency, and Indian Affairs Committees. He lost the 1930 election to Thomas Pryor Gore.
Collection Coverage: 1900-1935 (bulk 1920-1929)
Joseph C. Pringey represented Oklahoma’s 4th District in U.S. House of Representatives from 1921 to 1923. While in Congress, Pringey secured funding for the Chandler post office building, the rifle range west of Chandler, and the federal building in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He lost his reelection campaign to Thomas D. McKeown in 1922.
Collection Coverage: 1921-1952
George B. Schwabe represented Nowata County in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1919 to 1922 and served as Speaker of the Oklahoma House from 1921-1922. He then represented Oklahoma's 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1945 to 1949 and then from 1951 to 1952. While a member of Congress, Schwabe served on the Appropriations Committee and was the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee for Labor and Federal Security.
Collection Coverage: 1939-1981 (bulk 1948-1980)
Tom Steed represented Oklahoma's 4th District in Congress for 16 terms, starting in 1948. During his thirty-two years in Congress, he served on the Appropriations, Small Business, Public Works, and Education Committees as well as the Transportation Subcommittee and the Subcommittee on Military Construction. His most powerful legislative position was that of chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Treasury and Post Office.
Collection Coverage: 1922-1948 (bulk 1922-1946)
Paul Stewart represented Oklahoma’s 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1943 until 1947. He served on the House Military Affairs Committee. However, he concentrated most of his attention on introducing social security reform and anti-strike bills during and after World War II.
Collection Coverage: 1934-1952 (bulk 1944-1952)
In 1944, William G. Stigler was elected to represent Oklahoma's 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served on several standing committees in the House, including Claims, Flood Control, Indian Affairs, Roads, World War Veterans' Legislation, Public Works, and Appropriations. In 1946, he was also a member of the Select Committee to Investigate Supplies and Shortages of Food, Particularly Meat. Stigler served in Congress until his death on August 22, 1952.
Collection Coverage: 2002-2013
John Sullivan served Oklahoma’s 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2002 until 2013. He served on the Committee on Energy and Commerce. During his time in Congress, he also occupied positions in the House leadership as Assistant Minority Whip.
The John Sullivan Papers are currently partially open.
Collection Coverage: 1979-1995
Mike Synar represented Oklahoma’s 2nd District in Congress from 1979 to 1995. During his eight terms in the House of Representatives, he established a reputation for challenging established interests, such as the tobacco industry. He became most well known for his constitutional challenge to the Gramm-Rudman Act.
Collection Coverage: 1942-1942
A United States Senator from Utah from 1933-1951, Elbert D. Thomas chaired the Military Affairs Committee, in addition to serving on the Education and Labor, Foreign Relations, Mines and Mining, and Pensions Committees. He was a major sponsor of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the Wages and Hours Act of 1938, the Nurses Education bill, and the G.I. Bill of Rights.
Collection Coverage: 1900-1954 (bulk 1927-1950)
Elmer Thomas represented Oklahoma’s 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1923 until 1927. In the House, he served on the House Committee on Public Lands and Claims. In 1927, he began the first of four terms in the Senate, where at various times, he served as the chair of the Agriculture and Forestry Committee, the War Department Appropriations Subcommittee, the Indian Affairs Committee, and the Special Silver Committee.
Collection Coverage: 1995-2003
Julius Caesar Watts served Oklahoma’s 4th District from 1995 until 2003. He served on the House Transportation Committee. At the time, he was the only African-American Republican in the House and delivered his party’s reply to Bill Clinton’s State of the Union address in 1997. He also occupied a position in the party’s leadership, becoming the House Republican Conference Chair in 1998, a post he held in 1999. He chose not to seek reelection in 2002.
The Julius Caesar Watts Papers are currently closed.
Collection Coverage: 1861-1953 (bulk 1985-1937)
In 1912, Claude Weaver was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as one of Oklahoma's three congressmen-at-large. He was on the House Banking and Currency Committee when the Federal Reserve Act was written and signed into law. Losing his bid for reelection in 1914, he returned to Oklahoma. In 1915, he was appointed as the postmaster of Oklahoma City by President Woodrow Wilson.
Collection Coverage: 1938-1956 (bulk 1950-1956)
Victor E. Wickersham served a total of seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He won a special election to fill Oklahoma’s 7th District's congressional seat in 1941. Reelected in 1942 and 1944, he lost his next election to Preston E. Peden. In 1948, he regained the seat he previously held and remained in the House after Oklahoma’s 6th and 7th Districts were combined. He again lost his seat in 1956, but then returned to Congress from 1961 to 1965.
Collection Coverage: 1933-1974
George H. Wilson represented Oklahoma's 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1951. Though he served only one term, Wilson was on the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. As a member of the Subcommittee on Public Health, Science, and Commerce, he and other congressmen were charged with considering legislation for a national health program.