Remarks and Releases, 1941-69
Everett McKinley (1896-1969), Papers
The Remarks and Releases series consists of the following divisions: (1) Remarks, Releases, and Interviews; (2) Model Statements; (3) Republican Congressional Leadership Press Conferences; (4) Congressional Record Index; (4) Radio and Television Stations; (5) “Congressional Front” Preservation Copies; and (6) the Congressional Record.
Remarks, Releases, and Interviews. This section contains drafts and transcripts of speeches, selected remarks in Congress; interviews on radio and television; Republican congressional leadership press releases; Dirksen’s constituent newsletter, “The Congressional Front” (1933-46); radio and television broadcasts to constituents, “Your Senator Reports” (after the mid-1950s); and newspaper columns, “A Senator’s Notebook” (1968-69).
Documents in the remarks, releases, and interviews section before 1949 relate chiefly to “The Congressional Front.” This newsletter included brief observations on many subjects, including legislative issues. Dirksen generally avoided editorial comment or analysis in his newsletter. Other documents predating Dirksen’s Senate career primarily concern his campaigns in 1944 and 1950. This series does not include, for the most part, items appearing in the Congressional Record.
It is also worth noting that Dirksen almost always spoke extemporaneously or from brief outlines. As a result, those remarks that were not recorded or transcribed do not survive. Given the senator’s reputation for oratory, it is unfortunate that his collection contains so little documentation of his speech-making. For example, there are virtually no texts of campaign speeches. The Notebooks series of the collection contains drafts and ideas for speeches personally written by Dirksen. Information about “A Senator’s Notebook” is located in the Personal series, “Writings” subseries.
Topical coverage in this section is extensive and includes the following: Dirksen’s activities, political issues, observations about individuals, pending legislation, domestic and foreign policies, and government operations. The remarks, releases, and interviews are arranged chronologically. A more detailed finding aide listing each document individually follows.
Model Statements. The documents in this section were used by Dirksen’s staff to respond to constituent inquiries. They are organized by subject: bipartisanship, Christmas wish, Constitution and domestic tranquility, biographical, eye problem, freedom, government growth, Lincoln, Pearl Harbor, politics, wars, and youth.
Republican Congressional Leadership Press Conferences. The Dirksen Congressional Center received copies of audio tapes of the “Ev and Charlie” and “Ev and Jerry” shows—press conferences held by the Republican leaders of the Senate and House—from the National Archives. The tapes are shelved with the audiovisual collection. A list of the tapes received is part of this finding aid. Transcripts of these press conferences appear in the separate Republican Congressional Leadership series.
Congressional Record Index. Dirksen’s staff copied references to Dirksen located in the index to the Congressional Record. Because The Center does not have a complete set of the Record, the index is useful to guide additional research. To facilitate use, a copy of the index has been made part of this guide.
Radio and Television Stations (1950-1968). This section contains financial statements, general information, lists of stations carrying Dirksen’s weekly broadcasts, invoices and accounts with the Senate Recording Studio, and correspondence with radio and television stations about such subjects as programming, scheduling, and Federal Communications Commission regulations. The financial statements and general information files are arranged chronologically. Station correspondence is organized alphabetically by name of the town in which the station was located, within each town by call letters, and then chronologically.
“Congressional Front” Preservation Copies. Center staff copied Dirksen’s constituent newsletter, which is filed in the Remarks, Releases, and Interviews series, for preservation purposes. The newsletters were also copied, organized by the following subjects, and placed in the Dirksen Information File: Constitution, the Depression, domestic news, foreign affairs, government role, judicial branch, legislation, legislative branch, liquor, military, miscellaneous, monetary matters, personalities, random notes, Washington happenings, and World War II.
Congressional Record (1951-1965). These bound volumes contain Congressional Record entries only for Dirksen. Note the absence of volumes for the last four years of Dirksen’s Senate service, 1966-1969.
Index to a more detailed finding aid listing each document individually (excluding routine press releases).
Date Reference (left to right):
The Everett McKinley Dirksen Collection consists of five major groups of material: reference volumes, still photographs, audiovisual items, memorabilia, and papers. Each group is described individually in finding aids housed at The Center. Arrangement varies according to type of record.
The Dirksen Papers, the largest of the five divisions, consist predominately of files accumulated during Everett Dirksen's years as a U.S. Senator, 1951-69. Several smaller additions to the main collection include material spanning other years of Dirksen's life.
Major file groups encompass campaigns and politics, public works, legislation, constituent correspondence and casework, patronage, congressional leadership activities, remarks and releases, and clippings. Each of these sections, and smaller ones as well, are described in more detail in The Center's finding aids.
List of Collection Series
4.0 linear shelf feet
Office and personal appointment books and office guest sign-in books.
Chicago Office File, 1880-1972
99.0 linear shelf feet
Constituent casework, Illinois patronage, inter-office memoranda, and, notably, political and campaign files for Dirksen's four Senate campaigns and his other political activities. Includes personal files of the office's director, Harold E. Rainville.
Clippings File, 1930-70
7 linear shelf feet
Dirksen Information file, 1933-present
1 linear shelf foot
Created by Center staff, this file contains copies of articles about Dirksen, the Congressional Record index to his remarks, the New York Times Index of references to him, and the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature citations to Dirksen. For more information about Dirksen, click here for an online version of the bibliographical essay that appears in his memoir, The Education of a Senator.
Dirksen, Louella Carver, 1933-76
2 linear shelf feet
Information regarding Mrs.Dirksen's participation in various service and political organizations, letters of condolence upon Senator Dirksen's death, notes and drafts for The Honorable Mr. Marigold.
Bulk of films are Your Senator Reports, Dirksen's weekly television broadcast. Also documentaries and miscellany. Selected films have been converted to videotape.
Financial Records, 1928-62
2.5 linear shelf feet
Bank statements, canceled checks, invoices, and ledger pages for the most part dealing with political campaigns.
Form Letters, 1951-69
In order to reply to constituents, the Dirksen office created a library of responses arranged alphabetically by subject within each year. Having these online will give viewers a quick snapshot of the legislative workload and, in a sense, Dirksen's style of representation and constituent service. The folder numbers in the list below designate the folders of the Chicago Office File in which the originals are located.
Legislative File, 1933-70
24 linear shelf feet
Copies of bills introduced, co-sponsored, or amended by Dirksen and his voting records.
ca. 1,500 items
Newsletters: Congressional Front, 1933-46
From his first week in office in the House of Representatives through 1946, Congressman Everett Dirksen personally composed and typed weekly newsletters (while Congress was in session) to his constituents in central Illinois. Congressional Front, as it was called, covered the personalities, politics, and policies of Congress and the federal government.
4 linear shelf feet
More than 12,500 pages of outlines and texts, reference materials, and other documents collected by Dirksen and kept in a set of personal notebooks.
Pamphlets and Periodicals, 1916-69
1 linear shelf foot
Patronage, 1939-70 RESTRICTED
4.5 linear shelf feet
Material related to applicants for federal jobs and judicial appointments. Closed to research.
2 linear shelf feet
Scattered correspondence and information about Dirksen's medical condition, memoir, and recordings.
Photographs, ca. 1860-1975
10 linear shelf feet
11 linear shelf feet
Correspondence and material related to Dirksen's campaigns and political activities, including his participation in Republican National Conventions.
Public Works File, 1931-70
55.5 linear shelf feet
The record of federally-funded projects (community projects, depressed areas, highways, and rivers and harbors) in Illinois and Dirksen's involvement in them.
Remarks and Releases, 1941-69
6.0 linear shelf feet
Drafts and transcripts of speeches; selected remarks in Congress (The Center does not have copies of the Congressional Record featuring Dirksen speeches on the floor), interviews of radio and television; Republican leadership press releases; weekly constituent newsletters; transcripts of Your Senator Reports; and, Dirksen's newspaper column. Unfortunately, Dirksen rarely composed his remarks in advance; in many cases no record of them survives.
Republican Leadership File, 1916-69
4.0 linear shelf feet
The Joint Senate-House Republican Leadership Minutes and Statements section documents the meetings of Republican congressional leaders, 1961-68. A second section pertains to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, 1949-59, which Dirksen chaired, 1952-54.
Joint Senate-House Republican Leadership Minutes, 1961-68
The minutes of the Republican leadership during the presidential administrations of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. In their original state, each session’s minutes generally include attendance, brief summaries of topics discussed, and background “fact sheets” for statements at press conferences following the meetings. The digitized document presented here include only the formal minutes. The press conferences following the leadership meetings achieved fame as the “Ev and Charlie” and “Ev and Jerry” shows. For audio samples and curricular materials associated with a small sample of these minutes, please visit “The 1960s: A Multi-Media View from Capitol Hill” http://www.dirksencenter.org/emd_audio/index.htm.
Working Papers, 1857-1969
41 linear shelf feet
Topically arranged reference file for legislation, selected constituent cases, speeches, and other matters. The bulk contains information concerning legislation between 1964 and 1969. Topics receiving relatively substantial attention include civil rights, foreign trade, Internal Revenue Code amendments, attempts to repeal Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, Dirksen's prayer amendment and reapportionment amendment, and the activities of the Trading With the Enemy Act subcommittee.