Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Subgroup C, Series XVIII: Exhibit BRichard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Subgroup C, Series XVIII: Exhibit B

Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Subgroup C, Series XVIII: Exhibit B

Descriptive Summary

Title: Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Subgroup C, Series XVIII: Exhibit B
Creator: Russell, Richard B., (Richard Brevard), 1897-1971
Dates: 1930-1971
Extent: 23.0 boxes (16.75 linear feet)
Collection Number: RBRL/001/RBR
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: The Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Subgroup C, Series XVIII. Exhibit B, under the terms of the original conveyance of the Russell Collection, was not to be made available until May 8, 1973. The primary intent of the executors was to avoid injuring or embarrassing any living person by the the dissemination of information contained in these documents. Exhibit B is currently available to researchers; however, this series must be reviewed by Russell Library staff prior to patron use. Family correspondence, excluding correspondence with Ina Dillard Russell and Richard B. Russell, Sr., is restricted. With the exception of family correspondence and some incoming correspondence, the documents were created primarily by Russell and his office staff. The general subject matter includes such topics as national defense, foreign policy, Vietnam, federal judgeships, the Warren Commission, office matters, legislation, and family affairs.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Richard Brevard Russell, Jr. held public office for fifty years as a state legislator, governor, and U.S. senator. The highlights of his legislative career included support of non-interventionist foreign policy, passage of the National School Lunch Program, securing funding for military installations and research facilities—including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and his opposition to equal rights for African Americans, most evident in the filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Russell was born in Winder, GA on November 2, 1897, to Judge Richard B. Russell, Sr. and Ina Dillard Russell, a teacher. He was the fourth of thirteen children and the first son. He earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Georgia in 1918. After a brief period practicing law, Russell ran for and won a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1920. In 1927, he was elected Speaker of the House, a position he held until 1931. In 1930, Russell ran for governor against a crowded field of seasoned candidates, but he was victorious thanks to a grassroots campaign and his skill in door-to-door canvassing. He took the oath of office in June 1931 but only spent eighteen months as governor before the death of Senator William J. Harris presented him with the opportunity to run for the United States Senate.

Russell entered the U.S. Senate in 1933 and served until his death in 1971. He became one of the Senate's most influential members. During his tenure, he served sixteen years as chair of the Armed Services Committee and held a seat on the Appropriation Committee that spanned his tenure in the Senate. Additionally, Russell held positions on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, the Committee on Immigration, the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee, and the Democratic Policy and Democratic Steering Committees.

Although he wielded considerable power through these committee appointments, Russell did not seek a position in the Senate leadership. Instead, he supported the ambitions of his protégé, Senator Lyndon Johnson from Texas for majority whip and later for majority leader. Russell ended his career as president pro tempore of the Senate—a post reserved for the member with the longest tenure in the Senate—making him third in the line of presidential succession.

Russell was known for his support of national defense, non-interventionist foreign policy, and his advocacy for agricultural interests (particularly those in Georgia). Russell opposed the United States entangling itself in international conflicts, especially in Vietnam and the Congo. In agricultural policy, the creation of the National School Lunch Program in 1946 was his most significant achievement for the nation's farmers. The program had the double effect of providing nutritious meals for schoolchildren while avoiding an economic crash by giving farmers a way to sell their surplus produce.

Russell's opposition to civil rights legislation overshadowed his many legislative achievements. He began contesting civil rights legislation as early as 1935 when he joined the other 17 senators in the Southern Bloc in voting against the Costigan-Wagner anti-lynching bill. Over three decades, Russell developed a reputation as a defender of “white traditions” and white supremacy.

During the Senate’s debate of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Russell led the Southern Bloc in a sixty-day filibuster in an attempt to prevent the bill’s passage, vowing to “resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races.” The filibuster came to an end only after a partnership of moderate Republicans and northern Democrats introduced a compromise bill that garnered the sixty-seven votes needed to invoke cloture and end the filibuster. The substitute civil rights bill passed on June 19 by a margin of 73-27.

Though Russell advised against attempts to resist the Civil Rights Act at the state level, he remained unapologetic in his criticism of it. In a speech given in the Senate on June 18, 1964, Russell sought to encourage the other members of the Southern Bloc, saying “…there will never come a time when it will be necessary for any one of us to apologize for his conduct or his courage.”

Russell left behind a list of political and legislative achievements and a reputation for mastery of legislative strategy. Despite his other distinctions, racial animus and obstructionism would become the most remembered aspects of his legacy. As biographer Gilbert Fite noted, Russell might well have achieved more, were it not for his racial views.

Scope and Content

The Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Subgroup C, Series XVIII. Exhibit B, under the terms of the original conveyance of the Russell Collection, were not to be made available until May 8, 1973. The primary intent of the executors was to avoid injuring or embarrassing any living person by the the dissemination of information contained in these documents. Exhibit B is currently available to researchers; however, this series must be reviewed by Russell Library staff prior to patron use. Family correspondence, excluding correspondence with Ina Dillard Russell and Richard B. Russell, Sr., is restricted. With the exception of family correspondence and some incoming correspondence, the documents were created primarily by Russell and his office staff. The general subject matter includes such topics as national defense, foreign policy, Vietnam, federal judgeships, the Warren Commission, office matters, legislation, and family affairs.

The more significant documents in this series are handwritten notes and dictated transcripts by Russell in which he described or related high level government meetings or presidential conversations. These documents, while giving Russell's perspectives, reveal the senator's role in key historical events and his status as advisor and confidant to presidents as well as provide insight into the nature of the meetings and personalities involved. See also Series XV. General, Red Line files and Subgroup D. Winder Papers.

Organization and Arrangement

Subgroup C, Series XVIII. Exhibit B is contains Personal, Personal Political, Political Patronage, Legislative, Intra-Office Communications, and General files.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Exhibit B is available to researchers; however, this series must be reviewed by Russell Library staff prior to patron use. Family correspondence, excluding Ina Dillard Russell and Richard B. Russell, Sr., is restricted.

Preferred Citation

Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia.

Processing Notes

Clippings have been copied onto bond paper for protection of content. Artifacts, photographs, books, and audiovisual materials have been separated for preservation purposes and inventoried.

User Restrictions

Library acts as "fair use" reproduction agent.

Copyright Information

Before material from collections at the Richard B. Russell Library may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permissions. Persons wishing to quote from materials in the Russell Library collection should consult the Director. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2008.


Related Materials

Access Points

Congressional records.
Legislators--Georgia.
Legislators--United States.
Russell, Richard B., (Richard Brevard), 1897-1971
United States. Congress. Senate.
United States. Warren Commission.

Related Collections in this Repository

Richard B. Russell, Sr. Papers

Russell Family Collection

Patience Elizabeth Russell Peterson Papers

Hugh Peterson, Sr. Papers

Herman E. Talmadge Collection

Lamartine G. Hardman Collection

Related Collections in Other Repositories

John C. Stennis Papers, Mitchell Memorial Library, Mississippi State University

Lyndon B. Johnson Papers, Lyndon B. Johnson Library

Richard B. Russell, Jr. Gubernatorial Papers, Georgia Department of Archives and History

U.S. Senate. Committee on Appropriations, Center for Legislative Archives, NARA

U.S. Senate. Committee on Armed Services, Center for Legislative Archives, NARA


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

 

Subgroup C. United States Senatorial Papers

Scope and Content: This subgroup of papers comprehensively reveals Richard Russell's activities as a United States senator representing the state of Georgia. The papers are divided into twenty series, two of which are closed; some files are restricted. Closed or restricted files are governed by donor agreement, Executive Orders, or privacy considerations. Not many files survived from Russell's first eleven years in office; the main series for this time period are Early Office, Political, Political Patronage, Personal, and a few files in General. In 1943 and 1944, Russell's staff members reorganized the office filing system, and from that point on, the files are very complete.
The 1943 filing system places the incoming letter with a copy of Russell's reply (the yellows) attached, and the correspondence is filed by subject; these files compose the majority of the senatorial papers. Subsequent letters from the constituent and copies of Russell's replies on the same subject continued to be attached to the original correspondence and filed under the date of the latest communication from Russell. Theoretically, at the end of each Congress, these files would have been retired to storage (with the possible exception of case mail); in practice, however, there was no consistency to the length of time the subject files were retained in the active status. To respect provenance of the files and to preserve the utility of the cross reference copies, the subject files are subdivided so that within each series they are arranged chronologically by the most recent date of correspondence (with all other correspondence attached thereto). A second copy of a Russell letter (the pinks, or Cross-Reference Copies Series) was made and filed separately by correspondent's surname in a chronological file. Intra-Office Communications and Speech/Media are form files. If Russell personally dictated any portion of a letter or added a postscript, two extra copies on onionskin paper (one for the Winder office and one for the Washington office) were made and filed by subject (Dictation Series), separate from the yellow and pink copies.The flexibility of the system allowed for much divergence in filing according to the discretion of the staff member involved. Thus, as personnel changed, their interpretations on how broad or specific they should be were reflected in the filing system itself. For example, "Foreign Aid" under the General Series and "Foreign Relations" under Legislative Series. The filing system indicates that correspondence relating to proposed or pending legislation was filed under committee in Legislative and relating to action taken on passed legislation or programs administered by government agencies was filed accordingly in General. In reality, two subject headings as similar as foreign aid and foreign relations could easily be interfiled.For the most part, original order was maintained for the senatorial papers. Exceptions are Civil Rights and MacArthur Hearings Series, which were originally part of the Legislative Series. These were separated because of their research potential and the influence Senator Russell had in each area. The Barboura G. Raesly File was added to the papers subsequent to the library's establishment and contains records and materials she kept in her position as personal secretary to Russell. The Exhibit B Series, which was closed by donor agreement, contains files pulled from other series and maintained separately. When files in this series opened, Exhibit B was arranged as a parallel file to the other senatorial papers series.



XVIII. Exhibit B [Subject to review prior to use], 1930-1971

Extent: 22.0 boxes
Scope and Contents note: Series XVIII. Exhibit B, under the terms of the original conveyance of the Russell Collection, were not to be made available until May 8, 1973. The primary intent of the executors was to avoid injuring or embarrassing any living person by the the dissemination of information contained in these documents. Exhibit B is currently available to researchers; however, this series must be reviewed by Russell Library staff prior to patron use. Family correspondence, excluding correspondence with Ina Dillard Russell and Richard B. Russell, Sr., is restricted. With the exception of family correspondence and some incoming correspondence, the documents were created primarily by Russell and his office staff. The general subject matter includes such topics as national defense, foreign policy, Vietnam, federal judgeships, the Warren Commission, office matters, legislation, and family affairs.
The more significant documents in this series are handwritten notes and dictated transcripts by Russell in which he described or related high level government meetings or presidential conversations. These documents, while giving Russell's perspectives, reveal the senator's role in key historical events and his status as advisor and confidant to presidents as well as provide insight into the nature of the meetings and personalities involved. See also Series XV. General, Red Line files and Subgroup D. Winder Papers.
Box
1Political [includes President Pro Tempore and various campaign material], 1936-1970
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2Red Line File, 1947-1969
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3Personal [Ina Dillard Russell Correspondence and other family correspondence] [subject to review prior to use]
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5Personal [miscellaneous correspondence, Marguerite Russell Bowden condolences], 1947-1971
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6Personal [correspondence] [subject to review prior to use], 1947-1970
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7.2Personal [correspondence], 1933-1970
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12Personal [family correspondence, William John Russell, IV, Russell family reunion, originally numbered B-5] [subject to review prior to use], 1954-1970
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13Personal [family correspondence, Russell family reunion, originally numbered B-6 and B-7] [subject to review prior to use], 1949-1970
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14Personal business [miscellaneous, paid bills, originally numbered B-10] [subject to review prior to use], 1930s-1969
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15Personal business [paid bills, Mary Brevard Russell estate, correspondence, Russell family reunion, originally numbered B-11] [subject to review prior to use], 1954-1966
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16Personal business [miscellaneous, paid bills, family correspondence, Harriet R. Sharpton, originally numbered B-9 and B-12] [subject to review prior to use], 1940-1970
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17Personal business [paid bills, business matters and correspondence, estate planning, family, originally numbered B-13] [subject to review prior to use], 1943-1966
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20Personal [dictation copies falling under personal file headings, office personnel files, originally numbered B-19, B-21, B-23] [subject to review prior to use], 1953-1970
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21Personal [family correspondence, Russell family reunion, battleship file, 1962 congressional campaign, political contributions, special name Jim Davidson] [subject to review prior to use], 1957-1968