Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee FilesGeorgia State Democratic Executive Committee Files

Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee Files

Descriptive Summary

Title: Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee Files
Creator: Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee
Dates: 1940-1954
Extent: 13.0 boxes (6 linear feet)
Collection Number: RBRL/087/GSDEC
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: James S. Peters served as chairman to the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee from 1940 to 1954. This collection is comprised of bound volumes that contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, proceedings, and membership lists reflecting the activities of the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee from 1940 to 1954. It covers events such as the Stevenson and Sparkman Presidential Campaign of 1952, the 1948 Philadelphia and 1952 Chicago National Democratic Party Conventions, and the Georgia State Democratic Party Conventions.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Mr. James S. Peters of Manchester, Georgia was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1948 and also served as chairman to the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee from 1940 until he retired in 1954. He also served as chairman to the Georgia State Democratic Convention in Macon, Georgia, in 1940 and 1946. The bulk of this collection covers elections and related events within the Democratic Party that occurred in 1948, 1950, 1952, and 1954 in the State of Georgia and on the national political scene.

James Peters's main responsibility as chairman to the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee was handling correspondence for those requesting to serve on the State Democratic Executive Committee, to attend both state and national conventions, or to attend fundraisers (like the Jefferson/Jackson Dinner) all in support of the Democratic party and its candidates. He also maintained the transcribed proceedings of Georgia State Democratic Party Conventions held in Macon, Georgia, which cover the platform decisions and delegate selection. Peters also maintained correspondence with the Democratic National Headquarters as well as documentation from the 1952 presidential inauguration and speeches he made between 1952 and 1953.

Major highlights during this time were the National Democratic Party Conventions of 1948 and 1952. At the 1948 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Harry S. Truman and Alben W. Barkley were nominated for President and Vice-President, respectively. That year the Democrats supported civil rights, anti-lynching, abolition of the poll tax, the UN, Israel, and reaffirmed New Deal domestic programs. Southerners, however, were upset about the strong civil rights language in the platform, and the entire delegation from Mississippi and half of the Alabama delegates walked out of the convention. These disgruntled Southerners split from the Democratic Party and formed the Dixiecrat Party. They vowed to hold a convention in Birmingham to nominate a states' rights candidate, which they did, nominating Strom Thurmond. Despite the walkout, in the end Truman carried fifty percent of the popular vote in the South and won the election overall.

In 1952, Georgia 's own Senator Richard B. Russell sought a nomination for President of the United States. During this time Democrats were sharply divided over issues such as civil rights and organized labor. Senator Russell sought to strengthen Southern Democrats influence that would hopefully lead to a reunification of the Democratic Party. Senator Russell described himself as a “Jeffersonian Democrat,” and he believed in local self-government, a strong military defense system, and careful public spending. However, Senator Russell's lack of support for big issues such as civil rights and organized labor, plus his regional image, cost him the Democratic primary.

It was at the same 1952 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, that Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson and running mate Senator John J. Sparkman of Alabama won the Democratic nomination. Stevenson appealed to the more liberal, intellectual side of the Democratic Party, but this same appeal also served to alienate him from other members of his party. Stevenson's Republican opponents were General Dwight Eisenhower and running mate Richard Nixon (who during this time gave his infamous “Checkers Speech”). Eisenhower went on to win the presidential election with 55 percent of the popular vote and by a landslide in the Electoral College.

Scope and Content

These records are comprised of bound volumes that contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, proceedings, and membership lists reflecting the activities of the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee from 1940 to 1954. Conventions, delegate selection, and primaries are the main focus of the materials. In addition, the 1952 Stevenson/Sparkman national campaign for the presidency is well documented as well as Georgia 's support of Senator Richard B. Russell.

Organization and Arrangement

This collection is organized in eight series: I. Administration, II. Correspondence, III. Campaigns, IV. National Democratic Party Conventions, V. State Democratic Party Conventions, VI. Democratic Primaries, VII. Inauguration, and VIII. Speeches.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Preferred Citation

Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee Files, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Processing Information note

These records were donated as bound volumes organized by the creator.

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 permission. 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

Barkley, Alben W., 1877-1956.
Democratic National Convention (1952 : Chicago, Ill.)
Georgia--Politics and government--1951-
Peters, James S.
Political campaigns--United States--Georgia.
Political conventions--Georgia.
Political parties--Georgia.
Presidential candidates--United States.
Presidents--United States--Election--1952.
Proceedings.
Scrapbooks.
Sparkman, John J., 1899-1985.
Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965.
Thurmond, Strom, 1902-200.
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972

Related Collections in this Repository

Maxine S. Goldstein Papers

Robert M. Willingham Democratic Party of Georgia Files

Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection

Democratic Party of Georgia Records

Related Collections in Other Repositories

Harry S. Truman Papers, Truman Presidential Museum and Library, Independence, Missouri

Alben W. Barkley Papers, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky

Strom Thurmond Papers, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Adlai Stevenson Papers, Seely G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

John J. Sparkman Papers, W. S. Hoole Special Collections, University of Alabama


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

 

I. Administration

Extent: 2.0 boxes
Extent: (1 linear foot)
Scope and Content: The Administration series contains correspondence, rosters, newspaper articles, telegrams, and press releases. These are materials related to the requests for membership, member rosters, and recommendations to be on the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee from 1950 to 1954. It also includes honorary delegate appointments, letters and lists of those interested in being sent as a delegate to both the state and national democratic conventions. There are also small volumes covering the County Unit Amendment of 1952 and the Jefferson/Jackson Dinner of 1953.



A. Membership

BoxFolder
I.1 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Members, 1950
I.1 2Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Requests for Membership, 1950-1954
I.1 3Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee Recommendations, 1948-1954
I.1 4Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Honorary Delegate Appointments, Letters and Lists, undated



B. Committees

BoxFolder
I.1 5Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – County Committeemen, 1948
BoxFolder
I.2 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – County Committeemen, 1950
I.2 2Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Advisory Committee, 1954



C. General

BoxFolder
I.2 3Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – County Unit Amendment, 1952
I.2 4Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Jefferson, Jackson Dinner, 1953
I.2 5Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Meeting, May 31, 1948
 

II. Correspondence

Extent: (2 boxes) (1 linear foot)
Scope and Content: The Correspondence series contains both general correspondence to James Peters, as chairman of the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee, and Democratic National Headquarters correspondence. Included within these materials are newspaper articles, press releases, pamphlets and brochures, as well as correspondence with Stephen A. Mitchell, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee during this time.



A. General Correspondence

BoxFolder
II.1 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – General Correspondence, August 1949-June 1951
II.1 2Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – General Correspondence, 1952-1953
BoxFolder
II.2 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – General Correspondence, 1954
II.2 2Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Letters and Other Material, 1946-1954



B. Democratic National Headquarters Correspondence

BoxFolder
II.2 3Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Correspondence with Democratic National Headquarters, Stephen O. Mitchell, Pamphlets, etc., 1953
 

III. Campaigns

Extent: 2.0 boxes
Extent: (1 linear foot)
Scope and Content: The Campaigns series contains correspondence, newspaper articles, telegrams, brochures, pamphlets, press releases and speeches covering the Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman campaign for President and Vice-President, respectively, in 1952. There is also a small amount of correspondence covering the Georgia gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, and House of Representative races of 1954.



A. Presidential Campaigns

BoxFolder
III.1 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Stevenson and Sparkman Campaign, Telegrams, Publicity, Speeches, Etc. Vol. I, 1952
BoxFolder
III.2 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Stevenson and Sparkman Campaign, Telegrams, Publicity, Speeches, Etc. Vol. II, 1952



B. Gubernatorial Campaigns

BoxFolder
III.2 2Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Gubernatorial Race, U.S. Senators, House of Representatives, 1954
 

IV. National Democratic Party Conventions

Extent: 2.0 boxes
Extent: (1 linear foot)
Scope and Content: The National Democratic Party Convention series contains transcribed proceedings and correspondence of those attending or asking to attend the 1948 National Democratic Convention in Philadelphia and the 1952 National Democratic Convention in Chicago. It also includes reservations for hotels and railways and honorary delegates, and resolutions from the Chicago convention.



A. Philadelphia

BoxFolder
IV.1 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Philadelphia Convention, 1948
IV.1 2Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Delegates to the National Convention, 1948



B. Chicago

BoxFolder
IV.1 3Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Chicago Convention, thru May 1952
BoxFolder
IV.2 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Chicago Convention, June-July 1952
IV.2 2Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Chicago Convention, Reservations, Hotel and Railway, 1952
IV.2 3Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Chicago Convention, Lists, Honorary Delegates, Delegates, Resolutions, 1952
 

V. State Democratic Party Conventions

Extent: 2.0 boxes
Extent: (1 linear foot)
Scope and Content: The State Democratic Party Convention series contains correspondence relating to the Macon convention in 1948 and 1950, and the transcribed proceedings of the 1940, 1946, 1948, 1950, and 1954 Macon conventions.



A. Conventions

BoxFolder
V.1 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Macon Convention, 1948
V.1 2Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Macon Convention, 1950
V.1 3Georgia State Democratic Party – Convention, September 20, 1954



B. Proceedings

BoxFolder
V.2 1Georgia State Democratic Convention – Proceedings, Macon, GA, October 2, 1940
V.2 2Georgia State Democratic Convention – Proceedings, Macon, GA, October 9, 1946
V.2 3Georgia State Democratic Convention – Proceedings, Macon, GA, July 2, 1948
V.2 4Georgia State Democratic Convention – Proceedings, Macon, GA, August 9, 1950
 

VI. Democratic Primaries

Extent: 1.0 box
Extent: (.5 linear feet)
Scope and Content: The Democratic Primaries series contains correspondence for the 1950 and 1954 National Democratic Primaries as well as the figures related to the consolidated vote of the 1950 Georgia State Democratic Primary.



A. National

BoxFolder
VI.1 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Democratic Primary, 1950
VI.1 2Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Democratic Primary, 1954



B. State

BoxFolder
VI.1 3Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Consolidated Vote, State Democratic Primary, June 28, 1950
 

VII. Inauguration

Extent: 1.0 box
Extent: (.25 linear feet)
Scope and Content: 1 box, .25 linear foot The Inauguration series contains a small amount of correspondence relating to Georgians attending the 1952 Eisenhower presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.
BoxFolder
VII.1 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Washington Inauguration, 1952
 

VIII. Speeches

Extent: 1.0 box
Extent: (.25 linear feet)
Scope and Content: The Speeches series contains correspondence, speeches, newspaper articles, a copy of the Winter, 1951 Georgia Review , and pamphlets all relating to national and Georgia Democrat politics during 1952 and 1953
BoxFolder
VIII.1 1Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee – Political Speeches, 1952-1953