Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup C, Series I: Early Senate OfficeHerman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup C, Series I: Early Senate Office

Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup C, Series I: Early Senate Office

Descriptive Summary

Title: Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup C, Series I: Early Senate Office
Creator: Talmadge, Herman E. (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002.
Dates: 1957-1987
Extent: 42.0 boxes (21 linear feet)
Collection Number: RBRL/102/HET
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup C, Series I: Early Senate Office includes clippings, reports, printed materials, press releases, speeches and Talmadge's personal notes on various subjects. There is material relating to the federal budget, communism, the county unit system, education, the Eisenhower administration, farm legislation, foreign affairs, Georgia history, Marvin Griffin, Rule XXII, Melvin Thompson and the two governor controversy in Georgia, the Truman administration, and the United Nations.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

It was once said if you were not a Talmadge man you were a communist. The Talmadge dynasty began in 1926 when Eugene Talmadge, Herman's father, was first elected Commissioner of Agriculture. Gene would later be elected governor of Georgia to an unprecedented four terms. For over fifty years the Talmadges dominated Georgia politics until Herman was defeated in 1980.

Born on August 9, 1913, on a farm near McRae, Georgia, to Eugene and Mattie Talmadge, Herman attended public schools until his senior year when his family moved to Atlanta. In the fall of 1931, he entered the University of Georgia. By 1936, he had received his law degree and joined his father's law practice.

After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, Talmadge returned to his home in Lovejoy. While continuing to practice law and to farm, Talmadge took over publishing his father's weekly newspaper, The Statesman, and started a ham-curing business.

Talmadge's first involvement in politics was as his father's campaign manager in 1946. Running for an unprecedented fourth term as governor of Georgia, Eugene Talmadge was elected in November 1946, but was in failing health. As a precaution, a small group of Talmadge supporters started a write-in campaign for Herman Talmadge during the general election. When the elder Talmadge died in December 1946, before being sworn in as governor, the Georgia General Assembly elected his son governor by a vote of 161 to 87. But outgoing Governor Ellis Arnall refused to surrender his office unless it was to elected-Lieutenant Governor Melvin E. Thompson. After a period of uncertainty, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional portion under which the General Assembly had elected Herman Talmadge did not apply. The court declared M. E. Thompson acting governor until a special election could be held. In September 1948, Talmadge was elected governor and re-elected in 1950, serving until January 1955.

As governor, Herman Talmadge concentrated on improving educational opportunities for children of all races by establishing youth centers, increasing construction of rural roads, and building additional hospitals and health care centers.

When Senator Walter George officially announced his decision not to run for United States Senate, Talmadge started campaigning to take his place. Once again he was opposed by M. E. Thompson, but defeated him in the Democratic primary. With no Republican opposition in the general election in November 1956, Talmadge was elected United States senator.

The civil rights movement of the 1950s ultimately effected equal rights legislation for African-Americans and eliminated segregated public facilities in the South. Although progress toward integrating public schools was achieved, a majority of whites in the South remained adamant in their resistance to desegregation.

As part of that majority, Talmadge had voiced his opposition as early as the 1948 Democratic Convention when President Harry Truman tried to add civil rights to the platform. And in response to the Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education, Talmadge authored a book in 1955 about the wisdom of segregated education entitled You and Segregation.

When Talmadge officially began his term as the junior senator from Georgia in January 1957, he immediately joined the other Southern Democrats in their fight against civil rights legislation. "I never read a civil rights bill that didn't destroy more constitutional rights that it purported to give any group."

In response to the crisis of integrating Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, Talmadge proposed a constitutional amendment in 1959 that would have permitted the state and local governments to decide whether or not to keep their schools segregated. This proposal was the first acknowledgment from a southern senator that Brown vs. Board of Education was an established fact.

Having won a seat on the Agriculture Committee in 1957, Talmadge wielded his greatest influence on bills that affected American farmers and agriculture. By 1971, he had become chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Some of his major accomplishments in this area included guiding passage of a series of acts, which established price support programs for peanuts, cotton, wheat, and other commodities.

Talmadge probably achieved his greatest national prominence through his role on the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, which investigated the Watergate scandal and ultimately led to the resignation of the president and vice president of the United States, as well as the conviction of three cabinet members on felony charges. Talmadge thought that the Watergate investigation was one of the most important events in the history of the United States and demonstrated that a republican form of government has a way of correcting the conduct of public officials and alerting others not to make the same mistake.

At the same time he was gaining national recognition, Talmadge was besieged by a series of personal and political tragedies. In 1975, his son Robert drowned in a swimming accident at Lake Lanier; by the fall of 1977, Betty and Herman Talmadge had finalized their divorce; then, in 1978, Talmadge came to grips with a serious drinking problem. Following an alcohol treatment program at the naval hospital in Long Beach, California, he returned to Washington, ready to work, but met with scandal instead. Shortly after returning to the Capitol, Talmadge was accused of misappropriating office funds and campaign donations for his own personal use. The Senate Ethics Committee investigated the allegations and recommended that Talmadge be "denounced" for his reprehensible behavior and sentenced to reimburse the Senate for these controversial funds with interest.

Despite these problems, Talmadge sought his fifth term as senator in 1980, but was rejected by Georgia voters who chose to elect Mack Mattingly to replace him, the first Republican to hold the office since Reconstruction.

Serving twenty-four years in the United States Senate, Talmadge ranked fifth in seniority among Senate Democrats and seventh overall by the time he left office. Herman Talmadge passed away on March 21, 2002. He is survived by his one son, grandchildren, and wife Linda.

Scope and Content

Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup C, Series I: Early Senate Office includes clippings, reports, printed materials, press releases, speeches and Talmadge's personal notes on various subjects. There is material relating to the federal budget, communism, the county unit system, education, the Eisenhower administration, farm legislation, foreign affairs, Georgia history, Marvin Griffin, Rule XXII, Melvin Thompson and the two governor controversy in Georgia, the Truman administration, and the United Nations.

Organization and Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Preferred Citation

Herman E. Talmadge 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

Agricultural laws and legislation--United States.
Civil rights demonstrations--United States.
Civil rights--United States.
Finance--Law and legislation--United States.
Legislators--United States.
Press releases.
Proceedings.
Radio scripts.
Speeches.
Television scripts.
Textile industry--Georgia.
Thompson, M. E. (Melvin Ernest), 1903-1980.
United States--Politics and government--1951-
United States--Race relations.
United States. Civil Rights Act of 1957.
United States. Congress. Senate.

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Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee Papers

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Mack F. Mattingly Papers

Erwin Mitchell Papers

Maston O'Neal Papers

John L. Pilcher Papers

Prince H. Preston Papers

Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection

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Related Collections in Other Repositories

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Herman E. Talmadge oral history interview, 1976 June 1, Georgia Government Documentation Project, William Russell Pullen Library, Georgia State University

Georgia's Political Heritage Program oral history interviews, State University of West Georgia


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

 

Subgroup C: United States Senatorial Papers



I. Early Senate Office

Extent: 42.0 boxes
Extent: (21 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note: This series includes clippings, reports, printed materials, press releases, speeches and Talmadge's personal notes on various subjects. There is material relating to the budget, communism, the county unit system, education, the Eisenhower administration, farm legislation, foreign affairs, Georgia history, Marvin Griffin, Rule XXII, Melvin Thompson and the two governor controversy in Georgia, the Truman administration and the United Nations.
These papers bridge the period that Herman Talmadge was governor to his first few years as a United States Senator. The press office subseries (1957-1960) and the gubernatorial series coincide with the early senate office subseries. Arrangement is alphabetical by subject.
BoxFolder
11Abernathy, Leroy
12A.D.A.
13Agricultural Extension Service
14Agriculture
15Alcoholism
16Appropriations
17Appropriations Bill, H.B. 263, 1951
18Atlanta Metropolitan Area
19Atomic Energy
110Attorneys
111Augusta
112Aviation
113Banking
114Biographical Sketches
115Biographies
BoxFolder
21-4Bodenheimer, William T.
25Boys' Clubs
26Brotherhood
27-10Budget
211Budget Control
BoxFolder
31-4Building Improvements
35Business Policy
36Chemistry
37-8Christmas
39-11Civil Defense
312Civil Rights
313Commerce
BoxFolder
41-7Communism
48Community Improvement
49Conservation
410Corrections
BoxFolder
51-2County Unit Amendment, 1952
53-4County Unit Editorials, General Election, 1952
55-6County Unit Amendment, 1952
57-9Dairy Industry
510Daughters American Revolution
BoxFolder
61-4Democratic Party
65Depression
66-10Education
611Education - School Lunch Program
612Education - Southern Regional Education
BoxFolder
71-4Eisenhower Administration
75Elks
76Employment
77Fair Deal
78-13Farm
BoxFolder
81Farm Bureau
82Farm Equipment
83-11Farm Legislation
BoxFolder
91-5Farm Products
96Farm Telephones
97Father's Day
98Federal Aid
99-11Federal Aid to Education
BoxFolder
101-6F.E.P.C. [Fair Employment Practices Commission]
107Filibuster
108-9Flag
1010-12Ford, Henry [Ford Foundation]
BoxFolder
111-5Ford, Henry [Ford Foundation]
116-9Foreign Affairs
BoxFolder
121-10Foreign Aid
BoxFolder
131-3Foreign Aid Notes
134-6Foreign Aid (Texts and Exhibits)
137-9Foreign Policy
1310Forestry
BoxFolder
141-4Forestry
1454-H Clubs
146Fraternal
147Free Enterprise
148-9Freedom
1410Freight Rates
BoxFolder
151Game & Fish
152-3G.A.T.T. [General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade]
154Geology
155Georgia Growth
156-10Georgia History
BoxFolder
161-8Georgia History
BoxFolder
171-3Georgia History
174Georgia Power Company
175-6Georgia State College
177-9Gilreath Press Syndicate
1710-12Government Finance
BoxFolder
181-4Government Finance
185Governmental Re-Organization
186Gracewood
187Graduation Address Material
188-9Griffin, Marvin, 1957-1958
BoxFolder
191-2Griffin, Marvin, 1957-1958
193Griffin Administration, 1957
194Griffin, Marvin - Clippings, 1958
195-7Health
198Hiberians
199-11Highways
BoxFolder
201-2Highways
203-5Highway Safety
206Housing
207Immigration
208-10Industry
BoxFolder
211-10Industry
BoxFolder
221Inflation
222Insurance
223-5International Cooperation Administration
226-8Interposition
229Jefferson, Thomas
2210Jekyll Island
2211-12Jews
BoxFolder
231-2Jews
233Juvenile Delinquency
234-7Labor
238Labor - AFL-CIO Merger
239Lakes & Waterways
2310Law Day
2311Lee, Robert E.
2312Legislature
BoxFolder
241-4Legislature
245Lincoln, Abraham
246-7Livestock
248Living Costs
249March of Dimes
2410Medical Profession
2411-12Mental Health
2413Military
2414Milledgeville Hospital
BoxFolder
251Miscellaneous
252-4Missiles
255Mother's Day
256Muscular Dystrophy
257Naval Stores
258New South
259Newspaper, Radio & T.V.
2510Newsprint
2511Nuclear Energy
2512Oil
2513Pardons and Paroles
2514Parks
2515Party Platforms
2516-18Patrol
BoxFolder
261Peace Officers Pension Fund
262-3Personnel
264Physically Handicapped
265Politics
266-8Ports
269Post Office
2610Poultry
2611Press
2612-13Press Releases, 1958
BoxFolder
271-3Press Releases, 1957-1958
274-7Press Releases, 1957
278Press Releases, 1954-1958
279Probation
2710Programs
BoxFolder
281Prohibition
282Public Welfare
283Publications
284-6Pulp & Paper
287Purchasing Department
288-10Race Relations
2811-12Radio and Television
BoxFolder
291-3Radio and Television
294-5R.E.A. [Rural Electrification Administration]
296-8Religion
BoxFolder
301-4Religion
305Retirement
306Revenue
307River and Harbor Development
308Roads
309Roosevelt, Franklin D.
3010Rotary International
3011-12Rule XXII
BoxFolder
311-4Rule XXII
315Safety
316School Building Authority
317Social Security
318Socialism
319Socialist Party
3110-11Socialized Medicine
3112Soil Conservation
BoxFolder
321-3Soil Conservation
324Southern Bell
325Southern Railway
326Speech Copies
327Statehood
328-9Status of Forces Treaty
3210Talmadge, Eugene
3211Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital
3212-13Clippings
BoxFolder
331Lake Development Public Addresses
332-3Charleston, WV, 1958 January 24
334-6General Assembly, Atlanta, GA, February 3, 1958
337Richmond, VA, 1958 February 28
338Savannah County Commissioners, 1958 March 24
339Miami Florida Fruit and Vegetable, 1958 September 25
3310Fort Payne, AL, 1958 October 8
3311Miscellaneous
BoxFolder
341-5Public Addresses
346Reports
347-8Senate Speeches
BoxFolder
351-4Senate Speeches
355Tariffs
356Tariffs-Taxes
357-9Taxes
BoxFolder
361-4Taxes
365Teacher Retirement
366Texas
367-8Textiles
369-10Textile Mills
3611Thanksgiving
3612-13Thompson, Melvin E., 1954
BoxFolder
371-2Thompson, Melvin E., 1954
373-4Thompson, Melvin E., 1953-1954
375-6Thompson, Melvin E. - Labor, 1947-1948
377-8Thompson, Melvin E. - Legislative Election, 1946-1947
379-11Tight Money
3712Tourist
3713Transportation
BoxFolder
381-3Transportation
384Treaties
385-8Treaty Powers
BoxFolder
391-4Truman Administration
395T.V.A. [Tennessee Valley Authority]
396-8Two Governor Fight
BoxFolder
401-5United Nations
406U.S. Army
407U.S. Department of Commerce
408U.S. Navy
409Universal Military Training
4010University of Georgia Foundation Program, 1955-1956
4011University System
4012University System Building Authority
4013Urban Development
BoxFolder
411-2Vegetable Crops
413Veterans
414Veterans - G.I. Loans
415Veterans - Pensions
416Veterinary Medicine
417Vocational Education
418Voter Registration
419Voting
4110Voting Record
4111Washington, George
4112-13Water Conservation
4114Water Law Revision
BoxFolder
421Water Resources
422Welfare
423Women
424Wilson, Woodrow
425World Government
426-12Youth