Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Subgroup C, Series XIX: Case Mail

Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Subgroup C, Series XIX: Case Mail

Descriptive Summary

Title: Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Subgroup C, Series XIX: Case Mail
Creator: Russell, Richard B. (Richard Brevard), 1897-1971
Inclusive Dates: 1931-1935
Language(s): English
Extent: 4 box(es) (4 linear feet)
Collection Number: RBRL001RBR_C_XIX
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: The Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection, Subgroup C, Series XIX: Case Mail is case-like correspondence with constituents concerning confidential matters or disclosing information of a confidential nature in pursuit usually for redress from the federal government or for appointment or employment. Case Mail is closed for seventy-five years from the date of a file's creation. File headings include Army-Navy (all military branches), immigration, social security, veterans, pardon and parole, selective service, unemployment compensation, jobs, labor, and military academies.

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 other southern senators to block anti-lynching bills. 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 XIX: Case Mail is case-like correspondence with constituents concerning confidential matters or disclosing information of a confidential nature in pursuit usually for redress from the federal government or for appointment or employment. Case Mail is closed for seventy-five years from the date of a file's creation. File headings include Army-Navy (all military branches), immigration, social security, veterans, pardon and parole, selective service, unemployment compensation, jobs, labor, and military academies.

Organization and Arrangement

Subgroup C, Series XIX: Case Mail is arranged chronologically by year and by subject of correspondence thereunder.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

All case mail is restricted for seventy-five years from the date of creation; therefore, correspondence after 1935 is currently unavailable for research use. Newly available case mail will be made available annually as the restrictions expire.

Preferred Citation

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

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 on: 2008.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

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

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

Lyndon B. Johnson Papers, Lyndon B. Johnson Library

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

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 from the main body of senate office records to facilitate easier use. 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.

XIX. Case Mail , 1931-1935

( 4 box(es) )
Case Mail is case-like correspondence with constituents concerning confidential matters or disclosing information of a confidential nature in pursuit usually for redress from the federal government or for appointment or employment. Case Mail is closed for seventy-five years from the date of creation; therefore, correspondence created after 1935 is currently restricted.
The case mail open for research is comprised of letters between the senator and constituents on a variety of topics from the years 1931 to 1935. In this collection, most of the letters deal with securing recommendations for employment in a variety of Federal and State organizations. In 1932, there are number of letters dealing with Veterans' Affairs (with one letter from 1931) and many are requesting help based on previous work in the military. There are also requests for work on the federal building in Gainesville, GA as well requests for appointments and recommendations for positions with the railway mail services. In 1933, the majority of the letters are to request positions within the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) project at Muscle Shoals in Alabama and for many postal positions in rural Georgia. There were also requests for appointments in positions of North Georgia Marshalls, Assistant District Attorney and IRS collector. In 1934, most of the letters were in reference to positions within the New Deal programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration, and the TVA. Many of Senator Russell's constituents were interested in working on a new campaign to eradicate the screw worm and wrote to ask the senator for a recommendation for the project. In 1935, more people were asking for recommendations over relief. In previous years, the senator's case mail included a great number of requests that he forward to relief agencies including the U.S. Employees' Compensation Commission, the Red Cross and various county relief administrations, but in 1935, most of the requests for recommendations for New Deal projects and positions in various federal departments including many people he put on a "special list" for the Works Relief Program. All five years contain military requests including transfers, requests for personnel files, medals, pensions and commissions. In each of the years 1933, 1934, and 1935, there are files named "Filed by Name." These were filed separately by the creator, but all contain military requests.

A. 1931-1932
11Case Mail, General, 1932
12Federal Building, Gainesville, 1932
13Postmaster General, 1932
14Veteran's Affairs, 1931-1932

B. 1933
15Building and Construction Job Requests, 1933
16Customs, 1933
17Department of Agriculture, Employment, 1933
18Department of Commerce, 1933
19Department of State, Foreign Service Employment, 1933
110General Employment Requests, 1933 January-June
111General Employment Requests, 1933 July
112General Employment Requests, 1933 August-December
113Home Ownership Loan Corporation, 1933 June
114Home Ownership Loan Corporation, 1933 July 1-July 11
115Home Ownership Loan Corporation, 1933 July 12-July 13
116Home Ownership Loan Corporation, 1933 July 14-July 31
117Home Ownership Loan Corporation, 1933 August
118Muscle Shoals-Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933 April 10-August 4
119Muscle Shoals-Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933 August 5-August 12
120Muscle Shoals-Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933 August 13-August 23
121Muscle Shoals-Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933 August 24-August 30
122Muscle Shoals-Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933 August 31-September 12
21Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 1933
22Treasury Department, Employment, 1933
23United States Civil Service Commission, 1933 January-March
24United States Civil Service Commission, 1933 April-May
25United States Civil Service Commission, 1933 June-September
26United States Postal Service, 1933 January-February
27United States Postal Service, 1933 March
28United States Postal Service, 1933 April
29United States Postal Service, 1933 May-December, undated
210Crop Production Loan Office/Seed Loan Office, 1933
211Department of Agriculture, 1933
212Department of the Interior, 1933
213Department of Labor, Immigration Bureau, 1933
214Department of State, 1933
215Filed by Name, Military Requests, 1933
216Justice Department, 1933 January 14-July 24
217Justice Department, 1933 July 25-August 14
218Justice Department, 1933 August 15-August 30
219Granite Testing for C. O. Reagin, 1933
220Military Requests, 1933 January-February
31Military Requests, 1933 March
32Military Requests, 1933 April
33Military Requests, 1933 May-June
34Military Requests, 1933 July-August
35Miscellaneous Georgia Issues, 1933
36Relief Requests, 1933
37Requests for Appointments, 1933 January-June
38Requests for Appointments, 1933 July-August
39Requests for Education Recommendation, 1933

C. 1934
310Civil Works Administration, 1934
311Civilian Conservation Corps, 1934
312Postmaster General, 1934
313Public Works Administration, 1934
314Tennessee Valley Authority, 1934
315Campaign for the Eradicaion of the Screw Worm, 1934
316Census Enumeration Act, 1934
317Department of Agriculture, 1934
318Department of Fish and Game, 1934
319Department of the Interior, 1934
320Department of Labor, Bureau of Immigration, 1934
321Department of State, 1934
322Disney Old Age Pension Amendment, 1934
323Filed by Name, Military Requests, 1934
324Land Loans Requests, 1934
325Military Requests, 1934
41Miscellaneous Georgia Issues, 1934
42Requests for Education Support, 1934
43Requests for General Relief, 1934

D. 1935
44Architect of the Capitol, 1935
45Campaign for the Eradication of the Screw Worm, 1935 January-February
46Campaign for the Eradication of the Screw Worm, 1935 March
47Campaign for the Eradication of the Screw Worm, 1935 April
48Campaign for the Eradication of the Screw Worm, 1935 May
49Civilian Conservation Corps, 1935
410Department of Agriculture, 1935
411Department of Commerce, 1935
412Department of the Interior, 1935
413Department of Treasury, 1935
414Emergency Relief Administration (Federal and Georgia), 1935
415Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1935
416Federal Housing Administration, 1935
417Filed by Name, Military Requests (folder 1 of 3), 1935
418Filed by Name, Military Requests (folder 2 of 3), 1935
419Filed by Name, Military Requests (folder 3 of 3), 1935
420Home Owners Loan Corporation, 1935
421Military Requests, 1935
422Miscellaneous Employment Requests, 1935
423National Emergency Council, 1935
424Public Works Adminstration, 1935
425Rural Electrificaion Administration, 1935
426Tennessee Valley Authority, 1935
427United States Civil Service Commission, 1935
428Works Progress Adminstration, 1935
429Works Relief Bill, Program, 1935 March-April
430Works Relief Bill, Program, 1935 May

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