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Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup B: Georgia Gubernatorial Papers

Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup B: Georgia Gubernatorial Papers

Descriptive Summary

Title: Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup B: Georgia Gubernatorial Papers
Creator: Talmadge, Herman E. (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002
Inclusive Dates: 1945-1954
Language(s): English
Extent: 25 box(es) (14.5 linear feet)
Collection Number: RBRL102HET_B
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: The Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup B: Georgia Gubernatorial Papers reflects Talmadge's duties as the governor of Georgia and include personal correspondence, subject files and guest registers.

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.

Scope and Content

The Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup B: Georgia Gubernatorial Papers reflects Talmadge's duties as the governor of Georgia and include personal correspondence, subject files and guest registers.

Organization and Arrangement

Subgroup B: Georgia Gubernatorial Papers is organized into three sections: Personal Correspondence, Subject, and Guest Registers.

Administrative Information

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 on: 2008.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

African Americans -- Civil rights
African Americans -- Civil rights -- Georgia
Civil rights movements -- United States.
Education -- Georgia.
Legislators -- Georgia.
School integration -- United States.
Taxation -- Law and legislation -- United States.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1951-
University System of Georgia. Board of Regents

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

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

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


Subgroup B: Georgia Gubernatorial Papers

25 box(es)
(14.5 linear feet)
After his father's death in 1946, Herman Talmadge began his political career. He filled his father's vacancy in 1947 and served as Georgia's governor until 1955. As governor, 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.

A. Personal Correspondence

( 5 box(es) ) ( (2.5 linear feet) )
Personal correspondence, reports, and speeches make up this subseries. Items of interest include a 1948 Governor Inaugural program, a Dedication of the Eugene Talmadge Bridge pamphlet, and a signed Governor's Oath of Office (1948). There are materials that relate to segregation. The Personal Correspondence subseries is arranged in alphabetical order. Gaps exist from files beginning with A to G and U to Z.
A.11Georgia Department of Labor - Annual Report, 1953
A.12Georgia Newspaper Directory and Rate Book, 1954
A.13Lists of Contributors to the Amendment Fund
A.14Lovejoy Data
A.16Magazines, 1953-1954
A.18Matthews, Chappelle
A.110Measurements, Governor and Betty
A.111Melton, Quimbly Jr.
A.112Merit System Application
A.113Milner, Glen
A.114Monroe, M. M.
A.116Murphy, Burket Dean
A.117Murray, C. C.
A.119Navy Staff of Georgia
A.120-21Names and Addresses
A.21O, 1954
A.22Oath of Office for Governor
A.23P, 1954-1955
A.24Pardon and Parole Reports, 1953-1954
A.25Peace Officers Annuity and Benefit Fund
A.26Perkins, M. G.
A.27-10Personal and Confidential
A.211-13Peters, James S., 1953-1955
A.31-2Peters, James S., 1950-1952
A.34Political, Mail
A.35Presby, Mrs. Oliver
A.36Quillan, John
A.38Reece, Andrew J.
A.39Roberts, Fritz
A.310Rock Eagle Park Information
A.311Roundtree, Mrs. Martha
A.312-14Russell, Senator Richard
A.42Scarboro, Dewey
A.43Scheinman, Sam
A.44School Appropriations
A.45Schools, Segregation Plan
A.47Segregation Information
A.48Shepard, Mrs. Scott (Margaret Talmadge)
A.49Shepard, Scott
A.410Shingler, Julian (Betty's brother)
A.411Smith, Palmer
A.412Smith, W. S.
A.413Spooner, John I.
A.414Stafford, DeNean
A.415State School Building Authority, 1953
A.416Stewart, George
A.417Stribling, W. W.
A.419Talmadge, Eugene Memorial Bridge
A.420Talmadge, Mrs. Eugene
A.421-22Talmadge, Herman E. (Armed Service Record)
A.51-2Talmadge, Herman (Personal)
A.53Talmadge, Herman (Navy)
A.54Talmadge, Herman (Officer Service Record)
A.55Talmadge, Herman (Burglary)
A.56Talmadge, Mrs. Julius Y.
A.57Talmadge, Tom
A.58Tante, B. L.
A.59Tarbotton, Ben J.
A.510Tax Matters (Income and Property)
A.511Youth Wants to Know, 1954 September 12
A.512Annual Conference of Georgia Vocational Association, Macon, GA., 1950 June 6

B. Subject

( 17 box(es) ) ( (8.5 linear feet) )
The subject subseries includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, reports, printed material, and photographs relating to hospitals and health care, budgets, education, elections, highways, schools, taxes and welfare. Arrangement is alphabetical.
B.11-2Administration Policy, [1948-1954]
B.13Alcohol, Alcoholic Commission, [1953]
B.14Alcohol, Alcoholic Board, [1951-1952]
B.15Alcohol, Fulton County City Liquor Probe, [1951]
B.16Anti-Communist Bill, [1952]
B.17Blind, Blind School, [1953]
B.18Blind, Factory For Blind, [1952]
B.19Blind Academy, [1951]
B.110Blind Factory, [1951]
B.111Bridge Building Authority, [1953]
B.112Bridge Authority, [1952-1953]
B.113Budget and Fiscal, [1953]
B.114[Budget] Outline, [1953]
B.115Budget, [1952-1953]
B.116Budget, [1952]
B.117Budget, [1951-1952]
B.118Budget, [1951]
B.119Budget, Per Diem Payments, [1951]
B.120Budget, State Finances, [undated]
B.121Budget, Peace Officers' Pension, [undated]
B.122Buildings, Capital Office Building, [1953]
B.123Buildings, Building Programs, [1952]
B.124Buildings, New State Office Buildings, [1951]
B.21Civil Defense Military Department, [1953]
B.22Civil Defense, [1951-1952]
B.23Civil Defense, Military Department, [1949-1951]
B.24Civil Defense, [1950]
B.25Commerce Department, (Industrial Development), [1952]
B.26Corrections, Deptartment of Corrections, [1949-1954]
B.27Corrections, Deptartment of Corrections cont, [1949-1954]
B.28Corrections, Department of Corrections, [1953]
B.29Corrections, Pardons and Paroles, [1949-1952]
B.210Corrections, Corrections Department, [1951, 1953]
B.211Corrections, Department of Corrections, [1952]
B.212Corrections, Juvenile Courts, [1950]
B.213Deaf, School for the Deaf-Cave Springs, [1953]
B.214Deaf, Deaf School, [1951]
B.215Democratic Party, Democratic Convention, 1950
B.216Democratic Party, Natl Democratic Party, [1948]
B.217Economy, [1952]
B.218Education, State Department of Education, [1948-1954]
B.219Education, State Dept of Educ. cont, [1948-1954]
B.31Education, Georgia Education Association Minimum Foundation Program, [1948-1955]
B.32Education, Georgia Education Association Minimum Foundation Program cont, [1948-1955]
B.33Education, Georgia Education Association Minimum Foundation Program cont, [1948-1955]
B.34[Education], [1953]
B.35Education, Teachers' Pay Raise, 1953
B.36Education, [1952]
B.37Education, [1951-1952]
B.38Education, Regional Education, [1948-1951]
B.39Education, [1950]
B.41Education, Department of Education, [1949]
B.42Education, Education Crisis, [1949]
B.43Elections, Primary Election, [1953]
B.44Elections, Electors Bill, [1951-1952]
B.45Elections, Electors Bill cont, [1951-1952]
B.46Elections, Electors Bill cont, [1951- 1952]
B.47Elections, Off Year General Election, [1951]
B.48Elections, Campaign News Stories, 1950
B.49Elections, Election, 1950
B.410Elections, Election cont, 1950
B.411Elections, Electors, [1948]
B.412Elections, Election, [1948]
B.413Elections, Platform, [undated]
B.51Farm Markets and Benefits, [1953]
B.52Farm Markets and Benefits, Farmers' Markets, Etc., [1950-1953]
B.53Farm Markets and Benefits, Farmers' Markets, Etc. cont, [1950-1953]
B.54Farm Markets and Benefits, Farm Benefits, [1952]
B.55Farm Markets and Benefits, Farm Benefits, [1951]
B.56Federal Aid, [1951]
B.57Forestry, State Forestry Dept, [1949-1955]
B.58Forestry, State Forestry Dept cont, [1949-1955]
B.59Forestry, State Forestry Dept cont, [1949-1955]
B.510Forestry, [1953]
B.511Forestry, [1952]
B.512Forestry, [1951]
B.61Gubernatorial Succession, [1949-1950]
B.62Habeas Corpus, [1953]
B.63Health, State Health Dept, [1948-1953]
B.64Health, State Health Dept cont, [1948-1953]
B.65Health, State Health Dept cont, [1948-1953]
B.66Health, [1953]
B.67Health, Aid to Doctors, [1952]
B.68Health, [1952]
B.69Health, Loans to Medical Students, [1952]
B.610Health, [1950, 1952]
B.611Health, [1950]
B.612Health, Medical School, [1950]
B.613Health, Medical School cont, [1950]
B.614Highways, [1948-1954]
B.615Highways cont, [1948-1954]
B.71Highways cont, [1948-1954]
B.72Highways cont, [1948-1954]
B.73Highways, [1953]
B.74Highway Safety, [1953]
B.75Highways, Toll Roads, [1953]
B.76Highways, [1952]
B.77Highway Patrol, [1952]
B.78Highways, [1951-1952]
B.79Highways, [1950]
B.710Highway Safety, [1950]
B.711Highway Injunctions, [1948]
B.712Highways, State Patrol, [undated]
B.713Historical Commission, [1953]
B.81Hospitals, State Hospital Program, [1947-1953]
B.82Hospitals, State Hospital Program cont, [1947-1953]
B.83Hospitals, State Hospital Program cont, [1947-1953]
B.84Hospitals, State Hospital Program cont, [1947-1953]
B.85Hospitals, State Hospital Program cont, [1947-1953]
B.86Hospitals and Health Centers, [1952]
B.87Hospital Program, [1951]
B.88Hospitals, [1950]
B.89Hospitals, Special Survey of State Owned Hospitals of Georgia and Other States, 1949
B.91Hospitals, Augusta Hospital, [1951]
B.92Hospitals, Battey Hospital, [1953]
B.93Hospitals, Battey Hospital, [1952]
B.94Hospitals, Battey Hospital, [1949-1951]
B.95Hospitals, Battey Hospital, [undated]
B.96Hospitals, Milledgeville State Hospital, [1953]
B.97Hospitals, Milledgeville State Hospital, [1952]
B.98Hospitals, Milledgeville State Hospital, [1949-1951]
B.99Hospitals, Milledgeville St. Hosp. cont, [1949-1951]
B.910Milledgeville St. Hosp. cont, [1949-1951]
B.911Milledgeville State Hospital, [1951]
B.912Milledgeville, [1950]
B.913Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital, [1947-1953]
B.914Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital, [1952]
B.915Inauguration, [1948]
B.916Industry, [1953]
B.917Industry, [1951]
B.918Labor, Employee's Retirement, [1953]
B.919Labor, Vocational Rehabilitation, [1953]
B.920Labor, Job Appointments, [1948-1951]
B.921Labor, [1951]
B.101Legislature-Taxes, [1949-1952]
B.102Legislature-Taxes cont, [1949-1952]
B.103Legislature, General Assembly (Cooperation of), [1952]
B.104Legislature, Message to General Assembly, 1952
B.105Legislature, Single Session of Legislature, [1952]
B.106Legislature, [1950]
B.107Legislature cont, [1950]
B.108Legislature, Emergency Special Session, [1949]
B.109Legislature, Emergency Special Session cont, [1949]
B.1010Legislature, Emergency Session, [1949]
B.1011Legislature, Emergency Session cont, [1949]
B.1012Legislature, Financial Emergency, [1949]
B.111Legislature, Legislative Debate, 1949
B.112Legislature, Legislature, 1949
B.113(Editorial) Legislature, [1949]
B.114Legislative Program, [1949]
B.115Legislative Program cont, [1949]
B.116Licenses, Fishing and Hunting Licenses, [1950]
B.117[Merit System], [1948-1955]
B.118[Merit System] cont, [1948-1955]
B.119[Merit System] cont, [1948-1955]
B.1110[Merit System] cont, [1948-1955]
B.1111Merit System, [1953]
B.1112Narcotics Law, [1951]
B.121National Political Scene, [1953]
B.122National Political Scene, [undated]
B.123Parks, State Parks Dept, [1948-1953]
B.124Parks, [1953]
B.125Parks, Rock Eagle Park, [1953]
B.126Parks, State Parks, [1951]
B.127Personnel Board, [1953]
B.128Ports, State Ports Authority, [1948-1954]
B.129Ports, State Ports Authority cont, [1948-1954]
B.1210Ports, State Ports Authority cont, [1948-1954]
B.1211Ports, State Ports Authority cont, [1948-1954]
B.1212Ports, State Ports Authority cont, [1948-1954]
B.1213Ports, State Port, [1953]
B.1214Ports, State Port, [1951-1952]
B.1215Ports, Port Authority, [1952]
B.1216Ports, State Port, [1950]
B.131Press and Public Statements, Radio Addresses, [1949-1950]
B.132Press and Public Statements, Radio Addresses cont, [1949-1950]
B.133Press and Public Statements, Major Press Releases, [1949]
B.134Press and Public Statements, National Press, [1948]
B.135Press and Public Statements, Public Statements, [1948]
B.136Registration Law, [1951]
B.137Revenue Department, [1948-1952]
B.138Schools, State School Building Authority, [1955]
B.139Schools, State School Building Authority, [1953]
B.1310Schools, School Building Authority, [1952]
B.1311Schools, School Building Authority, [1951-1952]
B.1312Schools, School Building Authority, [1950-1951]
B.1313Schools, Common Schools, [1953]
B.1314Schools, School Segregation, [1953]
B.1315Schools, Separate Schools, [1952]
B.1316Schools, Negro School Suits, [1951-1952]
B.1317Southern Governor's Conference, 1951
B.1318[State] Miscellaneous, [1948-1951]
B.1319[State] Miscellaneous cont, [1948-1951]
B.141[State] Miscellaneous cont, [1948-1951]
B.142State-County Cooperation, [1953]
B.143State Literature Commission, [1953]
B.144Taxes (Federal), [1953]
B.145Taxes, Sales Tax and Taxes, [1953]
B.146Taxes, [1948-1952]
B.147Taxes, Department of Audits Valorem Taxes, [1951-1952]
B.148Taxes, [1952]
B.149Taxes, Federal Income Tax Resolution, [1951-1952]
B.1410Taxes, Income Tax Revision, [1951]
B.1411Taxes, Poll Tax, [1951]
B.1412Taxes, Sales Tax, [1951]
B.1413Taxes, Tax Revision, [1950]
B.1414Taxes, Tax Revision, [1949-1950]
B.1415Taxes, Tax Revision cont, [1949-1950]
B.1416Taxes, Tax Revision cont, [1949-1950]
B.151Taxes, Tax Committee Reports, [1949-1950]
B.152Taxes, Tax Committee Reports cont, [1949-1950]
B.153Treaty Resolution, [1951-1952]
B.154Treaty Resolution cont, [1951-1952]
B.155Unit System, [1950]
B.156University Building Authority, [1953]
B.157University System Building Authority, [1952-1953]
B.158University Building Authority, [1952]
B.159-11University of Georgia, [1949-1954]
B.161-3University of Georgia, [1949-1954]
B.164University System, [1953]
B.165University System, [1952]
B.166University System, [1951]
B.167University System, [1950]
B.168University System cont, [1950]
B.169Veterans Service Org., [1948-1953]
B.1610Veterans Service Org. cont, [1948-1953]
B.1611Veterans, [1953]
B.1612Veterans, [1952]
B.1613Veterans, [1951]
B.1614Veterans, [1950]
B.1615Veterans, [1949]
B.171Voter Qualification, [1949-1950]
B.172Voter Qualification, [1949-1950]
B.173Voter Qualification, [1949-1950]
B.174Washington Trip, [1949]
B.175-7Welfare Department, [1949-1953]
B.178Welfare, [1953]
B.179Welfare Assistance, [1952]
B.1710Welfare, [1951]
B.1711Welfare Department, [1950]
B.1712Welfare Department cont, [1950]
B.1713White House Conference, 1950
B.1714-15Wild Life Dept., [1948-1952]
B.1716Workman's Compensation, [1953]

C. Guest Registers

( 5 volume(s) ) ( (2 linear feet) )
Governor Talmadge's guest registers dating from January, 1949 to November, 1955. The guest registers list visitors to Talmadge's office at the Georgia state capitol. Arrangement is chronological.
v. 18Guest Registers, January-September 1949
v. 19Guest Registers, October 1949-July 1950
v. 20Guest Registers, November 1950-August 1951
v. 21Guest Registers, February 1952-August 1953
v. 22Guest Registers, September 1953-November 1955