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Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup C, Series XII: Related Materials, 3. Artifacts

Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup C, Series XII: Related Materials, 3. Artifacts

Descriptive Summary

Title: Herman E. Talmadge Collection, Subgroup C, Series XII: Related Materials, 3. Artifacts
Creator: Talmadge, Herman E. (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002
Inclusive Dates: 1957-1987
Language(s): English
Extent: 44 box(es)
Collection Number: RBRL102HET_C_XII_3
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Throughout this public service career, Talmadge received many plaques, citations, proclamations, honorary degrees, resolutions, and presentation certificates. Some of the more prestigious were Georgia Forestry Association appreciation award (1980), Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai B'Rith Atlanta Division 1973 Abe Goldstein Human Relations Award and an Atlanta Braves appreciation award (1971).

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

Throughout this public service career, Talmadge received many plaques, citations, proclamations, honorary degrees, resolutions, and presentation certificates. Some of the more prestigious were Georgia Forestry Association appreciation award (1980), Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai B'Rith Atlanta Division 1973 Abe Goldstein Human Relations Award and an Atlanta Braves appreciation award (1971).

Organization and Arrangement

The artifacts are grouped by format.

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

Legislators -- United States.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1951-
United States -- Politics and government -- 1969-1974.

Related Collections in this Repository

Clifford H. (Baldy) Baldowski Editorial Cartoons

Ben Blackburn Papers

D. W. Brooks Oral History Collection

Howard H. (Bo) Callaway Papers

John W. Davis Papers

E. L. Forrester Papers

Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee Papers

Roy V. Harris Papers

Mack F. Mattingly Papers

Erwin Mitchell Papers

Maston O'Neal Papers

John L. Pilcher Papers

Prince H. Preston Papers

Richard B. Russell, Jr. Collection

Richard B. Russell Oral History interviews

T. Rogers Wade Collection of Herman E. Talmadge Materials

S. Ernest Vandiver Papers

Iris F. Blitch Papers

Hugh Peterson, Sr. Papers

Ed Friend Visual Materials

Related Collections in Other Repositories

Governor, Executive Department, Georgia Department of Archives and History

Richard H. Rich papers, Woodruff Special Collections, Emory University

William Berry Hartsfield papers, Woodruff Special Collections, Emory University

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

Georgia Governors roundtable oral history interview, 1985 Oct. 31, Georgia Government Documentation Project, William Russell Pullen Library, Georgia State University

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 C: United States Senatorial Papers

XII. Related Materials

Related materials are items that by physical form are not part of the papers in the collection, but by content are related to the intellectual content of the papers. Any nontextual materials originally filed with papers were removed for preservation purposes and improved access. These materials include photographs, audiovisual materials, artifacts and books; physical form determines arrangement and storage.

3. Artifacts
4Printing plates
5Department of the Army, Agriculture, Justice, Navy, and Coast Guard Seals
6Veterans Administration, Department of the Air Force, Seal of the Canal Zone, Panama Canal Co., Department of the Navy, Department of the Treasury Seals
7Certificates, awards, campaign memorabilia, license plates
8Certificates, awards, campaign signs [Includes a neck tie with Talmadge's image printed on it]
9Certificates and awards [Includes artwork for political cartoon "...The Buck Stops Here!" by Clifford H. Baldowski (Baldy)]
10Letter openers, gavel, plates, bell, jar, box shaped like peanut
13Framed pen used to sign Book of Senators
14Framed Commissions
15Framed Commissions
16Framed pens used to sign book of senators
17Framed Commissions
18Framed campaign brochure
19Framed invitation
20Framed Talmadge campaign brochure
21Framed article "Busy Life of Georgia's Senator Herman E. Talmadge"
22Framed red Talmadge suspenders
23Talmadge campaign signs, 1980
24Marble state of Georgia wall plaque
25Small Herman Talmadge statue and a marble desk set
26Framed Eugene Talmadge poster
27Herman Talmadge Highway sign
28Watergate cross stitch , 1974
29VFW Congressional Award plaque, 1977
30MARTA plaque
31Herman Talmadge bronze bust on wood block by Acree
32Plaques and framed
33Plaques and framed
34Plaques and framed
35Plaques and framed
36Plaques and framed
37Plaques and framed
38Plaques and framed
39Plaques and framed
40Plaques and framed
41Plaques and framed
42Plaques and framed
43Plaques and framed
OversizedDiagram of the Thurmond Family Tree, Prepared by Hortense Woodson of Edgefield, SC, undated
OversizedCertificate of Commendation and Appreciation from the Georgia Poultry Federation and the Georgia Poultry Improvement Association, 1979
4501"Talmadge 77" T-Shirt, circa 1977
4502"Youth for Talmadge" T-Shirt, undated
4503Rug with picture of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and White House, undated
4504"Talmadge for Georgia 1980" Rug, circa 1980
1Framed portrait of Herman E. Talmadge by artist Kenneth Fox, undated
02Framed tobacco leaves presented by the Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corporation, 1971 June 25
44Herm's Germs softball jersey for Senator Talmadge's staff softball team [worn by former Talmadge intern, William T. Daniel, Jr.], 1976