Request Material

Max Cleland Papers, Series IX. Artifacts

Max Cleland Papers, Series IX. Artifacts

Descriptive Summary

Title: Max Cleland Papers, Series IX. Artifacts
Creator: Cleland, Max, 1942-2021
Inclusive Dates: 1970-2003
Language(s): English
Extent: 37 box(es) (21 linear feet)
Collection Number: RBRL157MC_IX
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Cleland represented Georgia in the U.S. Senate (1997-2002), with previous service as a Georgia state senator, head of the Veterans Administration, and Georgia Secretary of State. Series IX. Artifacts contains materials from throughout Cleland's life and political career, including his military service, political campaigns, and awards.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Max Cleland was born in 1942 in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned a B.A. from Stetson University and a M.A. in history from Emory University in 1968. After one year at Emory, he joined the Army to fight in the Vietnam War, reaching the rank of captain. He served from 1965 to 1968, when he was injured by a grenade and lost both legs and his right arm.

Cleland began a life-long career in politics when he was elected to the Georgia state senate in 1970, the youngest member ever elected. He served as a consultant to Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs (1975-1977) and was appointed head of the Veterans Administration in 1977 by President Carter. He was the first Vietnam veteran to hold that post.

Following the end of Carter's presidential term, Cleland returned to Georgia and was elected as Georgia Secretary of State in 1982. In this position, he was responsible for enforcing regulations related to commerce, industry and licensing in the state, maintaining the state's records, and overseeing elections. He was re-elected for three more terms. He resigned during the fourth term to run for U.S. Senate to replace retiring senator Sam Nunn. Cleland, a Democrat, was elected to the Senate in 1996. Among his contributions were working on campaign finance reform, military policy (including advocating caution with U.S. peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans), taxes, commerce, improved conditions for armed services personnel, maintaining a competitive air travel industry, and voting reform. He was also part of a bipartisan panel that investigated the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. Cleland represented Georgia in the Senate until 2002, when he lost a close race to Saxby Chambliss.

After leaving the Senate, Cleland has remained active in politics, campaigning for Democrats and giving motivational speeches around the country. Since 2009, he has served as Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Source: Grant, Chris. "Max Cleland (b. 1942)." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 26 August 2013. Web. 17 April 2014.

Scope and Content

Series IX. Artifacts contains objects related to all periods of Cleland's career, including campaign materials, commissioning documents, objects related to significant legislation and accomplishments achieved during his service, and objects related to his military service and Alive Day, which commemorated his survival of the Vietnam War.

Organization and Arrangement

This series is divided into 6 subseries: A. Alive Day, B. Georgia State Senator, C. Administrator of the U.S. Veterans Administration, D. Georgia Secretary of State, E. United States Senator, and F. Personal.

Because of the size of this collection, the remainder of the series are described in separate finding aids. A collection summary, including links to each of these series finding aids, is available online: Max Cleland Papers: Collection Summary.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

This series is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

People with disabilities -- Georgia.
Political campaigns -- Georgia.
Politicians -- Georgia.
United States. Congress. Senate
Veterans -- United States.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975.

Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 079 Max Cleland

Zell Miller Papers

Related Collections in Other Repositories

Max Cleland Collection at Stetson University Special Collections

Max Cleland Papers at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


Series IX. Artifacts, 1970-2003

37 box(es) (21 linear feet)
Series IX. Artifacts contains objects related to all periods of Cleland's career, including campaign materials, commissioning documents, objects related to significant legislation and accomplishments achieved during his service, and objects related to his military service and Alive Day, which commemorated his survival of the Vietnam War.

Subseries A. Alive Day , 1999-2000

( 7 item(s) )
Subseries A. Alive Day documents Cleland's celebration of the day he survived the grenade explosion during the Vietnam War, losing both legs and his right arm. The subseries inclues posters, plaques, awards, and letters from men he served with, friends, and military officials.
IX.10Alive Day Plaque, 2000
Wooden plaque in the shape of Georgia. Includes metal medallions representing military branches in Georgia and inscribed "Presented by your Georgia Army Commanders"
IX.2Alive Day Letter from General Eric K. Shinseki, United States Army Chief of Staff, 2000 April 8
Letter is mounted on a plaque.
IX.2Alive Day Letter from Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera, 2000 April 8
Letter is mounted on a plaque.
IX.11Alive Day Poster, 2000
Includes image of Cleland in uniform, a bald eagle, "Freedom's Guardian" insignia and the U.S. Senate seal. Mounted on foam core.
IX.14Alive Day Poster, undated
Hand drawn with basketball theme
IX.8Black and White Photograph of Hun Kong Mountain in An Khe, Vietnam, 13th Signal Operations on Top of Mountain in 1967, 2000
Framed with 1st Calvary Patch and poem by Jimmy Shields entitled "Vietnam Veteran". Inscription "To Max: Welcome Home! Happy Alive Day 2000! From one of your men in Vietnam, 1967. Jim Shields, March 17, 2000."
IX.9Forces Command Sergeant Audie Murphy Award, 1999 April 8
Includes certificate, medal, and metal plate. Inscribed "Sergeant Audie Murphy Club Induction, Alive Day".

Subseries B. Georgia State Senator , 1970

( 2 box(es) )
Subseries B. contains items from Cleland's service as a Georgia State Senator (1971-1975), including handwritten charts with voting returns and his commission from 1970 when he was elected.
IX.30Commission as State Senator for Georgia from Ben W. Fortson, 1970 November 3
IX.3Election Results, circa 1970
Handwritten vote tally charts, with columns for Cleland and "What'is Name".

Subseries C. Administrator of the U.S. Veterans Administration , 1977-1981

( 8 item(s) )
Subseries C. contains items from Cleland's service as Administrator of the U.S. Veterans Administration (1977-1981). Items include congratulation letters from the State Senate and Lithonia high school, a hard hat, a map with veterans' service points marked, a statue of a soldier with the slogan for a campaign to aid Vietnam veterans, and the U.S. joint resolution to fund the construction of Vietnam Memorial.
IX.4Georgia State Senate Resolution Congratulating Cleland for his Contributions after being Appointed Head of the Veterans Administration, 1977
IX.4Hard Hat labeled "VA Administrator Max Cleland", circa 1977-1981
IX.4Lithonia High School Congratulations Card when Cleland was Appointed Head of the Veterans Administration, circa 1977
Cleland had attended Lithonia High School.
IX.32Map of the United States, circa 1977-1981
Color-coded pins indicate Veterans Administration hospitals, regional offices, national cemeteries, speaking engagements, veterans' centers, and data processing centers.
IX.31U.S. Congress Joint Resolution to Fund the Construction of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., 1980 July 1
Signed by President Jimmy Carter and framed with a photograph of Carter speaking outside the White House at the ceremony to announce the memorial.
IX.35Vietnam War Memorial Statue, circa 1977-1981
Three soldiers (metal) on a marble base with the words "May I Help You?" This was the slogan of a publicity campaign for the Veterans Administration to encourage people to reach out to Vietnam veterans.
IX.36Original political cartoon by Clifford Baldowski , 1977 July 27
Includes Carter, Ford, Reagan and others. Inscription: "To my great friend, Max Cleland. Even he can make one mistake. Baldy"
IX.37Letter from Chaplin Bill B. Wilson to Cleland (framed), 1980 January 27
Wilson, a chaplin in a VA hospital in Wyoming, writes Cleland to thank him for changing his life by sending a gift of the book "The Man from Ida Grove" and encourages him to stay with the VA rather than running for office.

Subseries D. Georgia Secretary of State , 1982-1996

( 11 box(es) )
Subseries D. contains items from Cleland's service as Georgia Secretary of State (1982-1996), including campaign memorabilia, commissioning documents, publicity materials for Open Door campaign to increase voter turnout, and scrapbooks.
IX.1"Open Door" Campaign Publicity Materials, 1990
Campaign was to increase voter turnout.
IX.4Belt buckle with the Georgia State Flag, inscribed "Max Cleland, Secretary of State, Keeper of the Flag", circa 1982-1996
IX.3Campaign Maps, 1982
IX.4Campaign, Film Slate for Kickoff, 1990
IX.4Cleland Roast Poster, 1988
IX.23Commission as Secretary of State of Georgia from Joe Frank Harris, 1987 January 13
IX.26Commission as Secretary of State of Georgia from Joe Frank Harris, 1983 January 11
IX.24Commission as Secretary of State of Georgia from Zell Miller, 1991 January 14
IX.25Commission as Secretary of State of Georgia from Zell Miller, 1995 January 10
IX.4Common Cause of Georgia Leadership Award for Promoting Meaningful Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform, 1991
IX.21Max Cleland Campaign Scrapbook, circa 1982
Includes campaign sign and photographs.
IX.2Photograph Album of Cleland's Staff at Work, 1995
IX.34Plaque of Appreciation for Cleland's Service as Secretary of State, circa 1996
IX.2Scrapbook, 1992-1993
Includes photographs, correspondence, and newspaper clippings.
IX.22Scrapbook, 1983
Includes newspaper clippings about his election, speeches, and events.

Subseries E. United States Senator , 1996-2002

( 8 box(es) )
Subseries E. contains items from Cleland's service as United States Senator (1997-2003) , including campaign memorabilia, his commission, the chair he used in the Senate, and artifacts from impeachment proceedings against President Clinton and from signing of executive order to increase employment of adults with disabilities.
IX.1Campaign, circa 2002
Photographs and text printed on foam core.
IX.4Campaign Memorabilia, circa 1997-2003
Includes buttons, bumper stickers, flyers with inspirational quotes, and photographs.
IX.3Campaign Posters: "The Courage to Lead 2002" and "Sportsmen for Max Cleland", circa 2002
IX.4Campaign: Art for Political Cartoon, 1996
Paul Broun, Jr. and Clint Day depicted as children getting in trouble for taking the wheels off of Cleland's wheelchair. Includes drawings in color and black and white for the cartoon by D'Ann Mehlin and Mike Luckovich. Published in the Atlanta Constitution.
IX.1Campaign: Art for Political Cartoon, 1996 June
Two large cars representing the Paul Broun Jr. and Clint Day senate campaigns have run over a wheelchair representing Cleland's campaign. Drawing by Clyde Wells, The Augusta Chronicle.
IX.33Cleland Drafts Plans to Reform Election Spending, 1996 November 7
Framed front page of the Georgia Times-Union, including images of Cleland after he learned he won the Georgia State Senate seat and of Milner learning of his defeat.
IX.27Chair from Senate Floor, circa 1997-2003
IX.29Commission as U.S. Senator for Georgia, circa 1997
IX.28Impeachment Proceedings against President Clinton, circa 1999
Large frame that includes a photograph, roll call votes signed by Cleland on Articles 1 & 2, bound booklet "Procedures and Guidelines for Impeachment Trials in the United States Senate," and a pen.
IX.12Increasing Employment of Adults with Disabilities Executive Order, 1998 March 19
Framed with a pen and a photograph of Clinton with a group, including Cleland, while signing the Executive Order.
IX.4U.S. Congress Trading Card, 1998

Subseries F. Personal , 1970-2003

( 15 box(es) )
Subseries F. Personal contains items related to Cleland's military service, some of his prosthetic legs, portraits, and gifts.
IX.3To the Max, 1994
Poem by Darla Steinberg detailing Cleland's life.
IX.4Blinded Veterans Association Plastic Bullhorn Inscribed with "Hearing is Believing, Hire a Blinded Veteran", undated
IX.5Homemade Blue Cape, 1982
Made by Donna Marlene. Has beaded decorations, including the Georgia State Seal and Cleland's initials.
IX.4National Paraplegia Foundation Decorative Tag for a Car that reads "Wheel With Us", undated
IX.2Plaque from Fellow Veterans of Foreign Wars Honoring Cleland for his Courage and his Example, undated
IX.3Portrait of Cleland in Military Uniform, circa 1970
Color drawing by "Betty".
IX.1Portrait of Cleland with Three Medals, 1978
Pencil drawing by R. Edwards, Sergeant US Marine Corps.
IX.14Print of Vietnam Patrol, undated
Inscribed to Cleland from a soldier who served with him.
IX.7Prosthetic leg, undated
Cleland's first prosthetic leg, which he had bronzed.
IX.17Prosthetic leg, undated
IX.18Prosthetic leg, undated
IX.19Prosthetic leg, undated
IX.20Prosthetic leg, undated
IX.16RBR Service Award (Bust of Richard B. Russell), undated
IX.6Statue of a Hand Making a "Thumbs Up" Gesture, with the Inscription "Max Cleland Thumbs Up Says it All", undated
IX.15Statue of Richard B. Russell, undated
IX.13Vietnam Veterans in the Senate visiting the Vietnam War Memorial, circa 1997-2003
Includes Cleland, John Kerry, John McCain, Bob Kerry, Chuck Hagel, and a Senator from South Carolina.