The Everett McKinley Dirksen Collection consists of five major groups of material: reference volumes, still photographs, audiovisual items, memorabilia, and papers. Each group is described individually in finding aids housed at The Center. Arrangement varies according to type of record.
The Dirksen Papers, the largest of the five divisions, consist predominately of files accumulated during Everett Dirksen's years as a U.S. Senator, 1951-69. Several smaller additions to the main collection include material spanning other years of Dirksen's life.
Major file groups encompass campaigns and politics, public works, legislation, constituent correspondence and casework, patronage, congressional leadership activities, remarks and releases, and clippings. Each of these sections, and smaller ones as well, are described in more detail in The Center's finding aids.
List of Collection Series
4.0 linear shelf feet
Office and personal appointment books and office guest sign-in books.
Chicago Office File, 1880-1972
99.0 linear shelf feet
Constituent casework, Illinois patronage, inter-office memoranda, and, notably, political and campaign files for Dirksen's four Senate campaigns and his other political activities. Includes personal files of the office's director, Harold E. Rainville.
Clippings File, 1930-70
7 linear shelf feet
Dirksen Information file, 1933-present
1 linear shelf foot
Created by Center staff, this file contains copies of articles about Dirksen, the Congressional Record index to his remarks, the New York Times Index of references to him, and the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature citations to Dirksen. For more information about Dirksen, click here for an online version of the bibliographical essay that appears in his memoir, The Education of a Senator.
Dirksen, Louella Carver, 1933-76
2 linear shelf feet
Information regarding Mrs.Dirksen's participation in various service and political organizations, letters of condolence upon Senator Dirksen's death, notes and drafts for The Honorable Mr. Marigold.
Bulk of films are Your Senator Reports, Dirksen's weekly television broadcast. Also documentaries and miscellany. Selected films have been converted to videotape.
Financial Records, 1928-62
2.5 linear shelf feet
Bank statements, canceled checks, invoices, and ledger pages for the most part dealing with political campaigns.
Form Letters, 1951-69
In order to reply to constituents, the Dirksen office created a library of responses arranged alphabetically by subject within each year. Having these online will give viewers a quick snapshot of the legislative workload and, in a sense, Dirksen's style of representation and constituent service. The folder numbers in the list below designate the folders of the Chicago Office File in which the originals are located.
Legislative File, 1933-70
24 linear shelf feet
Copies of bills introduced, co-sponsored, or amended by Dirksen and his voting records.
ca. 1,500 items
Newsletters: Congressional Front, 1933-46
From his first week in office in the House of Representatives through 1946, Congressman Everett Dirksen personally composed and typed weekly newsletters (while Congress was in session) to his constituents in central Illinois. Congressional Front, as it was called, covered the personalities, politics, and policies of Congress and the federal government.
4 linear shelf feet
More than 12,500 pages of outlines and texts, reference materials, and other documents collected by Dirksen and kept in a set of personal notebooks.
Pamphlets and Periodicals, 1916-69
1 linear shelf foot
Patronage, 1939-70 RESTRICTED
4.5 linear shelf feet
Material related to applicants for federal jobs and judicial appointments. Closed to research.
3 linear shelf feet
Incomplete information about Dirksen’s writings, recordings, and family matters. Features extensive personal correspondence between Everett and Louella, 1918-1949.
Photographs, ca. 1860-1975
10 linear shelf feet
11 linear shelf feet
Correspondence and material related to Dirksen's campaigns and political activities, including his participation in Republican National Conventions.
Public Works File, 1931-70
55.5 linear shelf feet
The record of federally-funded projects (community projects, depressed areas, highways, and rivers and harbors) in Illinois and Dirksen's involvement in them.
and Releases, 1941-69
6.0 linear shelf feet
Drafts and transcripts of speeches; selected remarks in Congress (The Center does not have copies of the Congressional Record featuring Dirksen speeches on the floor), interviews of radio and television; Republican leadership press releases; weekly constituent newsletters; transcripts of Your Senator Reports; and, Dirksen's newspaper column. Unfortunately, Dirksen rarely composed his remarks in advance; in many cases no record of them survives.
Republican Leadership File, 1916-69
4.0 linear shelf feet
The Joint Senate-House Republican Leadership Minutes and Statements section documents the meetings of Republican congressional leaders, 1961-68. A second section pertains to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, 1949-59, which Dirksen chaired, 1952-54.
Working Papers, 1857-1969
Joint Senate-House Republican Leadership Minutes, 1961-68
The minutes of the Republican leadership during the presidential administrations of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. In their original state, each session’s minutes generally include attendance, brief summaries of topics discussed, and background “fact sheets” for statements at press conferences following the meetings. The digitized document presented here include only the formal minutes. The press conferences following the leadership meetings achieved fame as the “Ev and Charlie” and “Ev and Jerry” shows. For audio samples and curricular materials associated with a small sample of these minutes, please visit “The 1960s: A Multi-Media View from Capitol Hill” at http://www.dirksencenter.org/emd_audio/index.htm.
41 linear shelf feet
Topically arranged reference file for legislation, selected constituent cases, speeches, and other matters. The bulk contains information concerning legislation between 1964 and 1969. Topics receiving relatively substantial attention include civil rights, foreign trade, Internal Revenue Code amendments, attempts to repeal Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, Dirksen's prayer amendment and reapportionment amendment, and the activities of the Trading With the Enemy Act subcommittee.