Report #2: Two Series Down, Three to Go
Many experienced archivists dealing with political papers suggest that processing begin with Speeches, a sub-series under the Media Files. Because boxes labeled speeches seemed incomplete and because we couldn’t readily locate or identify other speech files, we chose a different approach. Discussions with researchers and a closer look at recent and past reference requests revealed two areas that deserved immediate attention. One was material, especially correspondence, that could be subsumed under the Personal Series; the other included files and loose material related to the 1964 Presidential Campaign.
The first presented significant arrangement and description challenges largely because the material had been disseminated for multiple research and exhibit purposes through the years. Certain records, such as the much quoted Alpha Files, were believed missing and misappropriated. The second, representing a seminal period in national campaign strategies and party ideology, was surprisingly brief. Here, the gaps were so large as to make the remaining files appear out of context. This was further complicated by an emphasis previously placed on the preservation of 1964 memorabilia over memos, correspondence, and records generated by various the campaign committees.
There had been several attempts to process the Goldwater Papers over the years. This resulted in several arrangement strategies, unidentified but re-foldered material, identified folders randomly mixed as well as loose and un-filed correspondence. Where to begin? Appraisal, appraisal, appraisal and more pinpoint physical control. The Personal Series ultimately breaks down as follows: Alpha Files, Art, Aviation, Awards & Certificates, Boards & Memberships, Correspondence (A-Z), General Correspondence (A-Z), Family Correspondence, Family History, Military, Photography, Public Appearances, Radio, Republican Party, Senate Campaigns, and Writings totaling. We are pleased to report that the Alpha Files now resemble their original order and appear largely intact.
The 1964 Presidential Campaign, on the other hand, has significant gaps. This seems partly due to the transient nature of campaign files and campaign workers and the fact in 1965, much of the material was sold by a former campaign manager to another repository. Over the years, many campaign items, much of it memorabilia, were sent to Senator Goldwater. This series, more than any other, has the look and feel of an artificial collection. Much of the material was accumulated after the fact and came from multiple sources. Very few speech drafts remain. Of interest to the archivist and librarian are 5,000 pages of an unpublished Commerce Committee Print that documents all the speeches, public appearances, and television-radio broadcasts of both Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates. This is very likely the most comprehensive record for the 1964 Presidential Campaign. Apart from AHF, only the University of Washington and UC Berkeley have portions of this committee print. Of interest to Arizonans and those who follow Arizona politics, it was Senator Carl Hayden (D-Arizona) who killed publishing this material because he felt it was too expensive.