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Collection 1059 - James Francis O’Connor Papers, 1937-1945

Creator: O'Connor, James Francis, 1878-1945

Provenance Note: Papers and correspondence from the office of U.S. Representative James Francis O'Connor of Montana were donated to Special Collections by Mrs. Geneva Lott of Livingston, Montana, the Congressman's only daughter, in 1970. The collection consists of office files kept in the Livingston office of Rep. O'Connor during his career in the U.S. House of Representatives. The office was managed by Miles O'Connor, the Congressman's son, who was also his law partner.

Historical Note: James Francis O'Connor was born May 7, 1878, near California Junction, Iowa. He attended public and normal schools in that state and graduated from the Nebraska Law School in 1904. He came to Montana in 1905 and practiced law in Livingston. He began his public career as a judge of the Sixth Judicial District and becoming a member of the Democratic Party. Later he was elected to the Montana House of Representatives and was elected Speaker in his first term. During much of his career he owned a ranch near White Sulphur Springs. In 1936 he was elected to the U.S. Congress from the Second District, representing eastern Montana, and was re-elected in 1938, 1940, 1942, and 1944. He served on several committees and was chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs. He died on January 13, 1945, while serving in Congress. His only son, Miles O'Connor, died the same year.

Content Description Note: The collection consists of 3 linear feet of papers and correspondence from O'Connor's Livingston office. The papers are arranged in topically labeled folders with a general effort to sort the material chronologically. Original folder titles have, for the most part, been retained. Series 1 contains papers pertaining to O'Connor's ranch properties in Park County, MT. Series 2 contains topical files concerning a wide variety of subject matter, including: the WPA, Farm Credit Administration, House Committee on Indian Affairs, the America First Committee, the Fort Peck Dam, Senator James E. Murray, and Senator Burton K. Wheeler. Newspaper clippings pertaining to O'Connor are arranged in Series 3 under broad subject headings. Series 4 contains a number of O'Connor's speeches both in Montana and in Congress arranged chronologically from 1937 to 1944. Series 5 contains 15 photographs of O'Connor, family, and associates.

Contents

Series 1 Ranch Papers, 1931-1945
Series 2 Topical Files, 1937-1945
Series 3 Newspaper Clippings, 1942, n.d.
Series 4 Speeches, 1937-1944
Series 5 Photographs

Series 1: Ranch papers, 1931-1945

Handwritten and carbon copies of typed letters relating to O'Connor's ranch properties in Park County, Montana. Includes letters to his hired men during his terms in Washington D.C. regarding management of his ranches.

Box 1
1. Ranch Papers, 2K Ranch, Elmer Dobson correspondence, 1942-1943
2. Ranch Papers, 2K Ranch, J. Kirchbaum correspondence, 1931-1938
3. Ranch Papers, 2K Ranch, Kirchbaum corr. 1939-1940
4. Ranch Papers, 2K Ranch, Kirchbaum corr. 1941-1942
5. Ranch Papers, 2K Ranch, Kirchbaum, corr. 1943-1944,45

Contents | Special Collections

Series 2: Topical files, 1937-1945

Papers and correspondence pertaining to a wide range of topics and arranged chronologically by year (whenever possible). Folder titles are, for the most part, original and generally denote the issues which were of interest at different periods of O'Connor's stay in the House of Representatives including the WPA, Farm Credit Administration, the Democratic Party, Indian Affairs, the America First Committee, Senator James E. Murray and Senator Burton K. Wheeler. Folders in Box 5 have been taken out of the chronological sequence since their contents are not restricted to a single year.

Box 1 (cont.)
6. Drought Crisis, 1937
7. WPA
8. WPA and the Drought Crisis, 1937
9. Henry A. Wallace, 1937
10. Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1937
11. Farm Credit Administration, 1937
12. Farm Credit Administration, Special Cases, 1937
13. Farmer's Union, 1937
14. Federal Land Bank, 1937
15. Fort Peck Dam, 1937
16. Home Loans, 1937
17. Labor Unions, 1937
18. Correspondence, 1937

Box 2
1. Department of Agriculture, 1937
2. Appointments (Requests for) - 1937
3. Correspondence, Requests, 1938
4. Great Falls to Receive Federal Crop Ins. 1938
5. Public Debt, 1938
6. Correspondence, 1939
7. Announcement of Candidacy, 1940
8. Campaign Appointments, 1940
9. Correspondence, 1940, Democratic Committee, etc.
10. Correspondence, Democratic Party
11. Correspondence, 1940, Individuals
12. Campaign Correspondence, Attorneys, 1940
13. Correspondence, Associations, Agencies, 1940
14. Form Letters, 1940
15. Campaign Advertising, 1940
16. Indian Vote (Rober Yellowtail), 1940
17. Lewistown Postmaster Affair, 1940

Box 3
1. Labor Unions, 1940
2. U.S. Cabinet, etc., 1940
3. U.S. Congress, Lyndon B. Johnson, John W. McCormack, Sam Rayburn, 1940
4. Thank You Letters, 1940 Campaign
5. Election Returns, 1940
6. Congratulations, 1940
7. Correspondence, 1941
8. Criticism of Administration, 1941
9. Labor Unions, 1941
10. Announcement and Filing, 1942
11. Correspondence, 1942
12. Correspondence, general, July-Dec. 1942
13. Form Letters, 1942
14. Democratic Committees (National), 1942
15. Democratic Committees (State), 1942
16. Democratic Workers (State), 1942
17. Form Letters about campaign announcement, 1942

Box 4
1. Correspondence about Candidacy, 1942
2. Postmasters, 1942
3. Correspondence from VIPs, Sam Rayburn, etc. 1942
4. Government Officials, general correspondence and Papers, 1942
5. Campaign Materials, 1942
6. About F.F. Haynes, Campaign Opponent, 1942
7. James Murray, FDR, etc., 1942
8. Campaign Correspondence, Clippings, Jerry O'Connell, 1942
9. Indian Vote, 1942
10. Labor Unions, 1942
11. Correspondence, Congratulations, 1942
12. Bridger Times Condemns O'Connor, 1942
13. Controversy over News Stories, 1942
14. Murray, Sen. James, campaign of 1942
15. Voting Record, 1942
16. Columnists Drew Pearson and Robert Allen attack O'Connor
17. Cut Bank Pioneer Press Endorsement of O'Connor, Criticism of Murray
18. Letters of Congratulation, 1942
19. Thank You Letters, 1942
20. Election Returns, 1942
21. Certificates of Election
22. Correspondence, 1943-
23. Obituaries and Memorials, 1945

Box 5
1. Unamerican Activities Smear, 1941-1942
2. Unamerican Activities Smear, "People's Voice"
3. Vocational Education
4. Fraser, Willard
5. Haynes Fritz, 1942
6. Melvin Hoiness GOP Opponent, 1942
7. Murray, Sen. James E.
8. O'Connell, Jerry, 1940
9. America First, Correspondence about
10. Crop Loans
11. Fish
12. Forest Service
13. Ft. Harrison Reopenings, 1937-1938
14. Fort Peck Dam, 1937-1938
15. Ft. Peck Game Reserve
16. Freight Rates, all years
17. Housing

Box 6
1. Sugar
2. Supreme Court Packing Issue
3. Townsend Plan, 1937-1942
4. Wheeler, Burton K., correspondence

Contents | Special Collections

Series 3: Newspaper clippings, 1942, n.d.

Newspaper clippings from the period of O'Connor's Congressional terms. Clippings are of both articles and editorials, and are taken from numerous state and national newspapers, including the Great Falls Tribune, the Miles City Star, the Livingston Enterprise, and many others. Topics covered include O'Connor's campaigns, isolationism during the pre-war period, the America First Committee, FDR, the Democratic Party, and others. Clippings are arranged loosely by topic. In some cases, an entire newspaper page is included, and the article of scrutiny is marked. Box 8 contains two scrapbooks of mounted clippings.

Box 6 (cont.)
5. Newspaper Clippings, 1942 (Roosevelt)
6. Newspaper Clippings, 1942 (Social Problems)
7. Newspaper Clippings, 1942 (Labor and the War)
8. Nwspaper Clippings, 1942 War Effort
9. Newspaper Clippings, 1942, Montana
10. Newspaper Clippings, O'Connor
11. Newspaper Clippings, O'Connor
12. Newspaper Clippings, O'Connor
13. Newspaper Clippings, Other Democrats
14. Newspaper Clippings, Roosevelt
15. Newspaper Clippings, War Effort
16. Newspaper Clippings, Political Issues-National

Box 7
1. Newspaper Clippings, Political Issues-Montana
2. Newspaper Clippings, Indian Problems
3. Newspaper Clippings, Lindbergh, Col. Charles A.

Box 8 Scrapbooks (2 volumes)

Contents | Special Collections

Series 4: Speeches, 1937-1944

Speeches delivered by Rep. O'Connor and others between 1937-1944. Some speeches were delivered in the House of Representatives and printed in the Congressional Record. Others are photostatic copies or typed pages. Topics include foreign affairs, farm production, election matters, Lend-Lease and other legislation.

Box 7 (cont.)
4. "Indians, Their Lands, Rights...Crow Indians of Montana" Cong. Rec June 15, 1937
5. "Necessity for General Farm Legislation", "Crop Ins." Cong. Rec. Aug. 5,10, 1937
6. "My Report..." (O'Connor's Activities in His 1st Session), Aug. 16, 1937
7. "Pending Farm Legislation" Speech on CBS Radio, Dec. 20, 1937
8. "General Welfare Act...", "Plight of the Farmer", Cong. Rec., May 25, 31, 1938
9. Speeches to Montanans, 1938
10. "Our Duty to the Aged" Cong. Rec. May 31, 1939
11. "Neutrality" Cong. Rec. Oct. 31, 1939
12. "My Fellow Democrats" Campaign Speeches in Montana, 1940
13. "Reciprocal Trade", "Reclamation", "Townsend Plan", Cong. Rec. Feb. 26, Mar. 5, May 6, 1940
14. "Sugar Legislation", "National Farm Program", Cong. Rec. June 20, July 1, 1940
15. "Manufacturers' Sales Tax", Cong. Rec., Mar. 26, 1941
16. "Lend-Lease Bill", Cong. Rec., Feb. 17, 1941
17. "Old-Age Pensions", Cong. Rec., Feb. 18, 1941
18. Indian Affairs, April 14, 1941
19. "Extension of Sugar Act", Dec. 1, 1941
20. "Hon. Charles Leavy", "Sugar...Industrial Alcohol", "Purchasing Power", Cong. Rec. Feb. 19, April 27, June 1, 1942
21. "Nation's Part in War...", "Food Production...in War", Cong. Rec., June 25, Sep. 22, 1942
22. Campaign Speeches in Montana, 1942, Some by Miles O'Connor
23. Speeches in Progress, Fragments of Speeches, 1942
24. "Report to Montana", Cong. Rec. Sep. 18, 1944

Contents | Special Collections

Series 5: Photographs

15 black and white photographs of Rep. O'Connor, his home and family, and associates. Size varies from 4x5" to 8x10". Six autographed photographs of portraits including Sam Rayburn, are included. (Photographs 1-8 have matching negatives included in the folder.)

Box 7 (cont.)
Folder 5. Photos #1-15
#1. O'Connor with son Miles at ranch
#2. O'Connor with wife
#3. O'Connor's house in Livingston
#4. O'Connor's house in Livingston
#5. O'Connor with grandsons
#6. O'Connor and family
#7. O'Connor riding horse in Livingston parade
#8. O'Connor in Livingston parade
#9. Autographed Portrait of Sam Rayburn
#10. Group of Men at Office Table
#11. Autographed Portrait of E. E. Cox
#12. Autographed Portrait of J. Burrwood Daley
#13. Autographed Portrait [Raymand Genune?]
#14. Autographed Portrait [Paul Green?]
#15. Autographed Portrait [T. Leavy?]

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 5/19/09