James A. Zellner Papers, 1944-1983

Container Title
Series 5
Part 1 (Series 5, Disc 186A, PH 3344): Original Collection, 1907-1988
Physical Description: 22.4 c.f. (61 archives boxes and 1 card box), 1 reel of microfilm (35mm), 1 disc recording, 231 photographs, and 1 transparency 
Scope and Content Note

Papers, mainly 1944-1950, of a former Republican governor, businessman, and philanthropist, primarily documenting his tenure as lieutenant governor, 1945-1947, acting governor following the death of Walter S. Goodland, 1947-1949, and governor, 1949-1951. Included are correspondence and memoranda to and from constituents and governmental departments and officials, indexed speeches (one available in recorded form) and support material, press releases, appointment files, files concerning his 1944 and 1948 election campaigns, microfilmed clippings and other biographical information, and a few files of members of his staff. Subject files document a number of issues of concern during the period such as deer hunting, the Griffenhagen study for reorganization of state government, rent control, housing for World War II veterans, state printing and governmental efficiency, the new governor's mansion, and the state centennial celebration. Well documented federal and state governmental agencies with which Rennebohm had contact include the Annuity and Investment Board, the Committee on Educational Improvement, the Committee on the Resettlement of Displaced Persons, the U.S. Housing Expediter, the Grain and Warehouse Commission, and the Veterans Affairs Department.

The Rennebohm gubernatorial papers were among the first documents accessioned by the public records program at the State Historical Society. It is not known when the papers were organized, but it is likely this occurred during the 1950s. In 1969 Governor Warren Knowles discovered some additional files in the vault at the governor's office including speeches, campaign files, invitations, and memorabilia. At the same time, Mrs. Rennebohm turned over to the Historical Society several cartons of clippings and memorabilia. In 1988 these files were integrated into the earlier holdings and the entire collection reappraised in light of current archival practices and holdings elsewhere in the Archives and in the Society Library.

The resulting collection documents well Rennebohm's years as acting governor and governor, but contains virtually no information on his private life or his business career. It also seems to confirm his comparative isolation from the regular Republican Party leadership, although there is frequent correspondence with such Republicans as William J. Campbell and John Chapple. In addition, there is relatively little in the papers about specific legislation, certainly nothing like the bill files maintained in the offices of many Wisconsin governors in order to collect information and opinions on all pending bills. Nevertheless, there is good information in the papers on several important issues such as rent control and housing, particularly housing for World War II veterans; the presence of ROTC on the University of Wisconsin campus; and the Griffenhagen study of the organization of state government. There are also files in the collection on several state agencies for which there are no records of the period in existence in the Archives (and presumably no records in existence elsewhere).

The series contain correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, speeches, press releases, campaign material, financial reports, photographs, microfilmed biographical clippings, and memorabilia. It is organized as GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, APPOINTMENT FILES, SPEECHES AND WRITINGS, DEPARTMENTAL FILES, CAMPAIGN FILES, SUBJECT FILES, and MISCELLANEOUS FILES.

The GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE is divided into two categories: an early numerical file and a later alphabetical file. The numerical system may be a filing system inherited by Rennebohm from his predecessor in early 1947. It continued until the end of that year. Unfortunately, there is no index for the numerical file which includes about 1000 categories, and few letters bear any notation to indicate precisely what these categories were. It is likely that the file fulfilled the function of the later subject and department files. The later portion of the general correspondence includes letters filed alphabetically by correspondent which were not appropriate in any of the other files. There is no separate file for 1949.

The APPOINTMENT FILES contain letters and recommendations from and about prospective gubernatorial appointees. Appointments for state agencies, commissions, and boards are arranged alphabetically by agency name; county and local appointments are arranged alphabetically by county.

SPEECHES AND WRITINGS consist of a numerical file (#100-#360) of Rennebohm gubernatorial speeches. Reading copies (some with handwritten annotations) are included, together with a few drafts and printed versions. An index file provides access to the numbered speeches by subject, by audience, and by type of speech. The reference files originally contained information collected by Rennebohm and his speech writers on diverse topics which might be useful in preparing remarks. From this, clippings and information of only a secondary nature have been weeded. Included are some unidentified speeches possibly delivered by Rennebohm. More gubernatorial speeches not part of the numerical file may be found under the heading unnumbered speeches, in the campaign files, and in his lieutenant governor's files. The collection also includes a disc recording of his speech for the dedication of the Petenwell Dam in 1947.

The DEPARTMENTAL FILES contain only limited amounts of the constituent inquiries found in the papers of many Wisconsin governors which are routinely channeled to state agencies. The remainder is an assortment of correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes, and notes sent to the governor for his information or his action. Some of the agencies well documented here include the Annuity and Investment Board, the Grain and Warehouse Commission, and the Veterans Affairs Department. Also included are files on the Council of Defense and the Pardon Board inherited from the Heil Administration.

The CAMPAIGN FILES do not appear to be the official files of the Rennebohm campaign organization, although the 1944 files which contain the correspondence of campaign aide M.F. Coolley are quite detailed. The 1948 correspondence consists of letters concerning the election which were received and sent by the governor, not by the campaign organization. There is almost no information on the 1946 reelection campaign. Also of note are the samples of form letters and other campaign literature issued by Rennebohm and the campaign briefing book that he took with him on the road in 1948.

The SUBJECT FILES contain correspondence covering a wide variety of topics, ranging from regular administrative files concerning his speaking engagements and official proclamations to files on issues such as deer hunting, rent control, and veterans housing, the new governor's mansion, and the state centennial celebration.

The MISCELLANEOUS FILES contain a small file of aide Philip Drotning primarily concerning the state printing program and a larger file of Jenning Murphy which contains significant information on the Committee on Educational Improvement. Also in this category is a small file of Rennebohm's correspondence and speeches as lieutenant governor, a small file of post-gubernatorial correspondence as well as some letters to Mrs. Rennebohm chiefly concerning her charitable interests, official photographs (in the Visual and Sound Archives), microfilmed biographical clippings, and memorabilia.

Arrangement of the Materials: In seven subseries, generally by type of record.
Series: General Correspondence
Subseries: Numerical file, 1947, February-October
Box   1
0010R-0060R
Box   2
0061R-0203R
Box   3
0204R-0310R
Box   4
0311R-0580R
Box   5
0581R-0811R
Subseries: Alphabetical file
1947, July-1948, December
Box   6
A-B
Box   7
B-D
Box   8
D-G
Box   9
H-K
Box   10
K-L
Box   11
M-N
Box   12
O-R
Box   13
S
Box   14
T-Z
1950
Box   15
A-C
Box   16
D-H
Box   17
I-M
Box   18
Mc-R
Box   19
S-Z
Series: Appointment Files
State appointments
Box   20
Accounting Board-Chiropractic Board
Box   21
Conservation Commission-Board of Health
Box   22
Highway Commission-Planning Board
Box   23
Public Welfare-Supreme Court
Box   24
Supreme Court-Treasurer
Box   25
Folder   1-5
Veterans Affairs-Youth Service Commission
Box   25
Folder   6-9
Circuit court appointments
Local and county appointments
Box   25
Folder   10-12
Ashland-Chippewa
Box   26
Clark-Milwaukee
Box   27
Oneida-Richland
Box   28
Folder   1-2
Rock-Waushara
Box   28
Folder   3
Miscellaneous appointment correspondence
Series: Speeches and Writings
Subseries: Reference files
Box   28
Folder   4
Agriculture
Box   28
Folder   5
Airports
Box   28
Folder   6
American Legion
Box   28
Folder   7
Budget
Box   28
Folder   8
Capital
Box   28
Folder   9
Conservation
Box   28
Folder   10
Co-ops
Box   28
Folder   11
Education
Box   28
Folder   12
Elections
Box   28
Folder   13
Federal aids
Box   28
Folder   14
Fire prevention conference
Box   28
Folder   15
Fur industry
Box   28
Folder   16
Government
Box   28
Folder   17
Health
Box   28
Folder   18
Highway Commission
Box   28
Folder   19
Holidays
Box   28
Folder   20
Housing
Box   28
Folder   21
Insurance
Box   28
Folder   22
Labor
Box   28
Folder   23
Legislature
Box   29
Folder   1
Medicine
Box   29
Folder   2
Mining
Box   29
Folder   3
Miscellany
Box   29
Folder   4
Motor Vehicles Department
Box   29
Folder   5
National Guard
Box   29
Folder   6
Pension funds
Box   29
Folder   7
Police
Box   29
Folder   8
Public speaking
Box   29
Folder   9
Public Welfare Department
Box   29
Folder   10
Recreation
Box   29
Folder   11
Religion
Box   29
Folder   12
Republican Party
Box   29
Folder   13
Republicans, Young
Box   29
Folder   14
Resort industry
Box   29
Folder   15
Safety
Box   29
Folder   16
St. Lawrence Seaway
Box   29
Folder   17
Taxes
Box   29
Folder   18
Teachers colleges
Box   29
Folder   19
University of Wisconsin
Box   29
Folder   20
Veterans
Box   29
Folder   21
Wisconsin General Hospital
Subseries: Speeches
Box   29
Folder   22-25
100-139
Box   30
Folder   1-13
140-269
Box   31
Folder   1-9
270-360
Box   62
Indexes to numbered speeches
Box   31
Folder   10
Unnumbered speeches
Box   31
Folder   11
Unidentified speech notes
Disc 186A
Petenwell power project broadcast, August, 1947
Series 5
Box   32
Folder   1-4
Subseries: Press releases, 1947-1950
Series: Departmental Files, 1947-1950
Box   33
Folder   1
Adjutant General
Box   33
Folder   2-3
Aeronautics Commission
Box   33
Folder   4
Agriculture, Department of
Box   33
Folder   5
Annuity and Investment Board
Box   33
Folder   6
Athletic Commission
Box   33
Folder   7-9
Attorney General
Box   34
Folder   1
Audit, Department of
Box   34
Folder   2-3
Beverage and Cigarette Tax, Division of
Box   34
Folder   4
Budget, Bureau of
Box   34
Folder   5
Building Commission
Box   34
Folder   6-7
Centennial Committee
Box   34
Folder   8
Chiropractic Board
Box   34
Folder   9-10
Civilian Defense
Box   34
Folder   11
Children and Youth, Governor's Conference on
Box   35
Folder   1-2
Conservation Commission
Box   35
Folder   3
Budget
Box   35
Folder   4
Crime Laboratory Board
Box   35
Folder   5
Defense, Council of (Margaret Pollock file), 1942
Box   35
Folder   6
Dental Examiners, Board of
Box   35
Folder   7
Department heads, Meetings of
Box   35
Folder   8
Deposits, Board of
Box   35
Folder   9
Displaced Persons, Committee on the Resettlement of
Box   36
Folder   1
Displaced Persons, Committee on the Resettlement of (continued)
Box   36
Folder   2
Door County sheriff, Removal of
Box   36
Folder   3
Education, Interim Committee on
Box   36
Folder   4
Educational System, Commission on Improvement of the
Box   36
Folder   5
Electoral College
Box   36
Folder   6
Emergency Board
Box   36
Folder   7
Engineers (U.S. Army)
Box   36
Folder   8
Fair
Box   36
Folder   9
Fire Prevention, Governor's Conference on
Box   37
Folder   1
Fuel
Box   37
Folder   2
Grain and Warehouse Commission
Box   37
Folder   3
Grand Army Home for Veterans
Box   37
Folder   4
Highway Commission
Box   37
Folder   5-6
Housing Expediter
Box   38
Folder   1
Human Rights, Governor's Commission on
Box   38
Folder   2
Industrial Commission
Box   38
Folder   3
Insurance Department
Box   39
Folder   1-2
Legislative Council
Box   39
Folder   3
Library Commission
Box   39
Folder   4
Medical Examiners, Board of
Box   39
Folder   5
Motor Vehicles, Department of
Box   39
Folder   6
National Rivers and Harbors Congress
Box   39
Folder   7
Pardon Board (Margaret Pollock file), 1939-1942
Box   39
Folder   8
Personnel Bureau
Box   40
Folder   1
Planning Board
Box   40
Folder   2
Public Service Commission
Box   40
Folder   3
Public Welfare, Department of
Box   40
Folder   4
Appropriations and disbursements
Box   40
Folder   5-6
Budgets
Box   40
Folder   7
Savings and Loan Associations Department
Box   40
Folder   8
State Universities
Box   40
Folder   9
Treasurer
Box   41
Folder   1
University of Wisconsin
Box   41
Folder   2-6
Veterans Affairs Department
Box   41
Folder   7
Veterans Housing Authority
Box   42
Folder   1
Veterans Housing Authority (continued)
Box   42
Folder   2
Waukesha Industrial School
Box   42
Folder   3
Water Pollution Committee
Box   42
Folder   4
Waupun prison
Series: Campaign Files
1944
Box   43
Folder   1
M.F. Coolley correspondence
Box   43
Folder   2
Miscellaneous correspondence
Box   43
Folder   3
Sample letters
Box   43
Folder   4
Speeches
Box   43
Folder   5
Financial records
Box   43
Folder   6
Advertising and campaign literature
Box   43
Folder   7
1946
1948
Box   43
Folder   8
Nomination petition correspondence
Box   43
Folder   9-10
General correspondence
Box   43
Folder   11
Campaign literature
Box   44
Folder   1
Campaign handbook
Box   44
Folder   2
Immell notes
Box   44
Folder   3
Miscellaneous and undated statistics
Series: Subject Files
Box   45
Folder   1
Advertising the state of Wisconsin
Box   45
Folder   2
American Legion
Box   45
Folder   3
Bong, Richard
Box   45
Folder   4
Budget
Box   45
Folder   5
CARE
Box   45
Folder   6
CROP
Box   45
Folder   7
Camps Douglas and McCoy
Box   45
Folder   8
Canoe derby
Box   46
Folder   1-2
Commendations
Box   46
Folder   3
Legislative message
Box   46
Folder   4
Retirement
Box   46
Folder   5-7
Congratulations, 1947-1948
Box   47
Folder   1
Contingent fund audit
Box   47
Folder   2
Crestwood/Glen Oak Hills water problem
Box   47
Folder   3
Deaf budget
Box   47
Folder   4-5
Deer hunting
Box   48
Folder   1-3
Deer hunting (continued)
Box   48
Folder   4
Drought
Box   48
Folder   5
Fair trade bill
Box   48
Folder   6
Farmers' Union
Box   48
Folder   7
Floods
Box   48
Folder   8
Forty-hour week bill
Box   48
Folder   9
Freedom Train
Box   48
Folder   10
French thank-you train
Box   48
Folder   11
German delegation
Box   48
Folder   12
Gifts for Rennebohm
Box   49
Folder   1
Gifts from Rennebohm
Box   49
Folder   2
Goodland
Box   49
Folder   3
Governor's mansions
Box   49
Folder   4
Governors' conferences
Box   49
Folder   5
Greetings (weeded)
Box   49
Folder   6
Griffenhagen study
Box   49
Folder   7
Miscellaneous reports
Box   49
Folder   8
Highway 33
Box   49
Folder   9
Highway safety conferences
Box   50
Folder   1
Horicon Marsh
Box   50
Folder   2
Hudson bridge
Box   50
Folder   3
Inaugurations (Truman and OR)
Box   50
Folder   4
Industrial safety
Box   50
Folder   5
Invitations by Rennebohm
Invitations to Rennebohm
Box   50
Folder   6-10
1947-1948
Box   51
Folder   1-3
1949-1950
Box   51
Folder   4
Izaac Walton League
Box   51
Folder   5
Labor
Box   51
Folder   6
Legislation
Box   51
Folder   7
Legislation-Federal
Box   51
Folder   8
Milwaukee stadium
Box   51
Folder   9
Mississippi River wardens
Box   51
Folder   10
Mississippi River parkway
Box   51
Folder   11
Northern Great Lakes Area Council
Box   51
Folder   12
Northland College
Box   51
Folder   13
Old age pensions
Box   51
Folder   14
Oneida-Vilas school district
Box   52
Folder   1-3
Personal and family correspondence, 1947-1950
Box   53
Folder   1
Platform
Box   53
Folder   2
Police
Box   53
Folder   3
Potatoes
Box   53
Folder   4
Precinct committeemen
Box   53
Folder   5-9
Proclamations, messages, and greetings
Box   54
Folder   1-2
Proclamations, messages, and greetings (continued)
Box   54
Folder   3
ROTC
Box   54
Folder   4-5
Rent control
Box   55
Folder   1-5
Rent control (continued)
Box   55
Folder   6
Republican Party
Box   55
Folder   7
Requisitions
Box   56
Folder   1
St. Lawrence Seaway
Box   56
Folder   2
Schedules
Box   56
Folder   3
Schools
Box   56
Folder   4
Spring Green bridge
Box   56
Folder   5
Spring Valley flood
Box   56
Folder   6
State Governments, Council of
Box   56
Folder   7
Taxes proposed by Rennebohm
Box   56
Folder   8
Tidewater lands
Box   56
Folder   9
Travel editors, Invitation to
Box   56
Folder   10
USO
Box   56
Folder   11
United Nations Days
Box   56
Folder   12
University of Wisconsin Foundation
Box   56
Folder   13
Veterans housing, Special session
Box   57
Folder   1
Vicksburg memorial
Box   57
Folder   2
Visitors to office (weeded)
Box   57
Folder   3
WLBL
Box   57
Folder   4
Washington, D.C., sesquicentennial
Box   57
Folder   5
Wisconsin Heart Association
Series: Miscellaneous Files
Subseries: Jennings Murphy files
Box   58
Folder   1
Citizens Food Committee
Box   58
Folder   2
Conservation Department
Box   58
Folder   3
Crime Laboratory
Box   58
Folder   4
Educational Improvement, Committee on
Box   58
Folder   5-6
Human Rights, Governor's Commission on
Box   58
Folder   7
Legislative Council
Box   58
Folder   8
Miscellaneous correspondence
Box   58
Folder   9
Public Records, Committee on
Box   58
Folder   10
Reclassification
Box   58
Folder   11
Retirement Systems, Joint Survey Committee on
Box   58
Folder   12
Youth Service Commission
Subseries: Philip Drotning files
Box   59
Folder   1
General correspondence
Box   59
Folder   2
Building program
Box   59
Folder   3
Health, Board of
Box   59
Folder   4
Printing
Box   59
Folder   5
Public relations
Box   59
Folder   6
Reference requests
Box   59
Folder   7
University
Subseries: Lieutenant governor's files
Box   60
Folder   1
American Legion drive, 1944-1945
Box   60
Folder   2
Correspondence, 1944-1945
Box   60
Folder   3
Speeches and notes
Subseries: Biographical miscellany
PH 3344
Photographs
Note: See also Visual and Sound Archives Portrait File
Series 5
Reel   1
Scrapbooks (filmed without counter)
I, 1929-1952
II, 1944-1947
Loose clippings, 1930-1980
Box   61
Folder   1
Post-gubernatorial correspondence, 1951-1968
Box   61
Folder   2
Funeral and memorials
Box   61
Folder   3
Mrs. Rennebohm
Box   61
Folder   4
Memorabilia and miscellaneous biographical material (including culled letterheads)