Robert Kastenmeier Papers, 1950-1990 (bulk 1959-1990)

Scope and Content Note

The papers document Robert Kastenmeier's congressional career including his work on the Judiciary Committee and his interaction with constituents through correspondence and newsletters. The collection is divided into 10 series: CAMPAIGN FILES; PRESS AND PUBLICITY; COMMITTEE FILES; KAZ OSHIKI, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT FILES; “THE GROUP” FILES; LEGISLATIVE FILES; LEGISLATIVE CORRESPONDENCE; BILL FILES; GENERAL FILES; and AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS. The majority of the papers are organized by year and then by topic.

The CAMPAIGN FILES series contains materials used in Kastenmeier's elections, 1960-1990, including correspondence, memos, financial records, schedules, brochures, polling information, radio and television advertising information, press releases, and press clippings. Additional campaign related press clippings are with the Press and Publicity Series.

The PRESS AND PUBLICITY series contains press releases, press clippings, newsletters and weekly columns; and radio and television advertising. Press clippings covering election campaigns can be found here and in the Campaign series. Press releases are scattered throughout the collection and may be duplicative, the bulk 1959-1976 and 1978-1990 can be found in Box 92 through 96; 1977 through 1981 are in Box 10; 1962 through 1965 are in the general files under the corresponding year. Also included in this series are speeches for 1965-1966; additional speeches are interfiled throughout the collection and are not comprehensive.

The COMMITTEE FILES series contains briefing materials, bill mark-ups, correspondence, background information, and hearing materials. The bulk of the series consists of files from the Judiciary Committee and from the Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties, and the Administration of Justice. Most of the files are arranged by Congress, from the 88th Congress (1963-1964) to the 101st Congress (1989-1990). Some files are not organized by Congress but date from the 1970s-1980s. These files are listed at the end of the series. Subjects include Judiciary Committee reorganization; civil rights; defense and disarmament; copyright law revision and other copyright issues; patent reform; work on the Wiretapping Commission; prison reform; the Vietnam War; newsmen's privilege; presidential impeachment; surveillance and privacy issues; court reforms and reorganization; and the Parole Commission.

Additionally, there are materials related to Kastenmeier's work on the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs from the 90th Congress (1967-1968) to the 93rd Congress (1973-1974). Subjects include the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, the Apostle Islands, and memos and correspondence on proposed legislation.

The KAZ OSHIKI, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT FILES contain materials, 1960s-1970s, related to voter registration, election laws and statistics; and congressional redistricting (1970-1971). Other administrative files are listed as part of the General Files.

“THE GROUP” FILES series, 1969-1972, contains information on the Liberal Project at times referred to as The Group or Liberal Group, made-up mostly of anti-war Democratic representatives. The Group was intended as a small offshoot of the Democratic Study Group (DSG), a legislative service organization created in 1959. The Group cosponsored legislation, wrote letters and press releases, and discussed policy matters. The bulk of this series deals with issues related to the Vietnam War including speeches and resolutions, memos, press releases, and correspondence. Materials related to the Democratic Study Group are also filed in the General Files.

The LEGISLATIVE FILES, 1960s-1970s, includes working files and background information on legislation. Topics covered include the Vietnam War, military spending and selective service; foreign policy, Indian affairs, and conservation. Most of the files related to legislation are filed in the Committee Files.

The LEGISLATIVE CORRESPONDENCE, 1959-1990, consists of correspondence between Kastenmeier's office and constituents and concerned citizens. The correspondence makes up the bulk of the collection and is organized chronologically and then by subject. Issues covered in the correspondence include agriculture, the economy, education and labor, civil rights, civil liberties, foreign affairs, abortion, gun control, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and the Vietnam War. Other issues covered relate to Kastenmeier's work on the Judiciary Committee.

The BILL FILES, 1959-1960, 1965-1969, 1973-1974, 1980s-1990, contain bills sponsored and co-sponsored by Kastenmeier and often also contain statements, memos, reports, fact sheets, and other supporting material. The first half of this series is organized chronologically and then by subject; the second half is organized by committee. Other bill files may be found in the Committee Files.

The GENERAL FILES, 1959-1968, include mainly correspondence and administrative materials. Included are early political files, personal correspondence of Kastenmeier and staffers, information on press releases, radio and television scripts, and district and Wisconsin related topics. Also included are copies and drafts of speeches delivered by Kastenmeier on a variety of topics such as labor, patents, and copyright. Additional speech and advertising materials are filed in the Press and Publicity Files.

The AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS series consists of photographs, moving images, and sound recordings. The photographs include images of Kastenmeier alone, with staff members, constituents, and other members of Congress; and Kastenmeier at events.

The bulk of the moving images and sound recordings document Kastenmeier's re-election campaigns (1982-1990) and include thirty and/or sixty-second radio and television campaign spots. Other sound recordings include the draft hearings held in Madison and a WHA radio interview with Jim Packard, 1983.