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Senate Papers


Legislative Files, 132.5 linear feet (106 cartons), contain correspondence and other material relating to bills and issues considered by Congress. Files often include copies of the pertinent bills and resolutions, committee prints, and official and constituent correspondence. Legislative files are arranged by year, with general papers followed by topical files for that year. The collection inventory, which follows, contains a detailed list of the files. Those for cities and counties usually relate to projects proposed or being implemented in those localities, such as funding sewage systems and the erection of new government buildings to serve the locality. Files regarding individuals, grouped under the heading "Persons," contain either extensive correspondence with or about the individual, or reference material. Many years include files for Johnston's brother, frequent campaign manager, and aide -- William C. Johnston, former Senator and Anderson publisher Wilton Hall, and Orangeburg attorney Julian S. Wolfe.

Johnston was a member of the Post Office and Civil Service Committee throughout his tenure in the Senate and, in time, wielded significant influence over legislation affecting this area. This is evidenced by voluminous files regarding postal service and government employees.

Extensive files document the importance of agriculture and the textile industry in South Carolina, the effort, 1962 to 1963, to erect a dam at Trotters Shoals, led by Johnston, with Georgia Senator Richard Russell, and the Democratic Party. Party material chiefly consists of speech material issued by the Democratic National Committee for use in campaigning, and is similar to other material filed in the Campaign series.

Johnston's lengthy service on the Judiciary Committee is reflected in voluminous files, 1953 to 1965. In the 1950s, Johnston chaired Judiciary's Subcommittee on Internal Security, investigating fears of communist influence in the United States government as well as in organizations such as the United Nations. In 1962, Johnston chaired a sub-committee of the Judiciary Committee which considered President Kennedy's appointment of Thurgood Marshall to the Second United States Circuit Court of Appeals. Johnston was accused of using delaying tactics to halt Marshall's confirmation. Over one inch of correspondence received from constituents and others from all across the country reflects the bitter division across America over this appointment.

In 1957 the nation focused on events in Little Rock, Arkansas. Extensive records document the passage of civil rights bills in Congress and the reactions of Johnston's constituents and from across the country. A 1957 file on the N.A.A.C.P. regards Johnston's call for an investigation of the organization and suspicion that it had been subverted by the communists.

Media and Press Release Files consist of 3 linear feet (3 cartons). Media files, 1955 to 1964, were maintained by the public relations officer and consist of radio and television speech texts as well as correspondence with radio and television stations and newspapers regarding coverage of Senator Johnston and political advertising. Press releases, 1948 to 1965, arranged chronologically, include releases from Johnston's office, draft releases, and un-released statements. Topics include agriculture, the textile industry, postal affairs and construction of new postal facilities, appointments, and foreign affairs. Press releases from Mrs. Gladys Johnston and the White House follow the 1965 folder. Note: media files also exist among Campaign Files, and material on legislation affecting the media are in Legislative Files under "Media".

Tucked behind the press releases are 4 folders of A Washington Letter, the newsletter released by Johnston’s office, 1956 and 1960 to 1965. The newsletter was previously called Capitol Comments. One folder of reaction to A Washington Letter is at the end of Legislative Files, 1961 (box 85).

Office Files, 3 linear feet (3 cartons), chiefly from Johnston's Washington office, consist of appointment and guest books, constituent assistance summaries, telephone directories (including two pop-up “list finder” directories), and schedules.

Recommendations, 2.5 linear feet (2 cartons), 1945 to 1955 and 1960 to 1961, include correspondence and notes documenting the Senator's recommendations for appointment to a variety of schools and offices, ranging from military academies to the federal judiciary. Much of the correspondence comes after John F. Kennedy's election as president. As a vigorous supporter of Kennedy, Johnston's recommendation was eagerly sought for patronage positions.

Reference Files, 4.5 linear feet (in 5 cartons), are drawn from Senator Johnston's files of "Printed" and "Speech Material" consisting mostly of source material gathered by Johnston's office. Of particular interest are files concerning civil rights, 1957 to 1960, chiefly about attempts to impede the passage of a civil rights bill and hearings, 1957, held by the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights. Among those appearing before the Subcommittee and /or corresponding with Johnston on this were Edgar Brown, Jimmy Byrnes, Governor Fritz Hollings, and I. DeQuincey Newman. One file relates to concerns over the testimony of journalist John H. McCray, a founder of the Progressive Democratic Party.

Speeches, 6 linear feet (in 7 cartons), 1935 to 1965, arranged chronologically, include drafts and texts of remarks delivered by Johnston plus related documentation such as invitations to speak, event programs, and press releases. The majority of the speeches date between 1959 and 1964. Topics include agriculture, civil rights and integration, communism, Cuba, foreign aid, the Democratic Party, and postal affairs. Included are numerous speeches, 1959 to 1960, regarding civil rights, two speeches, 23 April 1959 and 23 October 1961, regarding women in government; several speeches, summer, 1959, regarding pornography; speeches, August to September 1959, on the visit to the United States by Nikita Khrushchev; a speech, 8 June 1961, regarding race relations and communism; speeches, June, 1963, regarding the Supreme Court ruling on prayer in school; and a statement, 27 August, 1963, titled "Why I Tithe." This series also includes two speeches by Gladys Johnston, 31 August 1959 on women and happiness, and 16 May 1961 regarding South Carolina.

Voting Records, 2.5 linear feet (in 3 cartons), document Johnston's Senate voting record from the Eighty-third to Eighty-eighth Congresses, Johnston's voting record in support of the president, and two topical voting records covering 1945 to 1962.

Clippings consist of 15 feet of material (12 cartons), primarily 1958 to 1964. Clippings were kept by Johnston to provide background information on persons, issues, and current events. Most frequently from the Columbia State, Charleston News and Courier, and Greenville Times, clippings include extensive files on agricultural topics, the armed services, civil rights, political campaigns, education, persons, and postal issues. [While working with the clippings, you may notice there are gaps in the numbers penciled in on each folder; this is the result of re-arrangement since initial labeling.]


  • 1914 - 2004
  • Majority of material found within 1914 - 1965


Library use only


From the Collection: 182 Linear Feet

Repository Details

Part of the South Carolina Political Collections Repository

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA