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Congressional Papers


Congressional Papers reflect Dorn’s influential role on the committees of Public Works and Veterans Affairs and a strong emphasis on constituent service. These papers include correspondence, office records, post office files, topical files, and voting record. Correspondence contains letters to and from people throughout government, the state, and the nation on affairs of the day. Typical of the quality of discussion is the following letter of Jan. 22, 1948, from Dorn to H. Klugh Purdy, responding to a query about Dorn possibly bolting the Democratic Party: "...for years the Democratic Party has ignored our section of the country in favor of radicals and people like Henry Wallace. Even now they are trying to steal Henry Wallace’s platform, which is that of the radical elements of the country. I do not believe the Democratic National Party, as it now stands, will seriously push this segregation issue, so I would not want to inaugurate a movement myself in South Carolina at the present time to lead the state out of the Democratic Party because of my position here in Washington. I have to get along with some of these fellows in order to get things done, but I think the people down there should start a movement along this line. I would be delighted to come to Jasper County and make a speech any time soon on the principles of real Southern democracy. In fact, I am very anxious to speak to the real Democrats in your county."

Also included is a copy of an April 2, 1968 report to Mayor Lester Bates of Columbia and the Community Relations Council on "The Cause of Racial Unrest in Columbia by the Negro Students of The University of South Carolina." The Office Files, 1947-1974, contain records of routine office affairs and include Appointment Books and Calendars; Engagement Files; Guest Books; and Telephone Logs. Engagement files chiefly relate to Dorn’s speaking engagements and include programs, correspondence, and schedules prepared for Dorn and his wife with brief descriptions of the engagements.

The Post Office Files, c.1951-1970, concern postal issues within the district and include general correspondence, 1954-1970; almost a half-foot of correspondence regarding a minimum freight rates bill, 1963; and files regarding the appointment of post masters and rural carriers. The latter are arranged alphabetically by community and contain correspondence and other records which sometimes provide intimate descriptions of local political affairs and battles over the filling of key patronage positions with the Postal Service. The Post Office Files differ from the postal files found throughout the Topical Files, which relate to national issues involving the post office. This distinction reflects the order imposed by Congressman Dorn and his office.

Topical Files, 1947-1974, comprise the largest and most important set of records in the collection. The files are arranged by topic alphabetically in two-year periods mirroring each Congressional session. Files contain legislative matter, reference material, and correspondence with colleagues, constituents and other interested members of the public, and persons in state and local government. Topics reflect Dorn’s committee assignments: Agriculture, Public Works and Veterans Affairs; subjects of prime interest to South Carolina and the up country, such as Textiles; and subjects of more general interest, such as the Watergate Hearings. At right, Dorn visits a VA hospital.

Of particular interest are files, 1959-1974, on the development of power plants along the Savannah River and the construction of Hartwell Dam and the dam at Trotters Shoals. Dorn led the opposition to the latter project, which was championed by South Carolina's senior senator Olin D. Johnston and Georgia’s Richard Russell. Dorn believed that the proposed industrial development of the area, and resulting increase in the tax base, outweighed any benefit from building the dam and losing valuable land under water. Both Duke Power Company and the Mead Corporation were considering major developments for the proposed dam site — a steam plant and paper mill, respectively. Related files can be found under the headings Duke Power Company, Industry, Keowee-Toxaway, Mead Corporation, Public Works, and Trotters Shoals. Clippings files also exist documenting the controversy over the proposed dam.

Topical Files also contain material on civil rights, including a pamphlet apparently by Dorn, "Another Step to Socialism," attacking Truman’s proposed Fair Employment Practices Act. At the end of the Topical Files are Miscellaneous Bound Reports and Committee Prints, including House Judiciary Committee Impeachment Inquiry Hearings and Senate Select Committee Hearings on Presidential Campaign Activities, 1974; and Veterans Affairs, 1951-1956.

Dorn’s Voting Record, 1947-1974, provides his votes on legislation before Congress. In addition to the record supplied each member by the Clerk, these files also includes vote analyses supplied by special interest organizations.


  • 1912 - 2006


Library use only


From the Collection: 151 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