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The Public Papers series contains Derrick’s congressional papers. The biographical file contains biographical sketches of Derrick from 1975 to 1994. General Papers, 1975-1994, comprising the bulk of the collection at 58 linear feet, consist chiefly of legislative material including drafts and texts of bills, correspondence, and reference material. This series documents Derrick’s tenure in office and reflects not only his legislative activity, but the concerns and opinions of his constituents. General Papers is arranged by year and then topically within each year. It should be noted that Derrick’s office staff used three different filing systems over the years and some inconsistencies exist among certain topics. Typical of such inconsistencies are the Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources files, which frequently contain related or overlapping materials. This problem also exists in Budget and Taxes files.

Budget files pertain to the budget process, inflation, and balancing of the budget. For years during which Derrick served on the Budget Committee, topical files in the General Papers may include some committee papers due to the difficulty in distinguishing between the committee and legislative files. Material regarding funding for individual projects, agencies or programs is filed under specific topical headings. Any examination of the budget and funding should include a look at the Budget files and the corresponding topical files. For materials relating to Derrick’s service on the Budget Committee, see appropriate Leadership files sub-series.

Commerce files include material relating to the Consumer Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commission, Interstate and Foreign Commerce Commission, business and industry, trademark and copyright legislation, and the North American Free Trade Agreement, among others. Product liability material is filed under Law and Order. For topics relating to foreign exports or trade, consult Foreign Affairs.

Communications files chiefly relate to the Federal Communications Commission and regulation of the telephone system, cable telecommunications, advertising, religious broadcasting, and other broadcast media issues.

The topic Welfare incorporates a large number of programs administered by different agencies and may prove particularly difficult for researchers because of the interrelationship of the many aspects of the welfare system. Usually, subjects are filed with the administrating agencies. Under “Agriculture, Domestic Food Assistance Programs” are filed subjects such as School Lunch, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), Women and Infant Children (WIC), and Meals on Wheels. “Social Security Disability”is filed under Social Security and “Medicaid” under Health. When multiple agencies were involved or several different issues raised in the same letter, material was filed under the Welfare topical heading. Researchers should be careful to search under the titles of specific administrating agencies as well as within General papers and Welfare topical files.

Leadership Files document Derrick’s service on the Budget Committee, 1975 to 1978 and 1985, the Rules Committee, 1979 to 1994, as Chief Deputy Whip, 1990 to 1994, and on the October Surprise Task Force, 1991 to 1992. Papers relating to Derrick’s service as a member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee are filed in the General Papers and in Chief Deputy Majority Whip files, to reflect the original office filing system. Steering and Policy files chiefly regard committee assignments for Democratic members of Congress. Files include letters from members requesting specific committee assignments and reference material on the committees themselves.

Budget Committee files, .5 lf, consist of chiefly of material relating to Derrick’s service as the chair for the Task Force on the Budget Process as well as general committee files. They include hearing reports, notes, statements, findings, recommendations, newsletters, and other material. For the years Derrick served on the Budget Committee, topical files in the General Papers may include committee papers due to the difficulty in distinguishing between committee records and office files.

Chief Deputy Whip files, 4.5 lf, include drafts of legislation, correspondence with other members of Congress, and reference material. Inasmuch as possible the original order and the file titles have been retained when it was clear, descriptive, and non-duplicative.

Rules Committee files, 11.25 lf., include drafts of legislation, meeting agendas, staff memoranda and reference material. Derrick’s files as the chair of the Subcommittee on the Legislative Process are interfiled within this sub-series. Rules Committee files are arranged by Congress and then by bill number in keeping with the original Derrick office filing system.

October Surprise Task Force files, 1 lf., relate to the investigation of the January 1981 Iranian hostage release following Ronald Reagan’s presidential inauguration. The Task Force was created in 1991 in response to allegations that Reagan’s campaign staff entered into secret negotiations with the Iranians to delay the release of the American hostages to make President Jimmy Carter seem ineffectual and thus clinch the 1980 presidential election. Files include correspondence among members, evidentiary material, transcripts and audio cassettes of media programs about the October Surprise, letters from constituents, clippings, and reference material. Additional constituent correspondence regarding the October Surprise can be found in the General Papers for 1991 and 1992.

Speeches, 2.5 lf, 1974 to 1994, include background material, drafts, talking points, and final versions.

Press Releases, 2 lf, 1974 to 1994, include press releases, as well as op-ed articles written by Derrick for local and national newspapers. Press Releases also include Derrick’s newsletters: the Washington Digest and Washington Report, 1975-1994.

Office files, 12.5 lf, 1975 to 1994, include a General file, Appointment Books, Constituent Texts, Invitations, Mail Reports, Media Files, Schedules and Travel Records. The General file documents office procedures in the Washington and District Offices, including staff assignments and work distribution. Appointment Books, 1975 to 1982, are incomplete and should be used in conjunction with the Schedules.

Constituent Texts, 1977 to 1994, are prepared texts, computer generated to respond to the flood of constituent mail received by Derrick. The texts are numerically coded to correspond to the topics addressed in these letters. This same code was written on the incoming letters at the time of receipt to indicate which texts should be included in the responses. The texts are filed chronologically and then topically according to the numerical code. Texts which were undated, though grouped with dated material, were filed with the dated material in files prefaced with a circa date. This decision was made to preclude the creation of a large undated file.

Invitations, 1975 to 1994, include the accepted invitations and, occasionally, programs from the events.

Mail Reports, 1986 to 1993, document the nature and volume of responses to constituent correspondence. The reports provide the numerical coding for the responses, which can be helpful in identifying topics within the General Papers. The Mail Reports are incomplete and should be used in conjunction with Constituent Texts and Office General Papers.

Media Office Files, 1975 to 1979, include schedules for press interviews, radio actualities (short advertisements or announcements), and other media-related activities. These media schedules document only a portion of Derrick’s public relations activities.

Schedules, 1974 to 1994, document Derrick’s daily activities in Washington, the district and elsewhere. The schedules are divided into general schedules, special events, and schedule reports. General schedules and special events were files usually created at the time of the event and include travel arrangements, programs and other details of the event. Schedule reports are computer records generated using the Congressional Scheduling Software and present Derrick’s schedule in condensed, though annotated, format.

Travel Files, 1980 to 1992, are sparse and include limited information regarding Derrick’s foreign travel to Egypt, Central America, Japan, the Middle East, and Taiwan and his domestic travel to Los Angeles, California for the Congressional Arts Caucus.

Grants and Projects, 8.75 lf, 1974 to 1994, chiefly regard projects within the Third District and are arranged in three sub-series: general, geographical and topical. General files include project logs and geographical and topical subjects. Geographical files chiefly consist of projects in distinctly identified cities and counties in his district and are filed alphabetically by city or county. Topical files pertain to projects that involve multiple cities or counties. Representative topics include community building projects, new post offices, and waste water/sewer management facilities. The Savannah River Plant is a prominent project and includes information on Monitored Retrievable Storage, i.e. the Barnwell Nuclear Fuel Plant. Materials relating to Clark Hill Lake, Lake Hartwell, Richard B. Russell Dam, and the Savannah River water projects are filed with the General Papers rather than Grants and Projects due to the legislative component of these files.

Voting Records, 6 lf, 1975 to 1994, document roll call votes and voting analyses prepared by office staff and interns.

Miscellaneous files are of limited informational value, and include records relating to the Congressional Art Competition and government publications.


  • 1968 - 2014


Library use only.


From the Collection: 117.5 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