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From the Sub-Series:

Description of Materials for 1984 Presidential Campaign

The almost eleven feet of Presidential Campaign records consist of campaign organization files that include communication and strategy documents, correspondence, financial records, persons files, state files, and topical files. Most of the material is dated between January 1983 and March 1984.

General and campaign organization files offer a good deal of insight into the campaign. For example, although Hollings' announcement came in April of 1983, campaign strategy documents reveal that "target states" for the campaign had been chosen as early as January 1982, just over a year after Reagan had taken office. An undated, hand-written document with "top secret" scrawled across the top outlines what appears to be an early campaign plan, perhaps from 1982. Memos from mid-1983 discuss internal debate over themes and issues in the campaign, and a fall 1983 campaign manual delineates how to achieve the goals of increasing name recognition, broadening support, and raising funds. Of considerable interest is a detailed but undated schematic diagram showing the organizational structure of the campaign. Weekly reports provide evaluations of the events and progress of the past week, sent by the campaign departments and field staff to the campaign coordinator.

Schedules and staff files are found with campaign organization files. The schedules provide rich and detailed information on the Senator's and Peatsy's travels and appearances. The schedules often provide hourly information on their locations, the meetings and functions attended, and background on the individuals, organizations, and issues involved. Staff files contain campaign and senate staff listings and background information about some staff members. Michael Copps, the Senate office Administrative Assistant, was not an official member of the campaign staff but he played a key role formulating campaign strategy and overseeing the development of campaign issue papers. His files include significant memorandum prepared by Copps that sought to crystallize the campaign's intellectual content and set Hollings apart from the pack seeking the Democratic nomination. Mark Epstein served as the campaign issues coordinator and his file relates to the development of issue statements.

Documents detailing the campaign's communications effort are rich and provide valuable insights on decision making and the theme, goals, slogans, and media approach of the campaign. These coalesced into a March 1983 packet that served as a campaign communications manifesto. Also of note is a confidential January 31, 1983, memo to the senator from John Patterson frankly evaluating Hollings' presentation style and clarity of message.

Finance files document all aspects of the fundraising effort so critical to the campaign. In a memo dated Sept. 27, 1982, goals and plans for one fundraising endeavor are outlined and prospective campaign finance committee members are suggested. Long-time Hollings friend and Charleston businessman Henry Tecklenburg was an unofficial but central figure in fundraising for the campaign. A political action committee, Citizens for a Competitive America, was established to help fund the campaign. An undated prospectus states, 'Those of us who have organized this committee have been closely associated with the political career of Senator Ernest F. 'Fritz' Hollings and believe that he has something unique to offer the American political system…. Hollings wants to make America work again -- to make her more productive, more economically sound and more competitive', and noted Hollings 'has become one of the nation's leading economic spokesmen.' A financial report shows the PAC received over $140,000 between January 1 and March 31 of 1982.

Two feet of documents, filed according to state, reflect the campaign's national reach. These files include state strategies, analyses of state campaign efforts, travel itineraries, guest lists for events, state campaign staff and volunteers, and important persons and issues in the state. Alabama, Hollings' target state in the South, boasts eight files and offers the most detailed insight into campaign activities at the state level. Activities in New Hampshire and New York are also well-represented, relative to work in other states. An illuminating letter and memo are found in the New York file. New York City Mayor Edward Koch asked about the senator's stands on welfare and the Middle East in an August 4, 1983, letter. Issues director Mark Epstein's illuminating memo, which suggested responses to Koch's inquiries, notes that the questions were formulated with "cogency, restraint, politesse, and discretion" and advises on a sensitive question about Israeli settlements: "duck it." Another revealing document is a confidential October 15, 1983, essay entitled "The Present Situation of the Hollings Campaign in Maryland." In the Massachusetts file are documents, including a letter from Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, about the ―sewergate‖ incident. On November 5, 1983, Hollings was to visit the Deer Island waste treatment plant in connection with concerns over the pollution of Boston Harbor. When the senator and his team reached the facility, police, under orders from District Commissioners, refused to let them in. This created a media firestorm and Hollings dubbed the incident "sewergate," implicating Dukakis in an apparent cover-up of the state's pollution problems.

Women's issues played a large role in the campaign, and it is no coincidence that a woman, New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, became the Democratic nominee for Vice President. Five folders under ―Women‖ at the end of the Topical files document the role of women and women's issues in the campaign. Two additional files cover former SC Lt. Governor (1979-83) Nancy Stevenson's work with the campaign. She was a high-profile contributor to the campaign and informal advisor to the Senator who traveled as a surrogate speaker speaking to women's groups and appearing at forums across the country.


  • 1984


From the Collection: 800 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