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Special Collections Online at UT

Estes Kefauver Papers

Identifier: MPA-0144

  • Staff Only

The Kefauver collection is currently divided into fourteen series available for research.

Series I: Subject Matter File (1933 - 1964) contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, reference materials and other documents gathered or created during Kefauver’s legislative work. The materials are arranged alphabetically by 85 subjects, from “Advertising” to “Youth”. Some of the more substantially covered subjects include the TVA (see “Power” as well as “Tennessee Valley Authority”), “Civil Rights”, “Labor” and “Monopoly”.

Series II: Estes Kefauver Bills (1939-1963) consists of information about, and drafts and copies of, bills introduced or co-sponsored Senator Kefauver or of interest to him. It also includes a summary of bills Kefauver introduced or co-sponsored during his term in the House (1939-1949), information about proposed changes to the two-thirds rule, and voting records and indexes to bills.The series is arranged chronologically.

Series III: Committee Files (1949-1964) contains 25 subseries. All but two of these subseries hold material created or gathered in the course of Kefauver’s work with various Senate, Joint, Select and House committees. The subseries are arranged in rough alphabetical order by title of committee subject. One of the more significant subseries may be that of the Judiciary Committee, where Kefauver did a lot of his work concerning antitrust, civil rights, and crime issues (it must be noted however that Kefauver’s famous “crime committee” is not one of the special committees represented in this series). The last two subseries contain executive calendars and digests of public general bills, respectively.

Series IV: Correspondence (1939-1963) consists of correspondence to and from Kefauver, his staff and his colleagues. The bulk of the materials in this collection may be constituent mail. Many constituents wrote to Kefauver to express their opinions or to request aid, and the Senator and his staff responded to these in increasingly programmatic ways. Some of the correspondence in this collection is arranged chronologically; some is alphabetically arranged, or in some combination. Other accumulations of mail have been sorted by function (e.g., condolences) or by location of correspondent (eg., Tennessee county, international, et cetera.)

Series V: Campaign (1936-1963) contains materials from Kefauver’s many campaigns for his House and Senate seat and his unsuccessful bids for President (1952) and Vice President (1956). Materials include correspondence, schedules, press releases, speeches, news clippings, polls and other political data and communications. There are 47 Campaign subseries. Although the titles of the subseries may not indicate it, most of these are arranged in chronological order by campaign, although some materials are arranged by type (e.g., Scrapbooks).

Series VI: Contacts (undated) consists of address books and card files, each arranged alphabetically by state, district, or county.

Series VII: Published hearings, reports, and Congressional Records (1945-­1963) contains hearings from Judiciary Committee, Joint Committee on Atomic Energy,House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, amongst other government and Congressional publications.

Series VIII: Travel (1948-1963) This series contains correspondence, invitations, itineraries, event programs, and like items relating to Kefauver's travels both nationally and abroad. Although the last subseries is named "abroad", there are also a few international files in the other subseries. The series is arranged chronologically and, when possible, the event or location, city, and state are listed along with the date. Sometimes only the city and/or state is listed with the date.

Series IX: Jobs, Appointments and Patronage (1949-1963) This series includes individual recommendations and appointments by Kefauver to positions within the federal government.

Series X: Office Files (1939-1963) includes files from both the Chattanooga and the Nashville offices, including case work, condolences, field office files, guestbooks and correspondence with news media and other agencies. Series XI: Personal Effects (1925-1964) This series contains a variety of information that appears to have been kept in a personal file by Kefauver, but was expanded upon after his death to include correspondence and clippings related to his death and his estate. All materials in the first subseries are filed alphabetically according to folder topic. The second subseries is a variety of financial records kept by Kefauver.

Series XII: Speeches and News Releases (1939-1963) This series is arranged chronologically and described according to subject of speech or news releases and location given. News releases do not always include a release location. This series also appears to hold at least some of Kefauver's weekly television and radio messages to Tennesseans.

Series XIII: Clippings (1930-1967) contains clipped news stories about or of interest to Kefauver and is arranged chronologically.

Series XIV: Photographs (1946-1963) contains photographs arranged into five subseries: Awards, Family, Political, Portraits, Tennessee, Visits and Trips, Miscellaneous, and Oversized Group Photographs.

Several series related to this collection are undergoing processing and may not be available to the public. Inquire with Special Collections about contents and access. These series include:

Series XV: Framed objects Series XVI: Audiovisual Series XVII: Memorabilia Series XVIII: Miscellaneous office materials Series XIX: Plaques from Senate office wall Series XX: Christmas greetings to Nancy Kefauver Series XXI: Posthumous material


  • 1925 - 1967


The material in this collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


700 Linear Feet


The Estes Kefauver Papers contain the personal and political files of U.S. Senator Kefauver, an East Tennessee native and University of Tennessee graduate who gained national prominence through his nationwide televised hearings that focused on organized crime. In some ways a reasonably liberal southern Democrat (he voted against the pro-segregation "Southern Manifesto" at a time when nearly every other Southern democrat was for it), Kefauver was particularly interested in counteracting the effects of the large monopolies whose actions favored private profit over public good. Kefauver ran for president in 1952 and as Adlai Stevenson's running mate was the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Materials in the collection date from 1925 to August 1963, including personal, constituent, and political correspondence, speeches, legislative papers, manuscripts, newspaper clippings and photographs.

Biographical / Historical

Carey Estes Kefauver (1903-1963) was a United States House Representative (1939-1949), a United States Senator (1950-1963), a 1952 Democratic presidential hopeful and the 1956 Democratic vice presidential candidate. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1924 and Yale Law School in 1927. In 1935 he married Nancy Pigott, a native of Scotland. During his years in the Senate, he served on the Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, voted for the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, and sponsored the Kefauver-Harris Drug Control Act of 1962. He lost favor among Southerners with his support of the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) decision to desegregate schools, and he, Albert Gore, Sr., and Lyndon Baines Johnson were the only southern Senators to refuse to sign the Southern Manifesto intending to block school integration in 1956. In 1952, he lost to Adlai Stevenson for the Democratic presidential nomination, but in 1956 he was Stevenson's vice presidential running mate. He continued to serve in the United States Senate as a representative of Tennessee until his death on August 10, 1963; he fought against monopolies across many industries, including pharmaceuticals and steel.

Previous Citation

This collection was previously listed as MS.0837

Processing Information

This collection was arranged and described by Amanda J. Carter in April 2012.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA