BOURKE B. HICKENLOOPER PAPERS
Scope and Content Note
The papers of Bourke Blakemore Hickenlooper (1896-1971), span a career of
35 years of public service to the state of Iowa as State Representative (1934-37);
Lieutenant Governor (1939-42); Governor (1943-44); and U.S. Senator (1945-69).
His 4 terms in office represent the longest elected service of any of Iowa's Senators
and is exceeded only by the appointive service of William B. Allison (1873-1908).
Born in Blockton, Iowa on July 21, 1896, Hickenlooper was a WW I veteran
commissioned as a 1st Lt. with service in France in the 339th Field Artillery. Upon
returning to Iowa, he completed a BS at Iowa State College in 1919 and, three years
later, received a Juris Doctorate at the State University of Iowa. He practiced law in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa until he became governor in 1943.
As a wartime governor, Hickenlooper participated in several key conferences of
midwest governors, particularly the Republican governors conference at Mackinac in
1943. Here he met party leaders including Arthur A. Vandenberg, Thomas E. Dewey,
John W. Bricker, Wendell Willkie, and others who recognized him as a young talent
with the potential to rise in national politics. During the Republican governors conference
in St. Louis in August, 1944, the St. Louis Star-Times, commented on the "rapidly
rising political star of 48-year-old, energetic Bourke B. Hickenlooper, governor of
Iowa" who had gained attention as one of Governor Dewey's "bright young men."
Hickenlooper's papers as governor document these events and his service as chairman
of the Republican National Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture.
As a freshman senator, Hickenlooper's committee assignments were no more--or
less--spectacular than the average incoming member of the minority party; however,
within two years, he was assigned a seat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and
had become chairman of the newly formed Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. By
1949, he had been seated on the Agriculture and Forestry Committee making him a
member of three influential Senate committees. He retained the Foreign Relations and
Joint Committee assignments until his retirement from the Senate. The following
overview is an introduction to the historical materials found in these papers.
The principal documentation on policy matters and the Senator's views on
public issues are found in his Pre- Gubernatorial, Gubernatorial, Senatorial Committee,
Political, Personal, Legislative, and Topical files. Materials pertaining to the Executive
Departments, Independent Agencies, and the Executive office of the President contain,
for the most part, routine correspondence and constituent case files. The Pre-Gubernatorial
and the Gubernatorial series document Hickenlooper's rise in politics on both state and
national levels, and his activities as a wartime governor of Iowa. Of particular
value are materials on the governors conferences and the Republican National Committee.
The Senatorial Committee series constitutes over 40% of the collection and is
divided into ten subseries based on committee assignments. Of particular historical
value are those files documenting the investigation into the Atomic Energy
Commission (Lilienthal hearings) chaired by Senator Hickenlooper, and the
international dispute over the foreign exchange of information on atomic secrets,
which are found in the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy subseries.
The Foreign Relations subseries contains materials on charges of disloyalty in
the State Department (Tydings Committee, 1950), and expropriation of private
property by foreign governments (Hickenlooper Amendment, 1962). Hickenlooper
was also a member of the Smith-Mundt group that visited Europe in 1947 to assess
the effectiveness of the United States Information Agency program vis-a-vis the
propaganda efforts of the Soviet Union. In addition to correspondence and other
materials, their findings are described at great length in a 4 volume report.
The Agriculture and Forestry Committee series is comprised in large part of
legislative materials concerned with commodities, Food for Peace, dairy programs,
Farmers Home Administration, and the Agriculture Act (1948-65). Also of interest
are extensive correspondence files with agricultural organizations such as the
American Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and federal
agencies including the Production and Marketing Administration and the Rural
Electric Administration. These materials are complementary to, and should be
examined in conjunction with, the Executive Departments, Agriculture files.
The Topical series consists of subject files on matters not directly concerned
with committee business. Included in these files are materials documenting the
devastating floods that occurred on Iowa's rivers and streams in 1947 and the
subsequent flood control program that brought into being the system of dams and
watershed development currently in place. Also a part of this series are Senate
confirmation files that were not a part of the proceedings of Committees of which
Hickenlooper was a member. These files include correspondence and other materials on the confirmation of,
among others, Henry A. Wallace as Secretary of Commerce, and Abe Fortas, and
Homer Thornberry to the Supreme Court.
The Political series contains detailed materials on the Senator's reelection
campaigns in 1950, 1956, and 1962. Also of interest are his files on the Senate
Republican Policy Committee which he chaired 1962-68, and the Presidential
campaigns from 1948-68, particularly the Republican Truth Squad in 1952 of which
Hickenlooper was a member, and the Eisenhower-Taft conflict for the Presidential
The Senator's Personal series contains documentation on a broad range of
subjects including correspondence with members of the House and Senate, Iowa
governors, Iowa college and university presidents, journalists, and public figures. of
particular interest is the "General Subjects" file wherein the Senator recorded his
opinions and feelings on a wide range of public concerns; and a substantial file of
memoranda and correspondence from John M. Henry, his Des Moines office
manager from 1962-68. Henry kept the Senator abreast of the political situation on
the state level.
Senator Hickenlooper's files found in the Legislative series illustrate -the vast
array of issues that were a part of political life from 1945 to 1968. Civil rights, gun
control, taxation, and conscription are but a small sampling of events covered in these
materials which are divided into six categories; general legislation, co-sponsored bills,
sponsored bills, private bills, voting records and Congressional statements. Legislation
directly pertaining to his committee work is found in the committee files.
The Executive Departments series is useful for studies in public reaction to
issues affecting agriculture, taxation, foreign policy, public housing, as well as providing
background materials on these matters. The Agriculture Department files are particularly
useful in conjunction with materials found in the Agriculture and Forestry Committee
Senator Hickenlooper's political career spanned the better part of thirty years.
His papers comprise a useful set of documentation of value to research in history,
political science and other cross disciplinary areas of study. For a more detailed account
of the content of these materials, see the Series Description that follows and the finding
aids available in the Library reading room or by interlibrary loan.
Dwight M. Miller
July 28, 1986
The Bourke Blakemore Hickenlooper papers are housed in 901 archival
containers occupying 376 linear feet of shelf space The basic documentation ranges in
time from his entry into politics as a Republican state representative from Cedar
Rapids, Iowa in 1934 until his retirement from the U.S. Senate in 1968.
The series and subseries and their size are as follows:
1. Pre-Gubernatorial, 5 linear feet
2. Gubernatorial, 6 linear feet
3. Senate Committees
A. Aeronautical and Space, 3 linear feet
B. Agriculture and Forestry, 16 linear feet
C. Banking and Currency, 5 linear feet
D. Civil Service, 1 linear feet
E. Expenditures in the Executive Department, 1 linear feet
F. Foreign Relations, 69 linear feet
G. Joint Committee on Atomic Energy/Atomic Energy Commission, 53 linear feet
H. Post Office and Post Roads, -1 linear feet
I. Public Lands and Public Surveys, -1 linear feet
J. Rules and Administration, -1 linear feet
4. Executive Departments, 41 linear feet
5. Executive Office of the President, 2 linear feet
6. Independent Agencies, 26 linear feet
7. Legislative, 30 linear feet
8. Personal, 23 linear feet
9. Political, 48 linear feet
10. Topical, 33 linear feet
11. Trips and Speeches, 25 linear feet
12. Post Senatorial Series
5 linear feet (12 containers)
This series documents BBH's entry into politics and his skills as a political
organizer, a quality that played a substantial role in his success in this field. Included
are correspondence, reports, lists, and analyses of groups who lent their support to
his campaigns for Lt. Governor and Governor. Also included are extensive campaign
clipping files arranged by geographical location. Of particular interest is a 137 pp.
typescript and a 13 pp. memorandum by the Opinion Research Corporation,
Princeton, N.J., analyzing the 1940 Presidential campaign.
6 linear feet (14 containers)
As a war-time governor, BBH was concerned with the production of food and
materials. In addition to these matters, he was heavily engaged in politics on a state,
regional and national basis. This series contains a substantial volume of documents
pertaining to his participation in various governors conferences, 1943-44, and as
chairman of the Republican National Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture in 1944.
Arthur Vandenberg, Thomas Dewey, William Bricker, Wendell Willkie, and Herbert
Hoover, are among the Republican Party leaders represented in these files.
151 linear fee (319 containers)
This series contains the bulk of the more important documentation contained in
BBH's papers including Foreign Relations and Joint Committee on Atomic Energy
investigative files; Expropriations Amendment files; subcommittee files on Central and
South America, and the Middle East; the Atomic Energy Act of 1954; the Smith-Mundt
investigation of the effectiveness of the U.S. Information Agency; the Brannan Plan;
the Consular Treaty; Housing and Urban Affairs; and a host of other subject areas of
value and importance to the study of American. history from 1945-68. A more detailed
description of each subseries follows.
Aeronautical and Space Sciences, 1958-68
5 linear feet (7 containers)
This subseries contains documentation relative to the exploration-of space,
particulary the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, communications
satellites, and the Soviet space program. These materials compliment those found
in the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy/Atomic Energy Commission subseries.
Agriculture and Forestry, 1949-68
16 linear feet (39 containers)
This subseries is comprised of materials documenting legislative measures to
solve the "Farm Problem"; extensive correspondence with the American Farm Bureau
and the Iowa Farm Bureau; and files on a variety of other organizations and issues
including the Rural Electric Administration, soil conservation, price supports, National
Farmers Union, and the Brannan Plan. These materials provide the reader with data
and insights into constituent concerns and governmental efforts to alleviate problems
associated with agricultural production
Banking and Currency, 1945, 1965-68
5 linear feet (13 containers)
This subseries documents a portion of BBH's committee service at the beginning
and the conclusion of his Senate career. The more important materials are found in
subcomittee files which include the following: Financial Institutions; Housing and
Urban Affairs; International Affairs; Securities; and Small Business. Other subjects of
interest include office of Price Administration, gold, and the Securities and Exchange
Civil Service, 1945-49, 1967-68
1 linear foot (2 containers)
These materials are, with the exception of one folder, made up entirely of
legislative files including the following topics: federal pay and retirement privileges;
group life insurance, health benefits; and veterans benefits.
Expenditures in the Executive Department, 1945-49
1 linear foot (3 containers)
Subcommittee-assignments form the core of the more useful materials found in
this subseries: Reduction of Non Essential Federal Expenditures; Relations with
International organizations; and Surplus Property Disposal.
Foreign Relations, 1947-68
69 linear feet (166 containers)
This subseries offers the researcher a panoramic view of the conduct of U.S.
foreign relations for a critical 20 year span of 20th Century American history from the
Marshall Plan to the Vietnam War. It is divided into 2 parts, Subject and Individual
files (117 containers) and Countries files (49 containers).
The Subject and Individuals files are comprised of correspondence and other
materials relating to a wide variety of events and interests including the European
Recovery Program; United Nations; Mutual Security Program; Nuclear Test
Ban Treaty; International Grain Arrangement Subcommittee; Foreign Policy Review
Executive Committee; foreign aid; repeal of the Connally Reservation; Disloyalty
Investigation (Tydings Committee); and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The Countries files contain materials on individual countries from Aden to
Zimbabwe, and subcommittee files on regional affairs including Africa, American
Republics, Europe, the Near East and South Asia, and the Far East. These files contain
extensive reports on such matters as the Smith-Mundt Committee Study of the USIA;
international conferences, including those at Punta del Este, Uruguay and Caracas,
Venezuela in which BBH played important roles; and the Peace Treaty with Japan.
There also is extensive correspondence and memoranda concerning the war in Vietnam
from 1954 through 1968.
Joint Committee on Atomlc Energy/Atomic Energy Commission, 1945-68
45 linear feet (86 containers)
As the title indicates, these files are divided into 2 parts. The Joint Committee
on Atomic Energy (JCAE) materials document BBH's service beginning with the
Senate Special Committee in 1945 and conclude with the JCAE in 1968. BBH
chaired the JCAE in 1947-49 and later served on various subcommittees including
Raw Materials; Research, Development and Radiation; Agreements for Cooperation;
and Legislation. As chairman of the JCAE, BBH became quite concerned over
undisclosed agreements to share atomic secrets with Canada and the United Kingdom.
After leaving the chairmanship in 1949, BBH spearheaded an investigation of the
Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) by alluding to 'incredible mismanagement" by its
chairman, David E. Lilienthal. BBH also accused the Commission of lax security and
that it awarded AEC fellowships to avowed Communists. This subseries is
complimentary to the AEC series found in the papers of Lewis L. Strauss, also a part of
the Library's holdings.
Post Office and Post Roads, 1945-46
-1 linear foot (1 container)
This subseries is comprised of correspondence and other materials concerning
legislation on postal employee compensation, postage rates, Star routes, and other
matters connected with the administration of that department. The majority of these
materials document constituent concerns.
Public Lands and Public Surveys, 1945-46
-1 linear foot (1 container)
This file consists of correspondence, hearings and other materials on grazing
rights and petroleum resources.
Rules and Administration, 1945-47
-1 linear foot (1 container)
These materials include correspondence, reports and other items relative to
matters such as Presidential succession, cloture, and the press gallery. BBH served on
the Subcommittee for Privilege and Elections, a part of the Special Committee to
Investigate Campaign Expenditures.
23 linear feet (56 containers)
These materials document BBH's personal relations with members of the Senate
and of the House; Iowa college and university officials; Iowa governors; individual
concerns of old friends and political allies; an extensive file of letters and memoranda
from his Iowa office manager, John Henry; his relations with members of the news
media; hobbies; and a "general subjects" file that provides the reader insight into the
Senator's position on many of the issues during his terms of office.
48 linear feet (116 containers)
This series is divided into 4 subseries: Senatorial Campaigns, 1950, 1956, 1962
(17 containers); Iowa Politics (18 containers); National Politics (49 containers); and
Patronage (32 containers). The Senatorial Campaigns subseries document BBH's three
successful bids for reelection. The Iowa Politics file (1945-68) contains materials about
BBH's political activities on behalf of candidates other than himself. The National Politics
file (1945-68) is both the largest and the one containing materials of the greatest general
interest ranging from BBH's membership on the Republican Truth Squad and the
Taft-Eisenhower conflict in the 1952 Presidential Campaign to Republican conferences,
conventions and committees including the Committee on Committees. In 1962, BBH
became chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, a position he held until
The Patronage files (1945-68) are described according to cabinet offices from
Agriculture through Treasury. The bulk of material is found in Post Office-Post Master
files and Judicial appointments to Circuit Courts, U.S. Marshalls and Assistant U.S.
Attornies. These materials document BBH's efforts on behalf of Iowa constitutents
and other friends and acquaintances.
33 linear feet (81 containers)
This series contains a wide range of materials on Iowa issues such as flood
control, improvement of airport facilities and service, highways, and a survey of
historic buildings. Files on Senate confirmation of Cabinet and Judical appointments
are also found in this series unless they form part of the Committee files. Of particular
interest are those concerning Abe Fortas and Henry A. Wallace.
These materials also contain constitutent correspondence on various subjects
including the Bretton Woods conference, tax on cooperatives, pensions, public works,
the Supreme Court, railroads, Iowa colleges and universities, and Communism. This
file also contains extensive correspondence regarding the hearings conducted by Senator
Joseph R. McCarthy and his subsequent censure by the Senate, and reaction mail
concerning the policies and actions of President Harry S. Truman, 1945-52.
Trips and Speeches, 1945-68
25 linear feet (63 containers)
This series is comprised of three parts, the Master Speech file, the Domestic
file and the Foreign file. The files pertaining to domestic travel often were to events
envolving speeches and remarks. Foreign travel was on official business for the
Foreign Relations Committee and the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy where
public remarks and speeches were made less frequently.
The Master Speech file (6 containers), contains copies of press releases,
speeches, statements, and remarks made by BBH and is arranged in chronological
The Domestic file (27 containers), consisting of correspondence and printed
matter, is also arranged in chronological order. Remarks and statements made on the
floor of the Senate are filed in the Legislative Series.
The Foreign file (27 containers) is arranged in alphabetical order by country
with the event or activity listed under the country as a sub-heading. In the instance of
long trips to areas such as Africa, Europe, Far East, Mediterranean, Near East or
South America, the files are listed by region with the country listed thereunder. These
papers also have been cross referenced on index cards with the specific conference or
description of activity to the pertaining countries.
30 linear feet (72 containers)
The Legislative series is comprised of 6 parts, General (40 containers);
Co-sponsored (11 containers); Sponsored (2 containers); Private (l container);
Voting Records (10 containers); Congressional Record (8 containers).
General: Correspondence and printed material regarding
legislation that was not sponsored or co-sponsored by BBH.It
is arranged by subject in alphabetical order with year, date,
and bill number.
Co-Sponsored: Correspondence and printed material regarding legislation that
BBH co-sponsored. It is arranged by subject in alphabetical order with year, date, and
Sponsored: Correspondence and printed material regarding specific bills that
BBH introduced. It is arranged by subject in alphabetical order with year, date, and bill
Private: Correspondence and printed material regarding bills that BBH
introduced affecting a particular individual. These are arranged by name in alphabetical
Voting Records: Printed materials compiled by the Senate Republican Policy
Committee, Secretary of the Senate, Secretary for the Minority, Secretary for the
Majority, BBH's office staff, miscellaneous sources, and excerpts from the
Congressional Record. These compilations are arranged by congressional session.
Congressional Statements: Statements and remarks made by or about BBH
appearing in the Congressional Record. They are arranged by congressional session
according to each session's corresponding index.
Executive Departments, 1945-68
41 linear feet (103 containers)
This series is comprised of correspondence, reports, and other materials
pertaining to the functions of the 12 Executive Departments in existence during BBH's
terms in office: Agriculture; Commerce; Defense; Health, Education and Welfare;
Housing and Urban Development; Interior; Justice; Labor; Post Office; State;
Transportation; and Treasury.
Agriculture (31 containers): A wide range of subjects and individuals are
covered including Ezra Taft Benson, eggs, Soil Conservation Service; Forest Service,
Farmers Home Administration, Wheat Agreements, soybeans, Agricultural Stabilization
and Conservation Service, and many others.
The primary distinction between the Agriculture Departmental files and the
Agriculture and Forestry Committee files is that the latter contain legislative materials
which comprise over one-half of the total amount. Both contain additional materials of
interest to the study of agricultural problems from the mid 1940's through 1968 and
should be used as complimentary collections.
Commerce (11 containers): This file contains correspondence and other materials
on a variety of subjects including the Census Bureau and the Civil Aeronautics
Administration, the National Production Authority and the Bureau of Public Roads.
Comprised largely of constituent mail, these files are indicative of many concerns of
Iowan's regarding the interstate highway program, expansion of local air services,
exports and imports, employment, economic development, and other topics of a
Defense (11 containers): Correspondence and other materials pertaining to the
Army Corps of Engineers, National Guard, Prisoners of War, the Selective Service
System, and other topics that were addressed by this Department. Like many
other files in the Executive Department series, these materials document constituent
concerns including subjects such as peacetime conscription, construction of dams for
flood control, and the military services. The Corps of Engineers file should be used in
conjunction with the Topical Series, Iowa Matters, and Flood Control file.
Health, Education and Welfare (14 containers): This subseries mirrors the
opinions and concerns of Iowans regarding the emergence of "The Great Society".
These programs generated constituent mail on a variety of subjects including public
health, Social Security, and Medicare.
Housing and Urban Development (1 container): This department came into
existence a scant 2 years prior to BBH's retirement, consequently there are relatively
few materials, all of which are constitutent correspondence pertaining to public and
federal housing, and to community facilities.
Interior (7 containers): These materials contain correspondence and other
documentation from constituents and government officials on diverse subjects such as
the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Naval Live Oak Reservation; Fish and Wildlife
Services, Bureau of Mines, and the establishment of the Herbert Hoover National
Justice (3 containers): This also is a small file of correspondence comprised
primarily of material pertaining to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau
of Prisons. From 1955-57, consideration was given to building a new federal
penitentiary. Several cities across Iowa were in competition for that facility
Labor (6 containers): This file consists of constitutent correspondence from
laborers, management, consumers, and civic organizations pertaining to strikes,
employment services, the steel industry, and wage stabilization. of these subjects,
the steel strike in 1952 drew the largest, most diverse condemnation of President
Truman's labor policies with some correspondents calling for his impeachment.
Post Office (2 containers): Constituent suggestions of subjects for
commemorative stamps comprises the largest unit of material in this file. Other
subjects include postage rates, "speed mail" (a forerunner of "electronic mail"), and
mail delivery. Patronage files involving the appointment of postmasters and other
postal positions, are found in the Political series.
State (10 containers): Constituent correspondence and other materials on a
wide range of subjects of national interest and concern. Among those that generated
the greater volume of correspondence are the Peace Corps, International Cooperation
Administration, International Exchange Services, and Otto Otepka.
Transportation (2 containers): This agency was created only 2 years before
BBH's retirement, consequently it contains relatively few files. Among those of
interest are the Federal Highway Commission, the Bureau of Public Roads, and the
Federal Aviation Commission. The Bureau of Public Roads was transferred from
Commerce to Transportation and materials from 1954-66 are found in the former's file.
Treasury (8 containers): Constituent files concerning the Internal Revenue
Service dominate the subjects covered in these materials which give the reader insights
into the services performed by BBH for his constituents in tax matters and their
accusations of abuses by the IRS. Other subjects of interest include all manner of taxes,
Bureau of Customs, the Mint, gold, and oil depletion allowances.
Executive offices of the President
2 linear feet (5 containers)
Some of the more important materials in this series concern the Office of Civil
and Defense Mobilization. Subjects covered therein include price and wage controls,
defense production, and government contracts. Other subjects of interest include
reaction by constituents and BBH to messages by the President, the steel price dispute
in 1962, and the office of Emergency Planning. These files contain correspondence
and other materials from members of the Senate, corporate executives, and
27 linear feet (63 containers)
This series is comprised of correspondence and other materials covering a
broad sweep of public, private, corporate, and individual concerns ranging from
veterans affairs; the U.S. Information Agency; the Great Society, e.g., the office of
Economic Opportunity and educational programs; Small Business Administration;
War Production Board; Federal Communication Commission; and many other agencies.
Documentation of interest to researchers includes diverse topics such as, the
post WW II Displaced Persons Commission, the appointment of Edward R. Murrow
to direct the U.S. Information Agency, and the wide range of activities of the War
Production Board during the waning days of WW II.