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Debra O'Leary
IU Libraries

Last modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NHPRC grant enables IU Libraries to process Birch Bayh collection

Aug. 31, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Thanks to a $60,000 matching grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, Indiana University Libraries will be able to complete the processing of collected senatorial papers given to IU by former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh (1963-1981).

The grant will support the preservation, arrangement and description of the approximately two million documents. It will also support preparation of a detailed online guide to the contents of the collection and digitization of audio cassettes of hearings of the Judiciary Committee's Juvenile Delinquency Subcommittee from the early 1970s, pre-dating both C-SPAN and PBS coverage.

The collection will serve as a resource for researchers and scholars studying the inner workings of Congress and will provide information on important legislative issues championed by the longtime senator. "This collection provides an unusually complete picture of the workings of a congressional staff as well as documenting the range of Bayh's work as a legislator," said Kate Cruikshank, political papers specialist at IU Libraries.

A Democrat born in 1928 in Terre Haute, Ind., Bayh represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate from 1963 until 1981. He was a farmer before entering politics in 1954 as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, where he remained through 1962. He received his law degree from the IU School of Law in Bloomington in 1960. Bayh was elected Indiana House Minority Leader in both 1957 and 1961 and became Speaker of the House in 1959.

As a U.S. senator, Bayh proposed what became the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, defining the presidential succession process, and he spearheaded the 26th Amendment, which lowered the minimum voting age to 18. Bayh was a backer of Title IX, which created a level playing field for girls and women in academics and athletics in the nation's schools. Since leaving the Senate, he has practiced law, worked to improve the U.S. electoral system and advised government officials.

The IU Libraries' Modern Political Papers collection, housed in the Wells Library, features congressional papers of Indiana senators and members of the House of Representatives serving from post-World War II to the present. In addition to the Bayh papers, the collection also houses the papers of former congressmen Lee H. Hamilton (1965-1998); Frank McCloskey (1983-1994); and J. Edward Roush (1959-1967, 1971-1976). Also included are former congressional staffer Jerry G. Udell's political papers (1963-1980); political posters (1964-1972); and a collection of Lee Hamilton campaign memorabilia (1964-1998) given by Carolyn Eve.

As part of the Modern Political Papers' growing collection, the Birch Bayh Senatorial Papers add to the ongoing outreach and educational work of the Center on Congress at IU and will contribute to the IU Libraries' research and educational missions. IU Libraries are a member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission is a statutory body affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration. It supports a wide range of activities to preserve, publish and encourage the use of documentary sources, created in every medium ranging from quill pen to computer, that relate to the history of the United States.

For information on the Modern Political Papers collections and the Birch Bayh Senatorial Papers, visit the website at or contact Kate Cruikshank at 812-856-4601 or by e-mail at

IU Bloomington Libraries was recognized as the top American research library system in 2009 by the Association of College and Research Libraries.