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Harold E. Hughes Gubernatorial Papers

Identifier: MsC0385

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Scope and Contents

The papers of Harold E. Hughes consist of 200 linear feet of manuscripts dating from 1962 to 1975. Primarily office files, these papers are divide into two series: 1) Gubernatorial Papers and 2) Senatorial Papers. Each series is then divided into ten or eleven sections. The senatorial papers are listed on a separate record. The gubernatorial papers are arranged in the following order: 1)Alphabetical subject files; 2) Governor's advisory committee; 3) Appointments; 4) General assembly 60 -- 62; 5) Clemency and penal; 6) Press releases, radio broadcasts fact sheets, etc.; 7) Speeches; 8) Newspaper clippings; 9) Campaign and miscellaneous; 10) Photographs; 11) Tapes; and Oversized materials. The index for both the combined gubernatorial and senatorial papers are combined at the end of each respective record.

The major topics include: agriculture, alcoholism, banks, commerce, courts, crime, Democratic Party, drug abuse, education, manpower, draft, Richard Nixon, practical politics, postal service, poverty, public welfare, public works, roads, soil conservation, taxation, transportation, United Nations, veterans, Vietnamese conflict, and water pollution. The Iowa cities of Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, and Waterloo are well represented. There is correspondence from: Hubert H. Humphrey, Edward M. Kennedy, and Walter F. Mondale.


  • Creation: 1962-1975


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Harold Everett Hughes was born near Ida Grove, Iowa on February 10, 1922. Struggling against rural poverty, he attended public schools and was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Iowa. He quit school after his freshman year and was married. In 1942, Hughes enlisted in the army and saw combat in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He was sent home after contracting both jaundice and malaria, serving out the remainder of his enlistment stateside.

Hughes took a job driving trucks after the war. It was through trucking that he first became involved in politics. He founded the Iowa Better Trucking Bureau to represent small truckers. In 1958, after switching political parties from Republican to Democrat, Hughes ran for a seat on the Iowa State Commerce Commission. He was elected and served from 1959 to 1962. In 1963, Hughes was elected governor of Iowa, defeating the incumbent Republican , Governor Erbe. He went on the serve for three terms. Elected to the US Senate (1968 -- 1975), he briefly sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1971, and chose not to seek re-election to the Senate in 1974.

Harold Everett Hughes was very much a man shaped by his past. The poverty he experienced during his youth, his battle with alcoholism, his blue-collar background, and his strong religious faith all worked to mold the man and his politics. He opposed the death penalty and the Vietnam War, worked tirelessly for alcohol and drug abuse legislation, was involved in conservation issues, and was regarded as a liberal Democrat and a charismatic candidate.

Harold Hughes died October 23, 1996 in Glendale, Arizona.


200.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Governor and U.S. Senator from Iowa. Gubernatorial and senatorial office files relating to his political career.

Method of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1975 by Governor Hughes.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)