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Hubert H. Humphrey

Hubert H. Humphrey by Richard Stuck. Location no. AV1989.170.4Hubert H. Humphrey burst onto the Minnesota political scene in 1945, when he was elected mayor of Minneapolis. To the office, he brought a high level of energy that fueled his populist spirit and reformer's zeal. At that time, anti-Semitism and discrimination against blacks and other minorities were rife in Minneapolis. Humphrey set out to change the social climate through moral suasion, and the unfair policies and practices, through political and legislative action. It was a dangerous course that he set for himself in 1940s U.S., with segregation and Jim Crow laws still firmly in place.

In 1948, under his leadership, Minneapolis enacted the nation's first municipal fair employment law. Buoyed, he went on to deliver a fiery speech at the 1948 Democratic national convention, an impassioned plea urging that a strong civil rights plank be included in the Democratic platform. Although the speech was not well received, Humphrey was instrumental in spurring the convention to add a civil rights plank to their platform.

That November, Minnesotans elected Humphrey to the United States Senate, making him the first Democrat from Minnesota ever elected to that exalted position. Apprenticeship to Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, a savvy student of power, then in his ascendancy, helped Humphrey to gain eventual "admittance to the club." A voluble and passionate speaker, he could wind up a crowd in the best tradition of evangelistic oratory, and he was both admired and derided for it. Minnesotans re-elected Humphrey to the Senate in 1954 and in 1960, thus making possible his part in helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Humphrey served in the Senate until he was selected to be Lyndon Johnson's running mate in the presidential campaign of 1964. Johnson and Humphrey won, but the victory was bittersweet. It ushered in the most conflicted and disheartening years of his political career-years of being torn between his need to remain loyal to Johnson's policies and conduct of the Vietnam War, and his own uneasiness about the course the nation was on. His failure to take a clear stand against the war cost him dearly. When he ran for president in 1968, he lost to Richard Nixon by the slim margin of 1% of the popular vote.

GET STARTED WITH SECONDARY SOURCES:

  • "150 Years Norwegian Immigration."
    In Norwegian American Commerce, no. 2/75 (summer 1975).
    Includes Hubert H. Humphrey on pp. 42-43.
    MHS call number: Folio E 184 .S22 A15 1975.
  • Almost to the Presidency: A Biography of Two American Politicians, by Albert Eisele.
    Blue Earth, Minn.: Piper Co., [1972].
    Covers Hubert H. Humphrey and Eugene J. McCarthy.
    MHS call number: E 748 .H945 E5.
  • An American Melodrama: The Presidential Campaign of 1968, by Lewis Chester, Godfrey Hodgson, Bruce Page.
    New York: Viking Press, [1969].
    MHS call number: E 851 .C45.
  • America's Vice-Presidents: Our First Forty-Three Vice-Presidents and How They Got to Be Number Two, by Diana Dixon Healy.
    New York: Atheneum, 1984.
    Includes Hubert H. Humphrey.
    MHS call number: E 176.49 .H4 1984.
  • Divided They Stand, by David English and the staff of the Daily Express.
    London: M. Joseph, 1969.
    MHS call number: E 851 .E5.
  • Hubert H. Humphrey: A Biography, by Carl Solberg.
    New York: Norton, 1984.
    MHS call number: Reading Room E 748 .H945 S65 1984.
  • Hubert H. Humphrey: The Politics of Joy, by Paul Westman.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: Dillon Press, 1978.
    MHS call number: E 748 .H945 W47.
  • Hubert H. Humphrey: The Politics of Joy, by Charles L. Garrettson III.
    New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1993.
    MHS call number: E 748 .H945 G37 1993.
  • The Modern American Vice Presidency: The Transformation of a Political Institution, by Joel K. Goldstein.
    Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1982.
    MHS call number: JK 609.5 .G64.
  • The New Senate: Liberal Influence on a Conservative Institution, 1959-1972, by Michael Foley.
    New Haven, N.J.: Yale University Press, 1980.
    MHS call number: JK 1161 .F64.
  • Vice-Presidential Power: Advice and Influence in the White House, by Paul C. Light.
    Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984.
    MHS call number: Reading Room JK 609.5 .L53 1984.
  • The Year the Dream Died: Revisiting 1968 in America, by Jules Witcover.
    New York: Warner Books, 1997.
    MHS call number: E 846 .W55 1997.

PRIMARY RESOURCES:

  • Hubert H. Humphrey Papers
    • Mayor's Office Files, 1940-1948.
      Correspondence, reports, background materials, and related papers on Minneapolis city boards, commissions, and committees; on issues and problems related to municipal government or to Humphrey personally or in his role as mayor; and on the general governance of the city. Many of the files and letters concern such topics as housing, human relations, the City Council, the city charter, taxation and finance, police, labor disputes, city celebrations and community activities, public health and welfare, and civic and commercial organizations.
      MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed alphabetically under Humphrey, Hubert H.—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 23 boxes), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
    • Mayor's Political Files, 1935-1951.
      Correspondence, platform and policy documents, campaign and other promotional literature, statements, clippings, publicity items, and assorted background materials and issuances pertaining to Humphrey's 1944 and 1947 campaigns for mayor of Minneapolis; to activities of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the Democratic National Committee, and the Americans for Democratic Action during the period of his mayoralty; and to Humphrey's political contemporaries.
      MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed alphabetically under Humphrey, Hubert H.—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 6 boxes), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
    • Hubert H. Humphrey 1948 Civil Rights Speech
      On the last day of the 1948 Democratic National Convention, then little-known Minneapolis Mayor Hubert H. Humphrey spoke in support of the minority resolution on civil rights. The Platform Committee had defeated the minority resolution the night before. Humphrey spoke for only eight minutes, but his speech turned the tide and the convention delegates voted to support the course proposed by Humphrey. According to historian Carl Solberg, Humphrey's speech "ushered in the second era of redressing racial injustice in America."
    • Senatorial Files, 1949-1964.
      Correspondence, public relations files, research and subject files, and bill and committee files cover almost every phase of federal legislation, public policy, and Humphrey's constituent relations and political contacts. Major topics include agriculture, civil rights, communism and internal security, foreign affairs (especially disarmament and the Bircker Amendment), labor, taxation, and Minnesota state and local issues and concerns.
      MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed alphabetically under Humphrey, Hubert H.—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 700 boxes).
    • Vice Presidential Files, 1964-1968.
      These files are concerned with activities, agencies, and programs with which the Vice President was officially connected or in which he had a personal or official interest. They are especially full for such programs as civil rights (through the President's Council on Equal Opportunity), health and sports (through the President's Committee on Physical Fitness), outer space (through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), and poverty and youth (through the Youth Opportunity Campaign, summer employment programs, Volunteers in Service to America, the Job Corps, and many other "war on poverty" programs). There is also considerable material on foreign affairs, with emphasis on Vietnam, Latin America, and disarmament.
      MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed alphabetically under Humphrey, Hubert H.—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 600 boxes).
    • Presidential Campaign (1968) Files, 1949-1969.
      Files created by and/or relating to the organization and administration of Humphrey's 1968 campaign for the Presidency of the United States. They are an amalgam of files produced by many individuals and organizations.
      MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed alphabetically under Humphrey, Hubert H.—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 122 boxes), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • Hubert H. Humphrey Vice-Presidential Files, collected by William B. Welsh.
    Reports, memoranda, speeches, correspondence, notes, and other materials kept by William B. Welsh in his capacity as Administrative Assistant to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey during the late 1960s. Major topics include Humphrey's 1968 presidential campaign, the Vietnam War, and the response to the urban riots of the late 1960s. Also included are extensive files on Humphrey's role in the effort to eliminate the Senate's filibuster rule.
    MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed under Welsh, William B.—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 3 boxes of material), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • William J. Connell Papers.
    Correspondence, memoranda, newspaper clippings, and other material compiled by William Connell, executive assistant to Hubert Humphrey (1959-1972). The papers document Humphrey's political activities during the 1960s and early 1970s when he was a U.S. senator from Minnesota, vice president of the U.S., and Democratic candidate for president. The files are rich in memoranda, correspondence, and polls documenting campaign strategy and mechanics. They provide very substantive documentation on the evolution of Humphrey's political career.
    MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed under Connell, William James—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 7 boxes of material), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • Papers Relating to the 1968 Democratic Convention, collected by Lyle D. Tollefson.
    Papers relating to the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, Illinois, which Tollefson attended as a graduate student from the University of Minnesota. Included are items used to promote the campaign of Senator Eugene J. McCarthy, clippings providing information on the McCarthy family, a list of the Minnesota delegation, copies of platform planks, a telegram from Tollefson to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey regarding the disorder in Chicago during the convention, and Humphrey's response, a copy of Humphrey's address accepting the nomination as Democratic candidate for president, copies of press releases, brief biographies of prominent Democrats, and other miscellaneous items. Some of the materials were part of a press kit for the convention.
    MHS call number: P618; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for more details (there is only 1 box of material).
  • The Politics of Joy: A Radio Remembrance of Hubert H. Humphrey.
    St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Public Radio, broadcast Feb. 1988.
    Radio program examines Humphrey's life through his speeches and interviews with family, friends, and former colleagues.
    MHS call number: Audiotape no. 15 (in the A-V Collection; 1 60-minute audio cassette).
  • Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
    • Minneapolis Star
    • Minneapolis Tribune
    • St. Paul Dispatch
    • St. Paul Pioneer Press
  • Visual Resources Database subjects that may be useful for this topic:
  • Check the library catalog for other materials.