The New and Improved O’Mahoney Papers

Take a look at the Joseph C. O’Mahoney papers here at the AHC! And if you’ve already seen them, take another look, as the collection has been re-processed and better organized! Joseph C. O’Mahoney was a Wyoming Democratic senator for 25 years, 1934-1960. He was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on November 5, 1884. He moved to Cheyenne in 1916 where he worked at a newspaper owned by John Kendrick, then governor of Wyoming. Kendrick soon became senator, and employed O’Mahoney as his secretary in Washington.  After his election to President in 1933, FDR appointed O’Mahoney First Assistant Postmaster General. Later that year, O’Mahoney assumed the Wyoming senatorial seat after the death of Kendrick. He held that senate seat until he was defeated in 1952, but was reelected in 1954 after a special election due to the death of Senator Lester C. Hunt. O’Mahoney remained senator until 1960, when he decided not to run for reelection due to failing health. He died in 1962.

O’Mahoney during a 1945 presentation before the Senate

While in the Senate, O’Mahoney served on many important committees, including Appropriations, Judiciary, Temporary National Economic Committee, and Irrigation and Reclamation. He was also the Chairman for many committees, including the Committee on Public Lands, Defense Appropriations, Interior and Insular Affairs, and Indian Affairs.  He was an opponent of “Big Business” and monopolies, and was heavily involved with anti-trust legislation. Although O’Mahoney was a strong supporter of FDR and New Deal programs, he did split with Roosevelt over the Supreme Court packing issue.  O’Mahoney consistently kept Wyoming residents’ interests in mind regarding issues such as oil, livestock, sugar, and use of land and water.

O’Mahoney at a Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, WPA work site

This collection has a wealth of information related to important issues of the period. It primarily contains files from O’Mahoney’s time as Senator of Wyoming such as correspondence, legislative and committee files, speeches, news releases and clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, research files, and campaign materials. The collection does contain a few files from his time as First Assistant Postmaster General, as well as some files from his law career.  The inventory for the collection includes links to over 2,700 digitized documents from the collection!

The re-processing of the Joseph C. O’Mahoney collection was part of a grant project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The goal of the 2-year project is to make 41 collections (totaling 2288 feet) relating to the Great Depression more accessible through electronic finding aids and enhanced organization. The collections included as part of this grant cover a range of areas relating to the Depression, including the New Deal, Journalism, Anti-Trust, Business, Entertainment, Public Works, and Agriculture and Ecology.

Keep your eye on the AHC blog for more recently processed Depression-era collections!

–Kathryn Brooks and  Emily Christopherson, Project Archivists

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