Guide to the Basil Lee Whitener Papers, 1889-1968
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Basil Lee Whitener (1915-1989) was a U.S. Representative from Gastonia, N.C. Collection includes correspondence between Whitener and his constituents, other congressmen, and government officials, legislative materials, drafts of bills, financial papers, speeches, invitations, printed material, clippings, photographs, and other papers, chiefly from congressional files (1957-1968), relating to issues of national importance during the 1960s, including the Vietnam War, crime legislation, gun control, riots, civil rights legislation, foreign aid, social security, and the Taft-Hartley Act. Correspondents include Sam Ervin, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Sargent Shriver, and Strom Thurmond.
- Collection Number
- Basil Lee Whitener papers
- Whitener, Basil Lee, 1915-
- 150 Linear Feet, circa 297,300 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Political Series, 1956-1966
- Correspondence (General) Series, 1956-1968
- Correspondence (Legislative) Series, 1956-1968
- District of Columbia Series, 1961-1968
- Judiciary Series, 1950-1966,primarily 1957-1966
- Judiciary Committee Series, 1961-1968
- Speeches Series, 1954-1968,primarily 1957-1968
- Subject Series, 1953-1968,primarily 1961-1968
- Case File Series, 1950-1962,primarily 1957-1960
- Textile Imports Series, 1955-1968
- House of Representatives Series, 1963-1968and undated,primarily 1965-1968
- Military and Veterans Series, 1945-1968
- Military Academy Series, 1958-1968
- Trips Series, 1944-1968,primarily 1959-1968
- Post Office Series, 1944-1968,primarily 1950-1968
- Grants Series, 1966-1968
- Invitations Series, 1956-1968
- General Information Series, 1950-1964and undated
- Office Files Series, 1951-1968,primarily 1962-1968
- Office Information Series, 1956-1968
- Personal Series, 1889-1968and undated,primarily 1957-1968
Basil Lee Whitener Papers primarily contain the office files of Congressman Whitener when he was the U. S. Representative for the Eleventh District (85th - 87th Congresses) and Tenth District (88th -90th Congresses) of North Carolina. Although the papers span the years 1889-1968, the bulk of the papers covers Whitener's years in office, 1957-1968. Some of the early files from the 81st through the 84th Congresses, are the papers of Woodrow Wilson Jones, Whitener's predecessor in office.
luded in the papers are such Items as correspondence, printed material, invitations, speeches, clippings, financial papers, photographs, as well as legislative materials and drafts of bills. Much of this collection consists of correspondence between Whitener and his constituents, other Congressmen, and government officials.
The papers are divided into the following series:
- Correspondence (General)
- Correspondence (Legislative)
- District of Columbia
- Judiciary Committee
- Case Files
- Textile Imports
- House of Representatives
- Military and Veterans
- Military Academy
- Post Office
- General Information
- Office Files
- Office Information
By far the largest category is the Correspondence (General), even though it was weeded extensively. The Correspondence (Legislative) Series is also rather large. Both of these series contain extensive correspondence with constituents. Other large series are the Personal Series, which pertains more directly to Whitener's private and unofficial affairs, and the Office Files Series, containing files which seem to have been in active use by Whitener's office staff at the time he left office.
There are information and opinions in the collection on a variety of issues of national importance during the 1960s. Included are the Vietnam War, civil rights legislation, riots, crime legislation, gun control, foreign aid, Social Security, and the Taft-Hartley Act. Other subjects are the U. S. Congress and various bills and laws. There are a variety of letters from prominent persons, such as John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Sargent Shriver, Strom Thurmond, and Sam Ervin.
The views of Whitener on many national and state issues are revealed within the collection. He supported legislation to combat crime and civil disobedience, a strong national defense, and exerting every effort to bring the Vietnamese Conflict to a successful conclusion. The Congressman was opposed to civil rights legislation, deficit spending, foreign aid spending, and the proliferation of domestic and social programs. Concerning North Carolina issues, Whitener wanted restrictions on textile imports in order to protect jobs, and supported the concept of a balanced economy in the state. As a member of the Committee on the District of Columbia, he authored bills to curb the crime rate in the District of Columbia and a bill to establish a modern rail rapid transit system in the District. In general, Whitener seemed to exhibit the views of conservative Southern Democrats.
Specific subjects are noted in more detail in the inventory. There is some overlap of subjects among the series.
The arrangement of the Whitener Papers has followed the system originally used by the Congressman's office as much as possible. The series were grouped by placing the more significant and larger series in the beginning. The Personal Series was placed at the end. Although the collection was usually left in the structure it had when it came to the library, many of the folders within the series were in various states of disorder. Rearrangement of the order of these folders was often necessary in order to create a logical organization, whether it be chronological, subject, or some other arrangement. Folder titles remain intact whenever possible, except when clarification was necessary.
Although categories do indicate the contents, headings are not always inclusive. For example, there may be information on a Social Security bill in the Correspondence (Legislative) Series. However, information on the same bill may be located in other series, such as the House of Representatives or Judiciary. Such folders were retained in their original files.
Weeding out of certain material was a necessary part of the cataloging process for the collection. Two series were discarded. They were: the File Cards Series, containing only names and addresses with no other notations; and the Appalachian State Graduates Series, including names and addresses of graduates in the Tenth Congressional District. Routine Items were eliminated from the collection, especially in the Correspondence (General) Series, Subject Series, Case Files Series, and Personal Series. Examples of such Items are individual Social Security claims, visa applications, routine correspondence, and duplicates In the Military and Veterans Series only the files for the letter "C" were retained, as well as a few small subject folders. The majority of the folders in the Military Academy Series was discarded because they were individual application materials and academic records of Whitener's appointees. The same procedures as above were followed for the routine Military and Veterans, and Military Academy files contained in the Office Files Series. For more specific information, see the individual descriptions of series in the inventory.
Subject and autograph cards have been prepared for the card catalog, but they are very selective. Subject entries were made for series level topics, and for those of folder headings, if of sufficient importance. Whenever a subject entry was made, other references in other categories are possible because it was not feasible to specifically cite all references to a topic. Autograph cards were made only for outstanding correspondents, especially those in the Correspondence (General) Series.
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. Digitized documents are made available by Duke University Libraries for the purpose of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, such as commercial uses, researchers must contact the Rubenstein Library to request permission.
Digitized materials from this collection are made available for use in research, teaching and private study. The digital reproductions have been made available through an evaluation of public domain status, permissions from the rights' holders, and authorization under the law including fair use as codified in 17 U.S.C. § 107. Although these materials are publicly accessible for these limited purposes, they may not all be in the public domain. Users are responsible for determining if permission for re-use is necessary and for obtaining such permission. Individuals who have concerns about online access to specific content should contact the Rubenstein Library.
This series primarily concerns Whitener's first bid for Congress in 1956. He decided to run for Congress in January of that year when Woodrow W. Jones declined to run for re-election as the representative of the Eleventh Congressional District. Included is information on the campaign and two primaries, as well as on the election. The primaries were held on May 26 (Whitener/Gardner/Wells) and June 23 (Whitener/Gardner). In addition to the 1956 campaign material, there are precinct committee lists for 1960 and 1962, and material pertaining to the 1966 campaign.
Concerns Whitener's candidacy for Congress and plans for the campaign
Includes congratulatory letter upon Whitener's election as well as thank you's for support in the campaign.
Information in reference to Whitener's early duties as a Congressman and preparations for his new position.
Also includes some correspondence.
This series, the largest in the collection, runs from the 85th Congress, first session, 1957, through the 90th Congress, second session, 1968. Included is correspondence to and from Whitener's constituents. Some of the letters were written by his administrative assistant, Herbert M. Lineberger. The papers are organized by Congress and session, and then alphabetically within each session by name of correspondent. In some cases Whitener's office held material together about a certain person in the folder for the letter of the alphabet for his name, regardless of the correspondents involved. For example, there may be letters about Mr. Capps in the “C” folder, which were written by various persons. There are a few subject folders included in the alphabetical arrangement. Items within the folders are filed chronologically.
In addition to constituent mail, Whitener corresponded with prominent persons. Representative people are Sam Ervin, Thad Eure, Orville Freeman, Luther Hodges, J. Edgar Hoover, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, B. Everett Jordan, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Dan K. Moore, Admiral Hyman Rickover, Terry Sanford, Sargent Shriver, and Strom Thurmond. Several letters appear in this series for each of the above correspondents. Please consult the Autograph File of the card catalog for a detailed listing of these letters.
A variety of topics appear throughout the series. Particularly in the late 1960s the themes of the Vietnam War, civil rights legislation, riots, crime legislation, gun control, and foreign aid appear often in constituent's letters. In 1968 some constituents were urging Whitener to run for governor of North Carolina. The papers go primarily through October, 1968.
Extensive, although conservative, weeding was done in this series. The decision to weed was made because of the large proportion of routine material included. Approximately one-third of this series was discarded. The following is a list of the types of Items that were weeded out:
- 1. Claims for individual Social Security benefits
- 2. Passport and visa applications
- 3. Individual immigration change of status requests
- 4. Requests for prison paroles
- 5. Routine congratulatory letters, except from prominent persons
- 6. Routine job applications and resumes
- 7. Correspondence concerning visits of school groups to Washington
- 8. Expressions of sympathy
- 9. Congratulations to new parents
- 10. Welcome letters to new residents of Gastonia, N. C.
- 11. Routine requests for government publications, flags, photographs, etc.
- 12. Admissions of individual patients to hospitals and rehabilitation facilities
- 13. Recalls and discharges from military service
- 14. Individual income tax returns
- 15. Tickets for athletic events
- 16. Applications for individual Farmers Home Administration (FHA) loans
- 17. Applications for enlistments and discharges from various branches of the military
- 18. Duplicate copies of speeches, reports, memoranda, etc.
Correspondence and other papers concerning the application by the town of Lowell, N.C., for a federal grant in the amount of $246,548 to be used in the construction of a waste treatment plant.
Concerns an expression of interest in the improvement of Highway 105 in the Linville Falls area.
Papers concerning a luncheon benefit for Holy Angels Nurseryin Gastonia, N.C. Mrs. Dixon was the honored guest at the affair on October 13,1968,and also spoke at a meeting that evening.
Announcements and correspondence concerning federal grants to colleges, cities, and counties in Whitener's district for various projects.
Many of the telegrams relate to announcements of federal grants to various North Carolina cities and counties for such projects as water and sewer facilities, recreation, urban planning assistance, and college improvements. Whitener often mailed the telegram to the news media as well as to the party involved.
Like the Correspondence (General) Series, this series begins with the 85th Congress, first Session, 1957, and ends with the 90th Congress, second Session, 1968. Included is correspondence to and from Whitener's constituents that centers on legislation being considered in the House of Representatives. Some of the letters were written by his administrative assistant, Herbert M. Lineberger. The papers are organized by Congress and session, and then alphabetically within each session by name of correspondent. Items within the folders are filed chronologically. There are a few subject folders included in the alphabetical arrangement on such topics as the Taft-Hartley Act, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Social Security, the Food and Agriculture Act of 1962, etc. A variety of topics appear throughout the series. Examples of topics that surface in constituent's letters are the Landrum-Griffin Act (labor reform bill), veterans' legislation, foreign aid bill, prayer in schools, etc.
Contains correspondence and other papers about matters in the District of Columbia. This important series reflects Whitener's work as a member of the House Committee on the District of Columbia, 1961-1968, as well as a member of certain subcommittees. See the page in this inventory which describes his committee assignments for further information concerning his specific subcommittee assignments. The two major files in this series are Legislative Bills and Subject Files for Legislation, etc.
Included are bills, primarily introduced by Whitener, which concern such issues in the District of Columbia as police, courts, crime, traffic, schools, etc. Sometimes only a draft or copy of the bill is enclosed, but other folders additionally contain reports and supplemental information. The papers, which are arranged by Congress and session, and by specific bill (H.R.) number, run from the 88th Congress, First Session, 1963, to the 90th Congress, Second Session, 1968. A comprehensive listing of the title and number of each bill in this category is filed in folder one of the first box of the Legislative Bills Files. Some subject entries have been made for important content, such as crime, but not for most bill names.
There are three major areas covered in this file:
- I. District Committee
- II. District of Columbia. Including material about fiscal affairs, highways, home rule, housing, schools, etc. in the District of Columbia.
- III. Rapid Transit
Concerns legislative proposals for a rapid transit system in Washington, D. C., and surrounding areas. Related folders included are the National Capital Transportation Act, Transit Program for the National Capital Region, and Japanese Railways. Whitener was chairman of Subcommittee VI on Rapid Transit.
Folders contain information relative to proposals for a rapid transit system in Washington, D. C., and surrounding areas.
This series concerns legislation and other material loosely related to the work of the House Committee on the Judiciary. Whitener was a member of the Judiciary Committee from 1959 to 1968. See the page earlier in this inventory which describes his committee assignments for further information concerning his specific subcommittee assignments. The Judiciary Series and Judiciary Committee Series have been kept separate because they were organized this way in Whitener's office. The Judiciary Committee Series contains folders for the work of this committee and certain sub-committees. The Judiciary Series is larger and more general in nature. The two major files in this series are Legislative Bills, the largest section, and Subject Files for Legislation, etc.
In this section, which forms a major part of the Judiciary Series, are numerous folders for various House of Representatives bills, as well as for a few House Joint Resolutions, House Concurrent Resolutions, and Senate Bills. Whitener introduced about two-thirds of the bills represented in this section. The folders usually contain a copy of the bill, and often printed reports, correspondence, and other background information. There was no apparent order to the bills. Therefore, they were arranged by Congress and session, and by specific bill (H.R.) number, and run from the 85th Congress, 1st Session, 1957 to the 89th Congress, 2nd session, 1966. A comprehensive listing of the title and number of each bill in this category is filed in folder one of the first box of the Legislative Bills files. Some subject entries have been made for important content, such as civil rights, but not for most bill names.
Included are three boxes of material on such topics as civil rights, the courts, and the trial in 1964 of James R. Hoffa. The subjects are in an alphabetical arrangement.
Miscellaneous information gathered by Whitener concerning court cases, elections, voting, etc.
Four folders concerning the U.S. vs. Hoffa trial in 1964 conducted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Southern Division, in Chattanooga. Included is some correspondence, and copies of letters to Emanuel Celler, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary; many affidavits; and other material relating to the court case.
Concerns charges against Yarmolinsky, special assistant to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. The basic charge was that he admitted to World War II Army security investigators that he had attended meetings of theYoung Communist League.
In this series are papers which primarily concern Whitener's duties as a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary. He was a member of this committee from 1959 to 1968. See the page in this inventory which describes his committee assignments for further information concerning his specific subcommittee assignments. Some files relating specifically to the work of the Judiciary Committee, and the subcommittee on which he served, are contained in this series. The Judiciary Committee Series and Judiciary Series have been kept separate because they were organized this way in Whitener's office. The Judiciary Series is larger and more general in nature than this series. The two major files in this series are Legislative Bills and Subject Files for Legislation, Etc.
Folders for several House of Representatives bills as well as House Joint Resolution 714, to allow Bible reading and prayer in the public schools, are included in this section. Whitener sponsored many of these bills. The folders usually contain a copy of the bill, and often printed reports, correspondence, and other background information. There was no apparent order to the bills, which fall in the 88th Congress, 1st Session, 1963 ; 89th Congress, 1st Session, 1965 ; and 90th Congress, 1st Session, 1967. Therefore the bills were arranged by Congress and session and by specific bill (H.R.) number. A comprehensive listing of the title and number of each bill in this category is filed in folder one of the first box of the Legislative Bills files. Some Subject entries have been made for important content but not for most bill names.
This section contains folders for the Judiciary Committee and Whitener's subcommittee assignments, especially for the Special Subcommittee on State Taxation of Interstate Commerce which covers several folders. A small amount of material pertains to Subcommittee IV. Other important topics are civil rights, East-West trade, and textiles. The subjects are in an alphabetical arrangement.
Primarily copies of letters of Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr., who was Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, concerning jury selection procedures.
Concerns U.S. textile imports and trade.
Concerns U.S. textile imports and trade.
Includes, in addition to the text of many of Whitener's speeches, remarks of Whitener in Congress, as printed in the Congressional Record. Other unorganized material has been divided into two additional categories: Correspondence; and speech material, printed material, and miscellany.
Contains the text of Whitener's speeches, usually in a typed format, but there are some rough drafts and outlines of talks. Whitener delivered these speeches at such functions as post office dedications, meetings of organizations such as the North Carolina Association of Letter Carriers, family reunions, and church services and meetings. Many duplicates were discarded from this section.
Primarily clippings from the Congressional Record - House of remarks by Whitener. The folders are organized by Congress and session.
Includes a wide variety of typed, mimeographed, and printed material, such as newsletters and other publications, reports by various private organizations and state and federal agencies, newspaper clippings, news releases, editorial reprints, and campaign material. There are some remarks in the Congressional Record by persons other than Whitener. Much of this section seems to consist of background material for Whitener's speeches.
These files were in rough alphabetical order so this arrangement was retained with some minor refinements of folder titles and order. Some Items such as routine individual social security claims, visa applications, routine correspondence, and duplicates were discarded.
Although this series is very similar to the Subject Series in that it contains folders on miscellaneous topics, the two series were evidently separate in Whitener's office. There was no consistent order to the folders, so they have been arranged alphabetically, similarly to the Subject Series. Some folder title revisions were necessary. A particularly large section of this series is the three boxes of material from the National Federation of Independent Business containing ballots by businessmen on various issues. Some routine Items such as individual Veterans Administration and social security claims, as well as passport applications were discarded.
Clippings concerning the death of Cherry, a former Governor of North Carolina.
Copies of congratulatory letters from Whitener to North Carolina mayors, city council members, and other elected officials.
Ballots by businessmen on various issues, such as the closed shops, government loans, and social security.
This series reflects the serious concern of Whitener and his constituents relating to textile imports and related issues such as foreign imports, cotton, the health of the textile industry, and tariffs. There is some material pertaining to legislation, especially for H.R. 6196, a bill designed to boost the cotton industry. There is some overlapping of similar topics among the various folders. The two major files in this series are Legislative Bills and Subject Files.
Miscellaneous papers concerning one-price and two-price cotton, etc. Included is alarge volume, dated September, 1962, which is a report to the President by the U.S. Tariff Commission on the topic of cotton products.
Pertains to an investigation and hearing before the U.S. Tariff Commission in late 1961 and 1962.
Conference, 1959-1960 and undated Concerns a proposed concurrent resolution on tariffs.
Material pertaining to Investigation No. 22-22 under Section 22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, as amended, concerning articles containing cotton.
Lists of textile companies, addresses, officers, and employees in North Carolina.
In this series is information concerning miscellaneous pieces of legislation generally not related to Whitener's Judiciary Committee and District of Columbia Committee work. Most of these bills were introduced by Whitener. There was little apparent order to the folders, so they were organized into two major files: Legislative Bills and Subject Files for Legislation, etc.
In this section are folders for various House of Representatives Bills, as well as for a few resolutions, and a Senate bill. This bill (S. 2658) related to vehicle weight and width limitations on the Interstate system. There are several folders pertaining to this bill, which are primarily constituent letters from May to July, 1968. Folders usually contain a copy of the bill, and often printed reports, correspondence, and other background information. Arrangement of the folders is by Congress and session, and by specific bill (H.R.) number; they run from the 89th Congress, 1st Session, 1965 to the 90th Congress, 2nd Session, 1968. A comprehensive listing of the title and number off each bill in this category is filed in folder one of the first box of the Legislative Bills files.
Included is a major section entitled, Gun Control Legislation, which comprises approximately one-half of this series.
The Majority of the material in the Gun Control Legislation section consists of letters from Whitener's constituents and from other persons interested in this legislation. Most of the North Carolina correspondence seems to be in opposition to such gun control bills as S.3604, S. 3605, and H.R. 17735, although the responses from non-North Carolina residents contained more mixed attitudes. Additionally there are letters from some government officials as well as printed material.
There are two major categories included in this series: the Military and Veterans Files, and Subject Files. The Military and Veterans Files span the 81st Congress, 2nd Session, 1950, through the 90th Congress, 2nd Session, 1968. Please note that in the Congressional office the military files and veterans files were kept separate through the 86th Congress, but that beginning with the 87th Congress, these files were combined. This arrangement has been retained. Also note that the early files, the 81st through the 84th Congresses, are the papers of Woodrow Wilson Jones, Whitener's predecessor in office. Congressman Jones was elected to the 81st Congress to fill a vacancy and was reelected to the 82nd, 83rd and 84th Congresses, thus serving from Nov. 7, 1950, to Jan. 3, 1957.
The Military and Veterans Files primarily consist of correspondence between Jones or Whitener and their constituents. Generally, all correspondence for persons whose last name begins with the same letter of the alphabet has been kept together under that letter. Occasional folders appear for single individuals. These files originally formed a large part of the office files of Jones and Whitener. The military records, for persons still on active duty or in the reserves, pertain to such matters as requests for transfers, reassignments, allotments, hardship discharges, deferments, and dependents to go overseas. Constituents also wrote concerning courts-martial, Officer Candidate School applications, AWOL soldiers, and efforts to locate a soldier. The veterans records include letters concerning dependency allowances, widow pension benefits, hospitalization benefits, insurance, disability claims, and appeals to the Board of Veterans Appeals. Since these papers are very routine, concerning individual benefits and requests, rather than being topical in nature, only a representative sample has been retained. The letter “C,” a large letter which includes a wide range of ethnic groups, was chosen for retention, as well as a few small subject folders.
Mimeographed letters from veterans, “urging [whitener] to use his influence in an effort to keep the subsistence pay of the Korean veterans, taking training under public law 550, the same throughout the training period.”
Printed letters to Congressman Olin E. Teague, Chairman of the committee, from various government officials, such as Joseph Campbell, Comptroller General of the United States. Included are several House bills.
Primarily mimeographed information about the Veterans Administration and VA hospitals, as well as; VA Information Service press releases, application forms, etc.
Concerns such matters as the interest rate for VA loans, site for a VA hospital, VA home mortgages, and Committee on Veterans' Affairs information. The “H” file contains Treasury and Post Office appropriation information.
In this series is general information about the U. S. military academies: the Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, Military Academy at West Point, and Naval Academy. Included are materials such as pamphlets describing the academies, guidelines for Congressmen in appointing candidates to vacancies, and information concerning entrance examinations. The majority of this series has been discarded because it consisted of individual application materials and academic records of Whitener's appointees. Representative items were grade transcripts, letters of recommendation, biographical data, medical records, and academy entrance examination results. The Buckley Amendment of 1967 to the Privacy Act prohibits the use of such materials without the individual's written consent.
Information pertaining to a sequence of journeys that Whitener took, primarily in his official capacity as a congressman, comprises this series. The trips, from 1959 to 1968, included travels within the United States, as well as to Europe, the Far East, and South Vietnam. Included are correspondence; fact sheets, illustrated brochures, and other information concerning countries visited; press kits; speeches Whitener made; briefing material; Whitener's personal notes; and printed material. There are a number of pictures taken on the Far East Trip, Captive Nations Week trip, and Vietnam trips.
A delegation of North Carolina businessmen, accompanied by Whitener and his Administrative Assistant, Herbert M. Lineberger, attended a commando demonstration et the Special Air Warfare Center (SAWC) at Eglin Air Force Base on October 8, 1963.
Tour of North Carolina business executives in June, 1964,to visit headquarters of SAC in Omaha, Nebraska; NORAD in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Proposed Air Force Systems Command tour by a party of North Carolina businessmen inOct., 1965.
Whitener escorted a group of about twenty-five young North Carolina businessmen on a visit to the Special Air Warfare Center (SAWC) at Eglin Air Force Base, to witness a demonstration of air power at MacDill Air Force Base, and to tour Cape Kennedy, on January 18-19, 1968.
Concerns a week of speeches and meetings sponsored by the Asian Peoples' Anti-Communist League, during July 16-22, 1967. The activities, which took place in Taipei, Taiwan, included the annual plenary meeting on July 20 of the China Chapter of the Asian Peoples' Anti-Communist League, at which Whitener delivered a lecture. Whitener was also the featured speaker at a mass rally on July 22. Included in the folders are such items as press releases, newspaper stories, correspondence, and pictures.
Whitener travelled to Europe, February 4-16, 1959, as a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate matters within the jurisdiction of the committee. His itinerary included stops in London, the Hague, Paris, and Berlin. Included are maps, itineraries, passport and travel information, and other tourist information concerning Europe. There is printed information about Parliament, a County Court Handbook (1959, London), and material relating to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). Also, Whitener wrote personal reports and memoranda concerning the trip.
Whitener evidently made this visit in March and April, 1961, as a member of the Immigration Subcommittee, Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives. The other members of the delegation were Arch A. Moore, Jr., Chairman and Representative from West Virginia, and William Crabtree, Committee Staff member. They made stops in Honolulu, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.
This journey was officially named the North Carolina Business Executives Trade Study Mission. The trip was from October 24 to November 8, 1965, and the itinerary included stops in Honolulu, Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Bankok, and Manila. Included are printed brochures and other information about the countries the group visited, such as briefing material, and press and visitors kits.
Whitener took an inspection trip to South-Vietnam and Southeast Asia, July, 1966. Stops were scheduled in Hawaii, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Taiwan. Included is much background material for the trip, such as fact sheets concerning Vietnamese commercial imports, economic assistance, and people. The Agency for International Development produced other briefing material on such topics as education, public safety, refugees, and agriculture. In addition, there is mimeographed information from the Library of Congress Legislative Reference Service on the Vietnamese War, the Soviet Union, and the Korean Conflict. Included are itineraries, maps, instructions, sightseeing information, and pamphlets concerning locations Whitener visited. There are some personal notes that he made while on the trip, as well as a copy of remarks he made in the House of Representatives on July 13, 1966, upon his return.
Whitener and Congressmen Charles E. Wiggins and James C. Corman, all went on this trip in their capacities as members of the House Committee on the Judiciary. The trip was from March 25 to April 2, 1967. Included in the folders are correspondence; material relating to the Uniform Code of Military Justice for Vietnam; as well as Whitener's personal notes, memoranda, and recommendations
The contents concern matters relating to local post offices in Whitener's district, such as the location, construction, and dedication of new post office buildings; renting of post office quarters; improving and enlarging postal facilities; and the closing of postal stations. Other issues discussed include personnel matters, such as filling job vacancies and requests for transfers; changes and extensions of routes; a postal pay increase bill; the Civil Service retirement law; and requests for investigations of problems at post offices. The majority of the material, which consists of correspondence, printed material, and forms, is arranged by county and then subdivided by towns. The files before Whitener took office in January, 1957, are those of Woodrow Wilson Jones, Whitener's predecessor in office.
A small series containing information about government grants, primarily federal, to North Carolina programs mostly in 1967. Included are press releases, correspondence, and telegrams Whitener sent announcing grants that had been approved.
In this series are invitations for such functions as conventions, meetings, festivals and celebrations, graduations, receptions,-dedications and openings, “special day” events, Democratic rallies, anniversary events, dinners, and dances. There also are some invitations for speaking engagements. With an invitation is often a reply or a note as to whether Whitener will accept or decline the invitation. The series illustrates many of the activities of a Congressman's life. The papers are organized in a strictly chronological arrangement.
This series contains information on a variety of topics. The subjects have been organized in alphabetical order with a small folder of miscellany at the end. A group of advertisements for office equipment was transferred to the Advertising Collection in the Rubenstein Library. The series contains two major files: Legislative Bills and Subject Files.
In the Legislative Bills section there are folders for various House of Representatives Bills, as well as for a Senate bill. Whitener introduced about one half of the House bills represented here. Folders usually contain a copy of the bill, and sometimes printed reports, correspondence, and other background information. Arrangement of the folders is by Congress and session, and by specific bill (H.R.) number. A comprehensive listing of the title and number of each bill in this category is filed in folder one of the first box of the Legislative Bills files.
Papers pertaining to an annual stag party given by Whitener, John Akers, and Robert Wren, which was attended by U. S. Congressmen, Senators, and others.
The folders are organized alphabetically by name of correspondent during the 85th Congress, 1st Session. This correspondence with constituents is general in nature concerning such topics as paroles, social security applications, invitations, meetings, foreign aid, bills in Congress, veterans pensions, and the farm program.
Folders of general correspondence, similar to that above, for the 85th Congress, 2nd Session.
Papers which seem to have been in active use by Whitener's office staff at the time he left office, such as his 1968 correspondence with constituents. In this series are some files that overlap with material in other series, including the Military Academy files and the Military and Veterans files. Three major categories in this series are the District of Columbia, the largest; the the Alphabetical files; and the Voter lists.
General correspondence on such topics as passport applications, legislation, Social Security disability claims, military and veterans concerns, etc.
Correspondence concerning meetings, hearings on various bills, and referral of bills to Subcommittee No. 4; printed and mimeographed material; and copies of House bills. Letters also refer to bills relative to optometry, bail bond law, establishment of a medical examiner, transportation, and minimum wage.
Correspondence, telegrams, and printed material, such as clippings and copies of House bills. The papers primarily relate to legislation for the District, relating to such matters as pay for teachers, police, and firemen; gifts to minors; crime and criminal procedure; reorganization of the local government; and a proposed Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact.
In 1965 Whitener introduced H.R. 5688, the Omnibus Crime Bill, and in 1967 he introduced H.R. 1436. Both of these bills related to crime and criminal procedure in the District of Columbia.
This section contains general information about the U.S. military academies. Much material was discarded because it consisted of individual application materials and academic records of the appointees of Whitener and his predecessor, Woodrow W. Jones. These items included correspondence, recommendations, medical records, grade transcripts, biographical data, and academy entrance examination results. The Buckley Amendment of1967to the Privacy Act prohibits the use of such materials without the individual's written consent.
This file generally consists of correspondence between Whitener and his constituents concerning such matters as requests for transfers and reassignments, allotments, hardship discharges, efforts to locate a soldier, hospitalization benefits, disability claims, and appeals to the Board of Veterans Appeals. Usually, all correspondence for persons whose last name begins with the same letter of the alphabet has been kept together under that letter. Since these papers are very routine, concerning individual benefits and requests, rather than being topical in nature, only a representative sample has been retained. The letter “C,” a large letter which includes a wide range of ethnic groups, was chosen for retention.
This folder primarily concerns the U.S. Army Reserve and the Army National Guard.
Lists of names and addresses of members of the1968graduating classes for various North Carolina high schools which Whitener requested by letter.
Lists include name, address, and political party affiliation.
Four computer-produced lists of names of voters in Gaston County, including their addresses and political party affiliations. The names are grouped by precinct numbers (1-44), which are keyed to a list of precincts at the front of each folder. This list also includes the names of the townships in which the precincts are located.
Information on various topics that seems to have been needed for frequent use by Whitener's office staff. The following groups of material were discarded: lists of names and addresses to which autographed photographs of Whitener were mailed, samples of printed Christmas cards and calendars, information concerning office equipment such as typewriters, and receipts for purchases of office supplies.
This is the largest section of the series and contains various lists, rosters, and directories, which note the names and addresses of such North Carolina organizations as the Licensed General Contractors, members of the Young Democratic Clubs and the Medical Society of the State of North Carolina, etc. There is some correspondence, consisting mostly of requests for lists.
Included are papers relating more directly to Whitener's private and unofficial affairs. The matters contained here range from such things as Whitener's admission to the District of Columbia Bar and his weekly radio program, to Whitener's apartment rental, bills and receipts, and family reunions.
These files were in disarray, and therefore have been organized into three major categories: Congresses, Subject Files, and General Files. In the first subdivision, Congresses, the papers are grouped by Congress, session, and then alphabetically within each session of Congress. This information was evidently kept together in this manner by Whitener's office. There is repetition in some categories in various Congresses, such as Correspondence (Alphabetical). The explanatory notes for such categories have been included in the inventory only with the earliest Congress in which the category appears. The category, Congresses, forms the bulk of the Personal Series.
In the Subject Files are topics such as the National Federation of Independent Business, which span several years. The General Files contain biographical information, financial papers, miscellany, clippings, printed material, and pictures.
The following types of items were discarded from the Personal Series:
- 1. Routine bills, receipts, and statements pertaining to the ordering of office supplies from the U.S. House of Representatives Stationery Room.
- 2. Many bills, receipts, and other personal financial papers.
- 3. Routine items from the voluminous "General" files. The remaining items were filed among various appropriate categories, such as correspondence, printed material, and finanical papers.
- 4. Certain medical records.
Concerns the rental arrangements for Whitener's Washington, D. C, apartment.
Letters are arranged alphabetically by the last name of correspondents. This file is representive of the Correspondence (Alphabetical) categories that are listed for subsequent congresses. Typical items are congratulations on various honors, expressions of sympathy upon deaths of family members, thank you letters, and invitations. Some of the correspondence is signed by Herbert Lineberger, secretary and later administrative assistant to Congressman Whitener. The1956letters that occur in this section were invitations, written in December, to a reception Whitener held in January,1957.
Letters pertaining to requests for contributions to charitable and political organizations, dues, life insurance premiums, etc. This file is representive of the items found in Correspondence (Financial) categories that are listed for subsequent congresses.
Consists of letters culled from a file entitled “General Papers,” and contains items similiar in nature to the Correspondence (Alphabetical). Whitener's office kept this general material in strict chronological order, rather than in alphabetical order by last name of correspondent. This file is typical in nature of the Correspondence (General) categories that are listed for subsequent congresses, and contains congratulations, references to Whitener's social security standing and military duty, mention of the inauguration, etc.
A large percentage of these items were discarded because they consisted of routine, personal bills and receipts.
Correspondence between Whitener and various members of Congress in which Whitener requested support in being appointed to the Judiciary Committee. Earl Chudoff won an election as judge in Pennsylvania; his departure from Congress left a vacancy on the Judiciary Committee.
Concerns Whitener's weekly radio broadcasts, including correspondence, news releases, memoranda, and a list of radio tapes made.
Numbered memoranda, dated Aug.-Dec., to Whitener from Herbert Lineberger at the Washington office detailing activities at the office.
Material relating to Whitener's notice of candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the1958primary for the office of Representative in Congress from the 11th Congressional District.
Contains such items as press releases concerning the topics of Whitener's weekly radio programs, schedules of when programs were to be aired, and some information about pay TV.
Pertains to Whitener's admission to the bar of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Contains letters in reference to the appearance of the band at the Cherry Blossom Festival in1960.
This meeting was an annual stag dinner given by John Akers, Robert Wren, and Whitener, which various Congressmen, state representatives, and businessmen attended.
Included are candidacy forms to file for re-election, notice of candidacy, and certificate of nomination.
Concerns an educational seminar for representatives of colleges in western North Carolina and public school officials from several counties.
Concerns a reception and dinner, given by Whitener and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wren for the members of the North Carolina Business Excutives Trade Study Mission and their wives.
Correspondence to John O. Brock in Shelby, N.C., written on behalf of Whitener and containing impressions of his service in Congress.
Primarily copies of letters of appreciation to Whitener from various persons. Both of the above folders of letters relate to a newspaper, Sentinel, that Brock planned to publish about Whitener's life.
Primarily clippings concerning the North Carolina campaign for the Representative to Congress from the 10th District, including primary vote returns.
Included are remarks by Broyhill in the Congressional Record and copies of his Washington Report.
Included are remarks by Broyhill in the Congressional Record and copies of his Washington Report.
Included are draft questions for an interview and background information on the Tenth Congressional District of North Carolina.
Primarily contains papers relating to Whitener's status as a major in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and to his two-week Active Duty for training tours, such as the one in 1964 in Taipei, Taiwan.
Included are clippings concerning elections and primaries. Oversize items have been placed in Box 307.
Survey of attitudes toward various topics, such as the national debt, the Common Market, labor unions, etc.
Included are such items as clippings and excerpts from the Congressional Record. The 1889 items are Xerox copies of material pertaining to Rutherford College in Burke County, North Carolina.
Morgan Whitener is the oldest son of the Congressman. These papers relate to such matters as Morgan's attendance at Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg and Duke University, and an automobile accident of the son in August, 1964, in Colorado.
All of the bank statements that came with this collection were retained as a sample of Whitener's activities and expenditures.
These are unidentified as to bank, but are probably for Whitener's personal account at Citizens National Bank in Gastonia.
Included are copies of Whitener's tax returns and other supporting documents relating to such matters as airline travel. The majority of the items are from 1963 to 1967.
These are vouchers of the House of Representatives for “reimbursement for official telephone service outside the District of Columbia . . . ,” and are for Whitener's district office in Gastonia.
|May 14, 1915||
Born in York County, South Carolina.
Graduated from Lowell High School.
Graduated from Rutherford Junior College.
|1933 - 1935||
Student at University of South Carolina.
Received LL. B. degree from Duke University.
Admitted to the North Carolina Bar and entered general practice in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Organizer and first President, Gastonia Junior Chamber of Commerce.
|1938 - 1940||
Instructor of business law at Belmont Abbey College.
|1940 - 1941||
Vice President, North Carolina Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives. Re-nominated in 1942, but resigned to enter the U. S. Navy.
|1941 - 1942||
President, North Carolina Junior Chamber of Commerce.
|Sept. 26, 1942||
Married Harriet Priscilla Morgan. Their children are John Morgan (1945), Laura Lee (1950), Basil Lee, Jr. (1952), and Barrett Simpson (1960).
|Oct. 5, 1942 - Nov. 6, 1945||
Served as gunnery officer in U. S. Navy during World War II, and was separated from service with the rank of Lieutenant USNR.
Member, North Carolina General Statutes Commission.
|1946 - 1956||
Solicitor of the 14th Solicitorial District.
|1946 - 1947||
President, Young Democratic Clubs of North Carolina.
|1947 - 1949||
Member of Commission to Study Improvement of Administration of Justice.
Delegate, Democratic National Convention.
|1948 - 1949||
Chairman, Speakers' Bureau, Young Democratic Clubs of America.
Permanent Chairman, Young Democratic National Convention.
|1949 - 1951||
Chairman of Advisory Committee of Young Democratic Clubs of America.
President of Gaston County Bar Association.
Chairman of the Board of Regional Directors of the Young Democratic Clubs of America.
|1957 - 1968||
Elected to the 85th - 87th Congresses as Representative for the Eleventh District of North Carolina, and to the 88th - 90th Congresses as Representative for the Tenth District of North Carolina.
|June 4, 1959||
Admitted to District of Columbia Bar.
Honorary LL. D. degree from Belmont Abbey College.
Delegate, Democratic National Convention.
Honorary LL. D. degree from Pfeiffer College.
Returned to the practice of law in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Commmittee on Veteran's Affairs (Jan. 3, 1957 - Jan. 16, 1958)
Committee on the District of Columbia (87th Congress, 1st Session, 1961 - 90th Congress, 2nd Session, 1968)
Special Subcommittee on Metropolitan Police Department, Chairman
Special Subcommittee to Study Revenue Procedures in the District of Columbia, Chairman
Special Subcommittee on Traffic, Streets, and Highways, Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary (86th Congress, 1st Session, 1959 - 90th Congress, 2nd Session, 1968)
Special Subcommittee on State Taxation of Interstate Commerce, Appointed in 1961
In addition, Whitener served on several special committees investigating such matters as interstate taxation, the Chinese refugee problem, the International Police organization, and the International Court of Justice.
- Civil rights -- United States
- Ervin, Sam J. (Sam James), 1896-1985
- Gun control -- United States
- Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
- Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968
- Legislators -- United States -- Records
- North Carolina -- Politics and government
- Social security -- Law and legislation -- United States
- Shriver, Sargent, 1915-
- Thurmond, Strom, 1902-2003
- United States -- Politics and government -- 20th century
- United States -- Foreign relations -- Law and legislation
- Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975
- Whitener, Basil Lee, 1915-
[Identification of item], Basil Lee Whitener Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The Whitener Papers were transferred from Belmont Abbey College in 1978.
Processed by: Sharon E. Knapp
Completed December 22, 1983
Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller