Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Ralph Owen Brewster Papers

Ralph Owen Brewster Papers, 1909-1962, n.d.

 



Early years, 1909-24
2.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.1

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Series Description:
Contains letters and some office files from Brewster's Portland law practice, Chapman and Brewster, from which he initiated his political career. He became a member of the Maine legislature in 1916 and 1918, and of the Maine Senate in 1922. Some files in this group concern legislative initiatives regarding old-age pensions. Other files are personal. Records date from 1916-24. The bulk of these files were removed by earlier retainers of the collection. Contains a group of personal letters from 1909-10.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically.
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Early years : letters, 1909-11
0.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.1.1

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Series Description:
Contains a group of personal letters from friends, many from Bowdoin College, and relatives. Subjects include religion, personal relationships and some political thought. Contains the only concentration of personal material in the collection.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by last name of author.
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Early years : general files, 1916-24
2 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.1.2

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Series Description:
This series contains an incomplete set of files from this phase (1916-24) of Brewster's career. It contains correspondence and some office files from Brewster's Portland law practice, Chapman and Brewster. Some files, from Brewster's service in the Maine State Legislature, regard legislative initiatives on old-age pensions. Other files are personal.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically.
General Note:
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Governor's papers, 1924-29
46 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.2

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Series Description:
This group of files constitutes the bulk of the material created during Brewster's gubernatorial career (1924-29). The governor's office kept files under several different headings: general files for daily office use, political appointment files, publicity files, and campaign and primary files. These were continually updated and interfiled during the five years that Brewster spent campaigning for and serving as governor. He collected and used various types of reference materials: statistics, reports, listings, background reading material, newspaper clippings and other resources.

This material represents Brewster's efforts to support and increase the economic prosperity of Maine. The Interstate Commerce Commission and Maine State Highway Commission cooperated to achieve major trade and industry developments during this time. The Maine State Prison system, fish and game agencies, and the state shipping industry also benefitted from Governor Brewster's efforts. In addition, he was an active participant and organizer in the yearly governor's conferences, which spotlighted both Governor Brewster and the state.

Occasional references to the Ku Klux Klan are present in early correspondence. Although there was no direct evidence, common sentiment existed that Brewster was a member. An early letter from Percival Baxter, the previous governor, acknowledges this sentiment and urges Brewster to distance himself from the organization.
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Governor's papers : general files, 1924-29, [A-Gov]
7 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.2.1

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Series Description:
This group of general office files constitutes the bulk of the information used day-to-day during the governor's administration; the same group was updated and interfiled during the four years spanning two terms (1924-28). Major themes of the administration include work of the Maine State Highway Commission (including dedication of the Piscataqua Memorial Bridge), Interstate Commerce Commission, work with the Maine State Prison (about which he requested a hearing in 1928 to investigate suspected improprieties), fish and game agencies, Maine shipping industry, and Brewster's participation in national Governor's conferences.

One well publicized event of the administration was the return of Confederate Civil War flags to the southern states from which they were captured.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by subject.
General Note:An original list of files exists at the beginning of the general files series.
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Governor's papers : political appointment files, 1924-29
3.25 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.2.2

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Series Description:
These files (1924-29) document the appointment process: notices of appointment, resumes and letters of application, letters of recommendation, and letters of agreement and disagreement with appointees.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by position or by personal name.
General Note:
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Governor's papers : publicity files, 1924-29
3.75 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.2.3

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Series Description:
These files (1924-29) contain promotional material from and correspondence with organizations, industries, publicity firms, and selected contacts within the state of Maine. Records of special events, statistics and many pamphlets and samples of advertising brochures of the era are also included.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by name or subject.
General Note:
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Governor's papers : campaign and primary files, 1924-29, [chronological files, 1924-28]
4.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.2.4

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Series Description:
These files pertain to Brewster's election and primary campaigns from 1924 until 1928. They contain correspondence from 1924-1929, lists and working files arranged in two ways: first a group of chronological subject files, then a large group of correspondence arranged by name of town in which correspondent lived. Correspondents were campaign contacts, workers and organizers in most Maine towns, as well as contacts in other states, whose utility was no doubt vital during Brewster's campaigns for national office starting in the early 1930's. The attention to detail and personal contact is a mark of his administration's superior organizational skills.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
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Governor's papers : general pamphlets, 1924-28
2 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.2.5

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Series Description:
Contains one box of pamphlets dated from 1924 to 1928 used as reference material by the Governor's office. They relate to local and state organizations, and industries and their products.
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Governor's papers : correspondence, not in folders, 1924-28
7 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.2.6

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Series Description:
Contains boxes of correspondence (1924-28) not in folders. Some is identifiable as campaign correspondence. Possibly, Brewster's office intended to discard them.
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General Note:No container list available.
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Private practice, 1929-34
5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.3

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Series Description:
Correspondence, clippings, pamphlets, reports, voter lists, speeches, and other records relating to Brewster's life when he was out of office and living in Dexter, Maine, between 1929 and 1934. Some of the material relates to his legal practice, to temperance issues, and to his special interests in water power, fisheries and agriculture. Most concern his campaigns for Congress, especially the 1932 contested senatorial election against John G. Utterback. Undated material is filed at the beginning of the series.
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Private practice : subject files, 1929-34
1 linear foot.
Catalog Number: M200.3.1

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Series Description:
Containing letters, campaign records, clippings, and case records, these files concern political issues, especially the 1932 senatorial race against John G. Utterback, which was settled in Utterback's favor in 1933. There are also references to life in Dexter and to Brewster's law practice. Several files concern issues carried over from his gubernatorial term, including temperance, water power and fisheries, and therefore contain items from as early as 1926.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically, then alphabetically.
General Note:
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Private practice : records, unorganized, 1929-34
3 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.3.2

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Series Description:
These unarranged letters, speeches, receipts and other records complement the subject files, centering on Brewster's political interests, but also briefly covering his law practice and personal finances. This miscellaneous material includes a few items that date from 1923, during his gubernatorial term, to 1939, when he served in the House, which is related to other material in the series.
Arrangement:Unarranged.
General Note:Records boxed in rough chronological order.
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Private practice : pamphlets, reports, 1929-34
1 linear foot.
Catalog Number: M200.3.3

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Series Description:
Pamphlets, serials, and newsletters of political interest to Brewster, from 1928 to 1934. They include articles on political issues, Maine Republican rosters and campaign text books, several pamphlets on the 1932 disputed election against John G. Utterback, and a few tourism brochures.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
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U.S. House of Representatives, 1935-41
6.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.4

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Series Description:
Records include subject files, reports, speeches, letters and other records of political events and legislative business, 1935-40; many of the files from this period were transferred to his U. S. Senate office in 1941 (series M200.5). These files relate mostly to the committees on which he served; they cover industries such as agriculture and fisheries, issues such as public utilities and old age pensions, and pre-World War II subjects such as naval affairs and anti-Japanese propaganda. Also included are records of the campaigns of 1936, 1938 and 1940. Undated material from any series is filed at the beginning of that series.
Arrangement:
General Note:Brewster served on the House committees on the District of Columbia, Invalid Pensions, Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Insular Affairs, Naval Affairs, and Agriculture.
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U.S. House of Representatives : subject files, 1935-41
3 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.4.1

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Series Description:
Subject files consisting of letters, speeches, pamphlets, clippings and campaign records (including a few items relating to the 1934 campaign) kept by Brewster during his term in the House of Representatives. Information on the campaigns of 1936, 1938, and 1940 is accompanied by files on old age pensions and social security, agriculture and fisheries, the Passamaquoddy power project and public utilities issues, and pending legislation.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically, then alphabetically.
General Note:
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U.S. House of Representatives : records, unorganized, 1935-41
2 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.4.2

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Series Description:
Remnants from a group of files, most of which were discarded. Contains letters, reports, pamphlets, speeches and other mixed records from Brewster's House of Representatives tenure. The records cover old age pensions, agricultural and fisheries issues, national defense and naval affairs, and the elections of 1936, 1938 and 1940. This miscellaneous material includes a few items from 1925-33 that are related to other records in the series.
Arrangement:Unarranged.
General Note:Material is boxed in rough chronological order.
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U.S. House of Representatives : pamphlets and reports, 1935-41
1.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.4.3

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Series Description:
Contains congressional reports and bills, pamphlets, and journals of political interest to Brewster, 1934-40. They include information on public utilities and rural power, old age pensions, anti-Democratic Party topics, and, in anticipation of World War II, on Japanese agression and Jewish issues.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
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U.S. Senate, 1941-53
52.75 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5

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Series Description:
Records include subject and personal files, correspondence with veterans and others, political and campaign information, reports, speeches, newspaper and magazine articles, copies of Senate reports and hearings, photographs, and other records of events. The preponderance of files reflect the later part of Brewster's service, 1945-52, indicating that his office updated files regularly. Some earlier files do exist (1941-43), including many records concerning the 1943 investigating trip made by members of the Senate Committee to Investigate the Armed Forces. Other subject files relate mostly to important committee work. The most notable events of the time involved World War II and its economic, political, and social effects. Worldwide petroleum deposits were carefully studied, with special consideration given to foreign relations with countries where the deposits were located. Brewster's participation in the Truman Committee and its investigation of the armed services was perhaps his biggest contribution. Brewster maintained a strong relationship with President Harry Truman, despite their different political views.

After the war, Brewster initiated an investigation of wartime contracts awarded to the Hughes Aircraft Company. His investigation of Howard Hughes' activities did not result in legal action.

Restructuring of the political landscape was under way: the Republican Party recovered from its losses during the depression, and redefined itself as the watchdog against Socialism and Communism. Brewster supported the candidacy of Richard Nixon and made several speeches on his behalf; he later came under investigation for a camouflaged donation of $5,000 to Nixon's senate campaign in 1950. Brewster was allied with Senator Joseph McCarthy, who later (in 1954) nominated Brewster as the counsel to the Senate Government Operations Committee (more information in The Post-Senate Years series).

This series also contains a strong representation of work on important initiatives for the State of Maine: the Passamaquoddy Tidal Power Project (subject of a personal letter from President Harry Truman); oversight of the development of the potato industry, and of the Port of Portland as a major international port.
Arrangement:
General Note:Brewster served on the following committees between 1941 and 1952 (date of first year of service shown):

  • Claims (1941)
  • Commerce (1941)
  • Library (1941)
  • Naval Affairs (1941)
  • Public Buildings and Grounds (1941)
  • Special Committee to Investigate Contracts Under the National Defense Program (1941)
  • Territories and Insular Affairs (1943)
  • Finance (1944)
  • Special Committee to Investigate Petroleum Resources (1944)
  • Interstate and Foreign Commerce (1947)
  • (Chairman) Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program (1947)
  • Foreign Relations (1952)

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U.S. Senate : subject files, 1941-52
6.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5.1

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Series Description:
Contains Senate office subject files spanning the whole of Brewster's Senate career, from 1941-52. Files concern contemporary legislative issues and investigations, people, and committee operations: the Brewster Committee, the Mead Committee, the Truman Committee, and the Committee to Investigate the Bombing of Pearl Harbor. Many War Office and other government photographs relating to these activities (notably the Truman Committee and the Pearl Harbor investigation) can be found in the series: Photographs, 1916-60. Some speeches are filed in this series, under the heading 'speeches'.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by heading, then by subheading, then chronologically.
General Note:Brewster's office grouped some files under a coded or named heading (e.g. "M102" indicated Maine-related files). Where these codes or larger headings are found, material is titled with the code or heading (e.g. "Government papers") and filed in the alphabetical placement of that heading. Therefore, M102-headed files can be found at the beginning of the M section. Files regarding a subject like the Port of Portland will be found in the M102 section under the P's. These groups are then alphabetized by the subheadings, then filed chronologically under subheadings.
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U.S. Senate : veterans' correspondence, 1946-48
1.5 linear foot.
Catalog Number: M200.5.2

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Series Description:
Contains files of post-war correspondence with veterans. This group of files represents the early postwar era, from 1946-48. They are mostly requests for Senator Brewster's help in military, medical, pension, and life insurance matters; they involve communication with different branches of the armed services.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically.
General Note:Closed for 75 years from date of creation.
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U.S. Senate : veterans' claims files, 1949-52
1.25 linear foot.
Catalog Number: M200.5.3

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Series Description:
Files represent continued claims several years after the end of World War II, 1949-52. May contain some from the conflict in Korea. Includes correspondence on specific claims with notation of armed forces code for each case. Claims were often made for disability benefits caused by injuries, illness or "nervous disorders".
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by last name.
General Note:Closed for 75 years from date of creation.
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U.S. Senate : foreign affairs correspondence and reports, 1951-52
2.75 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5.4

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Series Description:
Correspondence relating to the development of postwar foreign affairs, relations and policies, 1951-52. Includes material on the Senate Joint Committee Regarding the Dismissal of General MacArthur. This material had a bearing on the U.S. relationship with Korea and China. Brewster was commended by many for the perspicacious investigation of the affair and comprehensive report. Files bear the code "F9".
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by name of country or subheading.
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U.S. Senate : political correspondence and records, 1948-52
3.75 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5.5

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Series Description:
Contains correspondence on specific matters of political consequence, outside of the daily business of the U.S. Senate, during the later years of Brewster's career, 1948-52. Discussions of political agendas, initiatives, laws, and the general state of the Republican Party. Correspondence with various Republican committees.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically.
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U.S. Senate : Robert A. Taft, political activities, 1951-52
.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5.6

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Series Description:
Contains records kept separately by Brewster's office, but only from 1951-52. Taft was a close political ally and the careers of the two were connected on many major issues. Taft and Brewster survived uninjured the crash of a small plane on the frozen Kennebec River in Maine on their way to an appearance in 1950.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically.
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U.S. Senate : Young Republicans, 1951-52
.75 linear foot.
Catalog Number: M200.5.7

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Series Description:
Records and correspondence concerning activities of the various branches of the Young Republicans Clubs of Maine from 1951-52. They held meetings, sponsored activities, and were warmly supported by Brewster and his son Charles. Their charter purpose was "to promote and further the interests of the Republican Party; and to assist the younger members of the Republican Party to obtain recognition in party councils"*.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically.
General Note:* From the constitution of the Bangor-Brewer Young Republican Club, charter adopted in 1936.
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U.S. Senate : campaign files, 1946-52
3 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5.8

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Series Description:
Contains office files relating to various aspects of the campaign process covering the period from 1946-52. Documents such as primary nomination papers, sample ballots, voting lists, reports, form letters for mass mailings and correspondence with campaign aides. Some political discussion included.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically.
General Note:
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U.S. Senate : Ralph Owen Brewster files, 1948-50
.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5.9

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Series Description:
Files contain correspondence with Brewster on issues relating specifically to him, or about matters which he personally wished to resolve from 1948-50. Also includes drafts of his political agendas from this period, and early versions of some speeches. No material in this series is of the most personal nature.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by subheading.
General Note:
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U.S. Senate : personal files, 1951-52
1 linear foot.
Catalog Number: M200.5.10

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Series Description:
Correspondence of a personal nature, or special requests to Brewster, from 1951-52, which were current as he ended his Senate career. Some clippings included.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by subheading.
General Note:
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U.S. Senate : speeches, 1941-52,
4.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5.11

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Series Description:
Contains copies of speeches and broadcasts on local, state and national topics, ranging from 1941-52. Files have been arranged by subject of speech, or by title of speech, then by location given or organization. Brewster frequently spoke on the following topics: the potato industry, communism, world peace, the Middle East, the economy, taxation, social security, and current affairs.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically then chronologically.
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U.S. Senate : unpublished proceedings, transcripts and statements from congressional hearings, 1941-52
6.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5.12

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Series Description:
Unpublished stenographic transcripts of congressional hearings, 1941-52; also, unpublished government and private reports created for hearings or investigations.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically, then alphabetically.
General Note:
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U.S. Senate : official Government Printing Office bills, hearings and reports 1941-52
3.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5.13

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Series Description:
Contains official Government Printing Office publications of Congressional bills, hearings and reports, 1941-52, which relate to Senate committee (list of committees) activities or proposed legislation.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
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U.S. Senate : general pamphlets and posters, 1941-1952, n.d.
.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.5.14

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Series Description:
Pamphlets, posters, and general background information kept for reference by Brewster's Senate office, 1941-1952.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by material type, then chronologically.
General Note:
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Post-Senate years, 1953-62
12.75 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.6

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Series Description:
Brewster maintained an active participation in many committees and programs after his primary defeat for the Senate seat in 1952. Records in this group, which reflect a return of focus to problems and growth issues in the State of Maine, still indicate a keen interest in national affairs and Republican Party politics. Brewster maintained close contact with his Washington colleagues and sought to serve in non-elective capacities. In 1953 he was appointed to serve on the International Joint Commission on the U.S. and Canada. He was nominated to serve as legal counsel to the Senate Government Operations Committee by Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954, but his nomination was unanimously opposed by Democrats serving on the committee, among whom was Senator John F. Kennedy. Brewster later brought a libel lawsuit against the Herald Traveler Corp., alleging that an article published by the Boston Herald Traveler in 1954, labelling Brewster as a "wiretapper", damaged his reputation and caused the committee to scuttle the nomination. Senator Kennedy testified at the court hearing of the case that he was not influenced by the article.
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Post-Senate years : general files, 1953-62 [Acheson, Dean - Lemus, Riemzi B. (Race Problem)]
6 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.6.1

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Series Description:
Contains correspondence, clippings, reports, speeches, notes, and other records from 1949 through 1962, relating to the issues that interested Brewster after he left the Senate. His continued interest in national affairs is reflected in files concerning: transportation industries such as railroads and aviation, Republican politics (especially the election of 1960), communism (including McCarthy and the House investigation, the admission of China to the United Nations and labor unions), economics and the federal economy, and national defense. A renewed concentration on Maine can be seen in files on the state's government, economic development, and politics. There are also major files on Americans for Constitutional Action, Bowdoin College, the town of Dexter, the "Negro Vote", federal committees and commissions on which he had hoped to serve, and relating to major figures such as Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Joseph McCarthy, Margaret Chase Smith and Douglas MacArthur.
Arrangement:Arranged alphabetically by subject.
General Note:
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Post-Senate years : records, unorganized, 1953-61
.75 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.6.2

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Series Description:
This material, not in folders, consists of Senate bills and reports, pamphlets, newsletters, speeches and a few letters, supplementing the subject files. They cover topics such as transportation and politics.
Arrangement:Unarranged.
General Note:No container list available.
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Post-Senate years : general pamphlets and reports, 1953-62
4.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.6.3

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Series Description:
Pamphlets, reports, newsletters and other publications, acquired by Brewster for reference purposes. They include Maine tourist brochures and government publications; corporate and educational annual reports; anti-communist and segregationalist journals and pamphlets; Republican Party propaganda and campaign flyers for candidates for national office, most of the latter from 1960; and other pro-American publications. Several items from earlier years (as well as a few added after his death) are also included.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
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Post-Senate years : U.S. government pamphlets and reports, 1953-62
1.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.6.4

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Series Description:
Congressional reports and bills, federal department publications, and presidential reports and addresses, 1938-63, acquired by Brewster for reference purposes. They include information on post-World War II foreign aid and relations; national security, including communist infiltration, the Soviet Union and Cuba; small businesses; and federal budget and expenditures. Several items from earlier years, concerning issues in which he had a continuing interest, are also included.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
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Photographs, 1923-1953, n.d.
6 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.7

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Series Description:
Official photographs dealing with political subjects from early in Brewster's gubernatorial career (1926) to the end of his Senate terms (1952). Particularly well-documented events are the 1943 investigative trip to examine U.S. military bases around the world; and the investigation of the Pearl Harbor bombing. Personal and family photographs form a part of the Brewster Biographical Collection.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
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Newspaper Clippings, 1924-1962
19 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.8

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Series Description:
Contains clippings covering Brewster's entire career: events, controversies, legislation, and political activities. Includes copies of mastheads where entire issues were reserved. Brewster retained newspaper clipping services throughout his career.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically by year.
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Memorabilia, 1922-1961, n.d.
5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.9

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Series Description:
Travel diary, scrapbooks, certificates, political cartoons, and ephemera relating to Brewster and his political career. The diary records a global tour made in 1943; the scrapbooks are both political and personal, and relate to Brewster, his career or his family. Ephemera includes political campaign bumper stickers, buttons, and souvenirs; promotional posters; and engraving plates with Brewster's picture.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
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Memorabilia : Diaries and Scrapbooks, 1922-1961
2 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.9.1

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Series Description:
Travel diary recording a global tour that included Europe, the Near East, South Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific, from July-September, 1943. Scrapbooks, political and personal, relating to Brewster, his career or his family; containing clippings, photographs, invitations and letters. Most are divided by the offices in which he served, i.e. Maine senate (1922-24) and governor (1924-28), U.S. House (1935-39) and Senate (1942-49). Several relate to Senate trips to World War II theaters of operation; others, possibly kept by Mrs. Brewster, concern Washington social life (1935-39), or the family, especially the legal career of Charles F. Brewster (1947-61).
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
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Memorabilia : Certificates, Ephemera, and Political Cartoons, 1922-1951, n.d.
3 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.9.2

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Series Description:
Certificates, political cartoons, and ephemera, including bumper stickers, buttons, and posters. Also included are some engraving plates with Brewster's picture.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
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Recordings, 1943-1947, n.d.
2 linear feet.
Catalog Number: M200.10

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Series Description:
Audio recordings of speeches made by Ralph Owen Brewster between 1943 and 1947 and recorded on long playing records (12 inch and 15 inch). These recordings are also available on CD.
Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions:No restrictions.


 
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
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