Sam J. Ervin Senate records, 1954-1974 (Subgroup A).

Creator: Ervin, Sam J. (Sam James), 1896-1985.
Collection number: 3847A
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Abstract: Samuel James Ervin was an eminent North Carolina lawyer, jurist, legislator, congressman, and United States Senator, 1954-1974. Ervin chaired the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (the Watergate Committee), 1973-1974. The Senate Records Subgroup covers Ervin’s twenty-year career in the United States Senate. Significant series include: Series I, Correspondence, consisting chiefly of letters exchanged by Ervin and his constituents, colleagues, dignitaries, and various federal officials. Recurring subjects include agriculture, the state and federal budgets, civil rights, commerce, education, foreign affairs, foreign aid, labor, railroads, social security, veterans, the Vietnam conflict, and the Watergate controversy; Series 2, Subject Files, containing printed materials, correspondence, and miscellaneous items on topics such as agriculture, crime, defense, education, energy, foreign relations, labor, the national economy, the North Carolina economy, taxes, textiles, and Watergate; and Series 4, Political Campaign Files, including correspondence, names of potential supporters, and financial records documenting Ervin’s successful senatorial campaigns. Other significant groups include: Series 8, audio discs and partial transcripts of Ervin’s weekly radio program; Series 13, Military Files (RESTRICTED), consisting primarily of correspondence regarding assistance with military matters, including letters from servicemen and their families concerning discharges, transfers of assignment, combat duty, and medical treatment of veterans; Series 14, Prisoners Files (RESTRICTED), consisting of correspondence with prisoners in North Carolina prisons and prisoners with North Carolina connections serving time in federal prisons, concerning parole, transfers, medical treatment, appeals, and prison conditions; and Series 15, containing audio-visual materials including films and video tapes of interviews conducted in conjunction with the PBS documentary, “Senator Sam.” Series 16 contains volumes of printed transcriptions of Congressional hearings and a few items relating to Ervin’s law and Senate careers.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Ervin opposed civil rights legislation for African Americans as a violation of the Constitution. Series 2 of his Senate files contains six boxes of materials pertaining to civil rights. In Series 1.13.2. (Legislative Correspondence Files, 1966), there are also numerous documents regarding Ervin’s work on the Judiciary Committee regarding Civil Rights.