2 Replies Latest reply on Jun 25, 2020 11:07 AM by Legislative Archives

    Senators involved in Fair Housing Act 1937


      I'm searching for any resources documenting the lives of the senators who supported Fair Housing Act 1937. My attention is on Senator Ellender of LA, but any others will do. Also want to learn more about beginnings of Housing and Urban Development.

        • Re: Senators involved in Fair Housing Act 1937
          LOC Manuscript Division Tracker

          Thanks for your History Hub question.


          The Library of Congress Manuscript Division holds the papers of over 900 members of Congress, dating back to the Continental Congress convened in 1774.  Many of these collections are described in Members of Congress: A Checklist of Their Papers in the Manuscript Division, compiled by John J. McDonough, and published by the Library of Congress in Washington in 1980.  An electronic copy is available through the HathiTrust website.  The Checklist does not contain any reference to Allen Joseph Ellender, but you may wish to check it for other names associated with the Fair Housing Act 1937.


          Each collection in the Manuscript Division is briefly described in the Library’s Online Catalog.  Several of the search options in the catalog allow you to limit your search to the holdings of the Manuscript Division only (see the “location” option in the “limit” window).  A search of the General Collections for Allen Ellender yielded a number of published works and photographs, but no collections of personal papers.  When conducting a search of the Library’s General Collections, you can sort manuscript collections to the top of a list by using the "Sort by" feature, and selecting "Date (oldest to newest)."


          A keyword search of the catalog for the authority term “United States. United States housing act of 1937" will yield over 20 titles, but no manuscript collections.


          The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress provides brief biographies of members, a list of “Research Collections” for the study of their lives and careers, and an “Extended Bibliography” of published works about them.  The Directory is not maintained by the Library of Congress, but rather by historical offices in the U.S. Congress.  The Directory lists a number of collections of papers and published titles related to Allen Ellender.  If the Biographical Directory does not list a location for a senator’s papers, there may still be small collections in held by colleges they attended, or by historical societies in their states.


          Please use these resources to search for the papers of other senators associated with the Housing Act of 1937.  If the Manuscript Division holds any of them, please contact our reference staff for further assistance.


          Best wishes,


          Reference Staff/BK

          Manuscript Division

          Library of Congress

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          • Re: Senators involved in Fair Housing Act 1937
            Legislative Archives Scout

            Hi Paul -- thanks for posting to History Hub!


            For information on the lives of individual Senators, I'd recommend personal paper collections -- we recently published a blog post on the topic. It looks like the majority of Senator Ellender's papers are held by Nicholls University.


            The United States Housing Act of 1937 (sometimes called the Wagner-Steagall Act) was introduced as S. 1685 by Senator Wagner on Feb. 24, 1937. The Senator requested that the text of the bill and an explanatory statement be printed in the Congressional Record -- jump to page 1521. The bill was signed into law as PL 75-412 on Sept. 1, 1937.


            The Congressional Record is the official record of proceedings and debate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. It's freely available online via GovInfo. To find the debate on S. 1685, start with the History of Bills and Resolutions section for Volume 81 of the Congressional Record (1937). Jump to page 647 for the entry on S. 1685 -- here you'll find all the page numbers relevant to the bill throughout Volume 81.


            The Wagner-Steagall Act created the United States Housing Authority. Records relating to the US Housing Authority are part of Record Group 196 -- Records of the Public Housing Administration. For more information on RG 196 you can either search the National Archives Catalog or contact an archivist by emailing archives2reference@nara.gov.


            I'd also recommend the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library website. They put together an acknowledgement of the 75th anniversary of the Wagner-Steagall Act.




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