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Oregon Rockefeller Campaign records

Identifier: Bx 121

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials related to the Oregon campaign of Nelson Rockefeller, a candidate in the 1964 presidential race. Rockefeller, who later went on to serve as Vice President under Gerald Ford from 1974-1977, campaigned as a member of the Republican Party. He won Oregon's primary in an upset, setting his campaign on an upward swing, before eventually losing the California primary and withdrawing from the race. The material in this collection was collected and kept by campaign chairman William E. Walsh. Included are executive committee memoriada, financial records, correspondence, itineraries, personnel records, campaign literature, and newspaper clippings. Major correspondents include: William Walsh, William Moshovsky, Clay Myers, Robert Ridgley, Edward Paul Mattar III, R. Mort Frayn, and George Hinman. The material primarily dates from January through May, 1964 and represents the inner workings of a political campaign.

The committee files contain information about the Republican National Convention, Rockefeller's visits to Oregon, local campaign literature originated by the committee, advertising records, letters to the committee for and against Rockefeller written by Oregonians, and general correspondence. Most of the correspondence contained within this collection are unique letters, rather than form letters, and include carbon copies of mail sent from Nelson Rockefeller and Edward Paul Mattar, National Youth Director. Anti-Rockefeller correspondence tends to focus on moral issues such as his divorce and subsequent re-marriage. Most of the correspondence represented in this collection is pro-Rockefeller and indicate a robust grass-roots organization to promote his campaign. After Rockefeller's withdrawl from the presidential campaign, many letters reflect upon the Goldwater nomination and disappointment in the Republican party.

Other records related to the committee include delegate lists, a copy of the National Convention keynote address, meeting minutes, and itineraries for travel including lists of attendees and planned events.

Financial records include reports and memos documenting the financial health and predicted financial needs of the campaign. These include financial projections, reports, statements of contributions and expenditures, ledgers representing accounts held at several national banks, expenses paid, receipts, invoices for freight charges, vouchers paid, contracts and insurance papers covering office space, invoices for office supplies, petty cash accounts for headquarters, and book sale records and receipts for donations. There is a small amount of campaign finance-related correspondence in this series.

The office records series mostly contains material related to office volunteers and campaign staff, often organized by Oregon county or region. Records include address and mailing lists, volunteer and clerical worker information, the office guest book, an inventory of literature, meeting records, and student club files.

Campaign literature includes press releases, statements and memos by the National Headquarters, surveys of Oregon voters, a Rockefeller research kit including statements and FAQ files, publicity and photographs, a committee guidebook and speaker's manual, analyses of speeches by William Scranton and Barry Goldwater, local and national publicity material, and published books about Rockefeller.

Also accounted for in this collection are newspaper clippings related to Rockefeller, his campaign, and his political platform. Included are clippings from GOP publications as well as Oregon newspapers. This series also contains letters written to the editors of various newspapers by campaign volunteers.


  • Creation: 1964 Jan-May

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

The Oregon Rockefeller Campaign Committee ran Nelson Rockefeller's Presidential primary campaign in Oregon in 1964.

Rockefeller, as the leader of the Republicans' "Eastern Establishment," began as the front-runner for the 1964 nomination against conservative Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who led the conservative wing of the Republican Party. In 1963, a year after Rockefeller's divorce from his first wife, he married Margaretta "Happy" Murphy, a divorcee with four children, which alienated many Republican married women. The divorce was widely condemned by politicians, such as liberal Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut, who condemned his infidelity, divorce, and remarriage. Rockefeller finished third in the New Hampshire primary in March, behind write-in Henry Cabot Lodge II (from neighboring Massachusetts) and Goldwater. He then endured poor showings in several more of the party primaries before winning an upset in Oregon in May. Rockefeller took a strong lead in the California primary, and his team seemed so assured of his victory that it cut advertising funds in the last days of his campaign. However, the birth of Rockefeller's child three days before the California primary put the divorce and remarriage issue back in the minds of voters, and on primary election day, Rockefeller narrowly lost the California primary and dropped out of the race.

The chairman of the committee was former state senator and state Senate president, William E. Walsh.


10.5 linear feet (7 containers) : 6 record storage boxes, 1 flat box

Language of Materials



The Oregon Rockefeller Campaign Committee, chaired by William E. Walsh, ran Nelson Rockefeller's Presidential primary campaign in Oregon in 1964. The collection contains executive committee memoranda, committee minutes and reports, financial reports, accounting files and ledgers, correspondence, office files, volunteer and supporter records, visit and itinerary materials, campaign literature, and newspaper clippings.


Collection is organized into the following series:

Series 1: Committee Files 1.1 Executive Committee memos and reports 1.2 Correspondence 1.3 Staff and volunteers 1.4 Rockefeller visits 1.5 General office files

Series 2: Campaign Finances

Series 3: Office Records

Series 4: Campaign Literature

Series 5: Newspaper Clippings

Related Materials

Other collections relating to William E. Walsh and other Oregon political campaigns at Special Collections and University Archives include: William E. Walsh papers, Ax 494.

Processing Information

Initial processing was completed by staff in 1968. Processing was completed by Mahala Ruddell in April 2023.

Guide to the Oregon Rockefeller Campaign Committee Records
Complete Description
Tanya Parlet.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA