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William C. Mullendore papers

Identifier: Coll 125

Scope and Contents

The Mullendore Papers consist largely of nearly 2,000 letters covering the years 1945-1968. Lengthy dialogues are maintained with conservative theoreticians, economists, authors, publishers, and political leaders, including Lawrence Lockley, William F. Buckley Jr., James W. Clise, Ayn Rand, James Gipson, and Leonard Read. Other notable correspondents include V. Orval Watts, E. F. Hutton, William Coberly, W. A. Patton, Gerald Heard, Henry Regnery, and Whittaker Chambers. Organizations and committees are also included, notably the Foundation for Economic Education.

Also included is a "State of the Nation" file, so named by Mullendore, containing memoranda, speeches, letters, and publications relating to cardinal keynote issues such as postwar planning, inflation, and notes from conferences he attended. Addresses and articles in manuscript and printed form comprise the next series, and cover the period 1930-1960. Written reactions to specific speeches form a separate file. Memoranda and papers relating to Southern California Edison, dividend bulletins, and open letters to stockholders, complete the collection.


  • Creation: 1930-1968


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

William Clinton Mullendore was born in Howard, Kansas, May 18, 1892. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1914, and completed a Doctor of Law there in 1916. He was admitted to the Kansas bar in 1916 and began general law practice in Winfield, Kansas 1916-1917.

During World War I, Mullendore served as a flying cadet in 1918 under the administration of Woodrow Wilson. In 1920 he spent time in London and Berlin as a special representative of the American Relief Administration. He was recalled to the United States by Herbert Hoover where, as a principal member of the U.S. Food Administration, he coordinated the purchasing and distribution of over $5 billion (nearly 34 metric tons) of American-produced food to western and eastern European allies, and to Russia. Mullendore wrote the official history and detailed the intricate documentation of this reconstructive period in a book, The History of the U.S. Food Administration, published in 1921.

In 1921 he also returned to his law practice in Winfield, Kansas, marrying Esther Andrews in 1922. He was asked to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce to Herbert Hoover in Washington, D.C., 1922-1923. Between 1923 and 1928 Mullendore established a general law practice in Los Angeles, California. He became special counsel to Southern California Edison Company in 1925 and served as the company's general attorney in 1929. He continued to move up in the company, serving as vice-president in 1930, executive vice-president 1931-1945, president 1945-1954, and chairman of the board, 1954-1959.

Throughout his years with Southern California Edison, Mullendore was quite active in a number of other clubs and organizations. He held positions as director of the California Bar Association, trustee of Scripps College, director of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The idea for a Western States Chamber of Commerce Conference emerged from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Convening in Stanford, California, delegates resolved to create a united front among business leadership, and formed the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in 1946. In order to broaden their base of financial support and publicize concrete goals, the FEE published Notes. from the FEE, a newsletter, and distributed pamphlets. Prominent businessmen such as Henry Ford II, Charles Kettering, R. R. Williams, and William Scripps were contacted as supporters. Mullendore was elected a trustee of the Foundation, and during the succeeding decade corresponded at length with its members, notably Leonard Read, Chairman.

In ensuing years Mullendore was consulted about a variety of business matters other than those dealing directly with the FEE. These included the advisability of beginning a new conservative publishing house and the distribution of various other foundation funds. Mullendore was asked to review manuscripts, textbooks, and to critique speeches, which he did in exacting detail. In the 1950's and 1960's Mullendore accepted numerous speaking engagements to espouse his interests in establishing a national fiscal policy to curb inflation, strengthening free choice, and reducing government control. Further biographical information is not available.


7.5 linear feet (5 containers)

Language of Materials



William C. Mullendore was president, board chairman of Southern California Edison Company and active in conservative movements, especially the Foundation for Economic Education. Collection consists largely of correspondence, but also includes his "State of the Nation" subject file, addresses, articles, and records of Southern California Edison.


Collection is organized into the following series: Series I. CorrespondenceSeries II. State of the Nation fileSeries III. Manuscripts, publications, and associated material

Other Finding Aids

See the Collective Name Index to the Research Collection of Conservative and Libertarian Studies for a cross-referenced index to names of correspondents in this collection, if any, and 37 related University of Oregon collections, including dates of correspondence. See index instructions on use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William C. Mullendore, 1971

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the William C. Mullendore Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by processing staff
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

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

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA