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Tonie Nathan papers

Identifier: Coll 328

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the personal and professional papers of Tonie Nathan. This collection also includes material from the national and local Libertarian parties. As a Libertarian Party member, Libertarian Party candidate, and in her role in media relations for the party, Nathan created, was sent, or gathered Libertarian Party material.

The overall series structure below matches how Nathan kept her papers: her personal and education material was separate from her professional papers; correspondence was grouped by dates or by person, and campaign correspondence was grouped together with other campaign material; National Libertarian Party materials were kept together, and affiliate parties and groups were kept largely separate from the National material and usually filed alphabetically by state or candidate; and a very large amount of the publications were filed separately from organizational subject files.

The subject files are a mix of Nathan's own alphabetical files, which do include similar material to the affiliate groups and candidates, and additional folders of organizations or subjects (such as taxes) that didn't fit anywhere else. Audio and video, and photographs were also kept separate from other records; however, much of the audio/video and pictures are of Libertarian Party meetings, conventions, and candidates, including Tonie Nathan.

Common acronyms in the list include Libertarian Party (LP), Oregon Libertarian Party (OLP), Libertarian Party of Oregon (LPO) which is the same organization as OLP, and the Association of Libertarian Feminists (ALF).

The collection is organized into the following series:

Series I: Personal contains Tonie Nathan's personal papers spanning from 1930 to 2010. Material includes calendars and appointment books, primary and college class papers and notebooks, job information including material from Nathan's TV and radio shows, her public relations firm, and workshops, and financial records.

Series II: Correspondence contains incoming and outgoing personal and professional correspondence. Part of the correspondence is organized alphabetically by last name or title of organization. There is also a section of incoming correspondence organized by date, from 1960 to 2011, and an outgoing section also organized by date, from 1968 to 2009. Correspondents include Libertarian Party members, and libertarian organizations.

Although there is a separate series for Nathan's political campaigns (Series IV) which contains the bulk of her campaign correspondence, there will be letters regarding her campaigns for office found in this series, usually corresponding to the dates of her campaigns.

Series III: Writings contains notes, drafts, revisions, articles, essays, and scripts written by Tonie Nathan for newspapers, for the National Libertarian Party, for affiliate libertarian groups and organizations, for Nathan's TV and radio shows, and for media and public relations. Material is organized alphabetically by title of article (or subject of article when a title was not found).

Also included in this series are interviews with Nathan, journal diaries, letters to the editor, speeches, and questionaries. Material includes drafts, revisions, fragments, ideas, submissions, and published articles.

Most of the topics have to to with libertarianism, feminism and libertarianism, and third-party politics. Some of the writings in Series II may deal with Nathan's political campaigns, but the bulk of her campaign related speeches are located in Series IV.

Series IV: Campaign Materials contains material created for, or related to, Tonie Nathan's campaigns for public office. Material is organized alphabetically by title or topic, including the title of campaigns, e.g., US Congress campaign would be under "U."

Political campaigns include:

The Vice President campaign of 1972; US Congress campaign of 1976; US Senate campaign of 1980; County Commissioner campaign of 1984; EWEB Commissioner campaign of 1998; US Congress campaign of 1990; Oregon State Senate campaign of 1992; US Congress campaign of 1996; and the Oregon State Senate campaign of 1998.

Material includes correspondence, speeches, interviews, news releases, financial records, articles, voters' surveys, vote results, fundraising files, media and event material, Friends of Tonie Nathan (FOTN) political action committee files, mailing and member lists of FOTN and the Libertarian Party, and literature on opposing candidates. This series includes many types of ephemera and artifacts, including brochures, flyers, buttons and bumper stickers.

Series V: Subject Files contains Nathan's alphabetical files and other material gathered by Tonie Nathan, usually about libertarian related topics or organizations. Material is organized alphabetically by subject or organization title.

Subjects and organizations include abortion, Advocates for Self-Government, big government, Cascade Policy Institute, CATO Institute, CCPC: Citizen Comprehensive Plan Committee, Center for Libertarian Studies, Steven Chapman articles, Dorchester Conferences, educational choice, International Society for Individual Liberty, Lane County, marijuana/drugs, Oregon politics and candidates, Reason Foundation, taxes, war and the draft, and Women in Communications Inc.

Files on people and politicians include Peter Defazio, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Bob Packwood, Ross Perot, and Ayn Rand.

Material includes correspondence and form letters, brochures, publications, articles, clippings, and other printed matter.

Series VI: Association of Libertarian Feminists (ALF) contains material created for, by, or about ALF; some of the material, including correspondence and articles, was created by Tonie Nathan as a member of ALF. Material is alphabetically organized by type or topic. Material includes accounting records, articles, correspondence and news releases, convention materials, committee report, events, founding documents, member lists, newsletters, notes, and questionnaires sent to members.

Series VII: National Libertarian Party contains material created for, by, or about the National Libertarian Party; some of the material was created by Tonie Nathan in her media relations role for the party, as a candidate of the party, and as a journalist who published articles relating to the party. Some of this material was mailed to Nathan as a party member, and some she gathered when she attended conventions or other events.

Material is alphabetically arranged by type, subject, name, or title. Material includes official correspondence, intraparty correspondence, news releases, bulletins and newsletters, committee minutes and reports, articles, convention and conference materials, member directories, platforms and programs, and many brochures, flyers, and other ephemera about the Libertarian Party.

Series VIII: Libertarian Party Affiliates and Candidates contains material created by, for, and about local and state Libertarian Parties, other affiliate groups, and Libertarian Party candidates. Some of this material was created by Tonie Nathan as a member of the Oregon Libertarian Party, as a member of the national Libertarian Party, in her media relations role for the party, and as a journalist who published articles relating to the party. Some of this material was mailed to Nathan as a party member, and some she gathered when she attended conventions or other events.

The material is alphabetically arranged by title. State parties are listed by state name first, e.g., New Mexico LP. County and local parties are listed by the state first, then the city, county or locality second, e.g. Oregon - Benton Country LP. The Oregon Libertarian Party has used two different acronyms: OLP and LPO; material in this finding aid is organized under Oregon or OLP.

Files contain correspondence, by-laws, constitutions, rules, resolutions, news releases, minutes, financial records, legal records, convention and conference materials, articles, candidate information, publications, mailing and member lists, ephemera, and artifacts such as buttons, t-shirts, bags, and bumper stickers. Sometimes there was enough material that state and local party publications were separated into their own files, but they are still organized alphabetically by the state or locality first, e.g, New York Free Libertarian Party of New York.

There are also files regarding single candidates when the amount of material warranted, which are organized alphabetically by last name of the candidate. Whenever possible, the state or campaign (e.g Vice President) is added for reference. Also included here are candidates that ran for Libertarian Party offices, usually called intraparty candidates. There are also files titled only by the campaign, e.g. Presidential Candidates.

Candidate files include Rand and Ron Paul, Ed Clark, Roger MacBride, Andre Marrou, and many Oregon candidates.

Other affiliate groups include Libernet listserve, Liberty Committee, INTACC: International Anti-Communist Coalition, Liberty Committee, and college and students groups including OSU and UO groups, Oregon Young Libertarians, SLS: Students for a Libertarian Society, YAF: Young Americans for Freedom, and YLA: Young Libertarian Alliance.

Series IX: Publications contains official Libertarian Party publications, and also newsletters, bulletins, reports, and other publications of organizations and groups with libertarian, or similar philosophical ideals. Tonie Nathan subscribed to many of these serials, while others were collected by her, or were sent to her as a part of mass mailings.

Publications are organized alphabetically by title. For the most part, publications are separated by file tabs, but are not inside folders, and thus, most lack folder numbers. When dates could be found, they were added to the publication title. However, only beginning and end dates were added, and volume numbers were almost never added to the list. One title could have one or two issues, or twenty.

Series X: Video, and Series XI: Audio (OR Series X: Audio/Visual - check boxes) contains audio and video recordings of Libertarian Party meetings, conventions, candidates, and other events. Included here are Tonie Nathan campaign TV interviews, news clips and news conferences, campaign commercials, the 1980 Senate debate, 1984 County Commissioner interviews, and a debate between Nathan and Stan Bettis.

Series XII: Photographs (box 67) contains prints, negatives, contact sheets, and slides, and a scarf with an attached photograph that Nathan wore during a campaign. Images are of Libertarian Party meetings, conventions, and other events, Libertarian candidates and campaigns, Rubicon meetings, UO Campus events (Libertarian booth), and photos of a CETA Summer Youth program that Nathan worked on.

Also included here are portraits of Nathan for campaign photographs and flyers. There are also photographs of Nathan during campaign speeches, on the Today Show, and a few Nathan family photographs. Photographs are not individually listed in the box and folder list below.

Photographs, negatives, and contact sheets are sleeved for preservation. The sleeves are not numbered; the number in parentheses written on the sleeve, e.g. (7), indicates the number of photos inside the sleeve.


  • 1930-2011


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

Theodora “Tonie” Nathalia Nathan was born on February 9, 1923, in New York City. She began her own insurance agency and also a decorating service, and worked in music promotion and publishing, all in Los Angeles, California. She married the composer Charles “Chuck” Nathan, a member of ASCAP, who wrote several top ten hit songs during the 1950s. Tonie Nathan attended the University of Oregon, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1971. After graduating, she produced and hosted a television talk show, and several radio talk shows, in Eugene, Oregon.

As a member of the media, Nathan traveled to Colorado in 1971 to report on the beginnings of a new Libertarian Party. While attending the Libertarian National Convention, Nathan became a founding member of the party, and was voted in as the party’s Vice-Presidential Nominee alongside John Hospers, the Presidential Nominee. The Libertarian candidates ran against Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat George McGovern. Nathan is the first woman, and first Jewish-American, to be awarded a vote from the Electoral College. The vote came from Roger MacBride, a Republican from Virginia.

Nathan ran for political office at least nine times. She has campaigned both as a Libertarian and as an Independent, for seats in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, the Oregon Senate, and for Lane County Commissioner. During her Oregon campaign's, Nathan ran against such recognizable names as Bob Packwood, Ted Kulingoski, and Peter DeFazio. Though Nathan never won any of her campaigns, she was successful in helping the Libertarian Party gain awareness and recognition as a viable third party. Nathan is often referred to as the "mother" of the Oregon Libertarian Party.

Nathan was a founder of the Association of Libertarian Feminists (ALF) in 1973, and also served as its President.

In 1977, Nathan was appointed as a Delegate-at-Large to the National Conference of Women. Nathan has also served as Assistant Lane County Community Relations Officer, was twice President of the Eugene Professional Chapter of Women in Communications, Inc., and was a member of Business and Professional Womens’ Clubs, Toastmistress Clubs, and the League of Women Voters.

Nathan also worked for the Oregon Taxpayer’s Protective Association, and for Libertarian candidates in their campaigns for public office.

Nathan was also a free-lance writer and journalist, and has written articles for publications including the Los Angeles Times, the Oregonian, the Eugene Register-Guard, the Valley News-Tribune, the Willamette Valley Observer, and the Oregon Daily Emerald.

Nathan died on March 20, 2014 at the age of 91.


92 linear feet (67 containers) : 52 record storage boxes, 2 oversize flat boxes, 6 clamshell boxes, 6 flat boxes, 1 5x7 photograph box

Language of Materials



Theodora “Tonie” Nathalia Nathan is a journalist, business owner, an influential member of the Libertarian Party, and in 1972, became the first woman, and first Jewish-American in history to be awarded a vote in the Electorial College when she ran as Vice-President on the Libertarian ticket. The collection (1930-2011) contains Nathan's political campaign material, manuscripts, and personal papers, as well as material from the National Libertarian Party and local affiliates and groups, including publications, correspondence, meeting minutes, and campaign material.

Outline of Arrangement

The collection is organized into the following series:

Series I: Personal Series II: Correspondence Series III: Writings Series IV: Campaign Materials Series V: Subject Files Series VI: Association of Libertarian Feminists (ALF) Series VII: National Libertarian Party Series VIII: Libertarian Party Affiliates and Candidates Series IX: Publications Series X: Video Series XI: Audio Series XII: Photographs

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tanya Parlet, and also Roderick Coxeff, Austin Pliska, Steven Glasgow, Brock Kettering, and Carter Diamond, 2008-2009.

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 Tonie Nathan Papers
Complete Description
Tanya Parlet and Stephanie Kays
2013; updated 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

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

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA