Skip to main content

Finding Aids

University of Idaho Library Special Collections & Archives Guides and Descriptions


Collections A-Z

Guide to the Herman Welker Papers ; Welker (Herman) Papers

Herman Welker Papers 1950-1956

1 of 2
Open Finding Aid
small (250x250 max)
medium (500x500 max)
Extra Large
large ( > 500x500)
Full Resolution

Guide to the Herman Welker Papers 1950-1956

Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Overview of the Collection

Title: Herman Welker Papers 1950-1956
Creator: Herman Welker, 1906-1957
Dates: 1950-1956
Quantity: 1.0 cubic foot + 4 oversize volumes
Abstract: Speeches and scrapbooks documenting Herman Welker's career in the U.S. Senate
Identification: MG 38
Language: English
Repository: University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives
850 Rayburn St.
P.O. Box 442351
Moscow, ID 83844-2351
(208) 885-7951

Arrangement and Description

The speeches and speech notes are arranged in chronological order. In some cases there is attached correspondence identifying the speech. The speeches tend to be of the patriotic, anti-Communist variety.The correspondence was separated by correspondent, and includes 1950 congratulatory letters sent to Welker, letters Welker or his secretary Neal Nelson sent to librarian Lee Zimmerman, relating to the speeches, and letters to University of Idaho President J.E. Buchanan concerning Welker's visit to the campus in October 1953.The next item is a printed book entitled "Official inaugural edition" commemorating the 1953 inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower. It was presented to Welker by the California State Building Trades Council.The remaining scrapbooks are arranged chronologically. The first, which documents Welker's campaign for Senate in 1950 was in poor condition, with unattached pages and loose clippings. It was therefore disassembled and the clippings were put into folders. This also facilitated the separation of types of material; general clippings, newspaper advertising, photos, and transcripts of radio speeches.The second scrapbook covers the years 1950 to June 1951 and contains, in addition to newspaper clippings, correspondence and programs from political functions Welker attended.The last four scrapbooks are oversize volumes measuring approximately 24" x 18" The first covers the year from May 1951 to May 1952. The covers are detached and the pages loose and out of order, but it is otherwise in good condition. The second covers the period from May 1952 to April 1953 and contains newspaper clippings, program, and correspondence signed by Harry Truman, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower and Senate colleagues. The third volume covers the months March to November 1953. This volume is badly water damaged, but the clippings, although badly discolored, are still legible. The final volume covers the period June to November 1956, ending with Welker's defeat by Frank Church.

Scope and Content

The papers of Herman Welker span the years 1950 to 1956.

Included are speeches given by Welker between 1951 and 1953, correspondence with librarian Lee Zimmerman and U of I President J.E. Buchanan, congratulatory letters sent to Welker upon his election in 1950, and scrapbooks of newspaper clippings documenting his Senate career.

The Special Collections Department of the University of Idaho Library also has a bound volume entitled Herman Welker, Republican U.S. Senator from Idaho, 1951-1955, (MG 5176) which gives Welker's voting record on the various bills before the Senate during his tenure in Office. There are also some interesting observations on Welker in Senator Glen H. Taylor's book, The Way it Was with Me. (Secaucus, New Jersey: Lyle Stuart, inc., 1979. Day-NW E748.T275A38)

Administrative/Biographical History

Herman Welker was born in Cambridge, Idaho, December 11, 1906, the youngest of the seven children of John T. and Zelda Shephard Welker. Both of his parents were from North Carolina, but came west and settled in Cambridge where John Welker was a potato grower. Herman attended grade school in Cambridge and high school in Weiser. After graduating from Weiser High School in 1924, he attended the University of Idaho, spending two years in a general studies program before attending law school for three years. In 1929 he received his LL.B. degree.

In 1928, while still a student at the university, he was appointed Prosecuting Attorney of Washington County and was twice re-elected to that position.

In September of 1930 Welker married Gladys Taylor Pence; they had one daughter, Nancy.

Between 1936 and 1943 he practiced law in Los Angeles, California, and, after spending a year in the Air Corps, he returned to Idaho, where, from 1944 to 1950 he had his legal practice in Payette.

In 1948 he was elected to the Idaho State Senate on the Republican ticket, and served in one regular and one special session. In 1950 D. Worth Clark defeated the incumbent, Glen Taylor, for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination; Clark, in turn, was overwhelmingly defeated by Welker in the general election, 124,237 to 77,180. While in the Senate he served on the Armed Services Committee, the Internal Securities subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, and the Committee on Rules and Administration. A strong supporter of the right wing of the Republican party, Welker was also a close associate of Senator Joseph McCarthy. In 1954 he was McCarthy's chief defender in the debate which led to McCarthy's censure by the Senate. Welker won the Republican nomination for re-election in 1956, but was defeated in the general election by Frank Church by a vote of 149,096 to 102,781. Following his defeat he practiced law in Boise.

Welker was a member of the Masonic Lodge, El Korah Shrine, Elks, Knights of Pythias, American Legion, IOOF, Idaho Bar Association, California Bar Association, Sigma Chi, Phi Alpha Delta (Honorary Law Fraternity), and the Idaho Cattlemen's Association.

On October 16, 1957, the 50 year old former Senator was admitted to the National Institutes of Health, Washington, D.C., where he underwent brain surgery on October 17 and again on the 28th. He died at the clinic on Wednesday, October 30, 1957. On November 1, approximately 150 people attended the military service held in the Fort Meyer, Virginia, chapel, where Welker was eulogized for his relentless fight against communism. He was buried the same day in Arlington National Cemetery.


This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Government and Politics

Welker, Herman, 1906-1957--Archives.

Idaho -- Politics and government -- Sources

Legislators -- United States -- Correspondence

U.S. Senator for Idaho, 1950-1956

Administrative Information


The speeches of Herman Welker were donated to the University of Idaho Library by Mr. Welker in 1953. In July 1989 the family donated six scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and a book on the inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower. The two groups were combined.

Detailed Description of the Collection

1/11/1Original inventory 1980 1 item
Series I. Speeches 1951-1953
1/21/2Lincoln Day address February 8-19, 1951 1 item
1/31/3Speech relative to the investigation of the 1950 election of John Marshall Butler of Maryland February 28, 1951 1 item
1/41/4Speeches concerning General MacArthur April 12 & 24, 1951 2 items
1/51/5Broadcast over radio station KSL, Salt Lake City May 11, 1951 1 item
1/61/6Parma Experiment Station appropriation July 10, 1951 1 item
1/71/7Salary increase for federal employees July 12, 1951 1 item
1/81/8Dismissal of West Point cadets August 6, 1951 1 item
1/91/9Investigation of International Boxing Club August 13, 1951 1 item
1/101/10Address before Republican groups August 26 & September 22, 1951 2 items
1/111/11"Let's get back to Americanism" October 17, 1951 1 item
1/121/12Address to Republican rally in Philadelphia October 23, 1951 2 items
1/131/13Armistice Day rally, Twin Falls November 12, 1951 1 item
1/141/14Tribute to Senator Kenneth S. Wherry (Nebraska) January 8, 1952 2 items
1/151/15Lincoln Day address February 9-14, 1952 7 items
1/161/16Speech before Los Angeles Bar Association February 18, 1952 1 item
1/171/17Notes for speeches to Republican gatherings September 1952 2 items
1/181/18Speech at Bergen County, New Jersey, Republican fund raiser September 30, 1952 4 items
1/191/19Notes for speeches at Republican rallies in Long Island and Uniontown, PA. October 6 & 7, 1952 1 item
1/201/20Notes for speech on behalf of Senator Bill Jenner, Madison, Indiana October 1, 1952 1 item
1/211/21Comments on President Truman's attack on the Spokesman Review October 1952 1 item
1/221/22Notes for Meet the Press appearance December 21, 1952 3 items
1/231/23Notes for Lincoln Day addresses February 10-18, 1952 5 items
1/241/24Flag Day address, Philadelphia June 15, 1953 2 items
1/251/25Address to the Senate concerning Air Force appropriations July 9, 1953 3 items
1/261/26"Communism as I see it in America today," notes for an address at the University of Idaho October 30, 1952 3 items
Series II. Correspondence 1950-1953
1/271/27Congratulatory letters 1950 7 items
1/281/28Correspondence with Lee Zimmerman 1951-1952 8 items
1/291/29Correspondence with J.E. Buchanan 1953 15 items
Series III. Scrapbooks
1/301/30Official inaugural edition, presented by California State Building Trades Council 1953 1 item
1/31-351/31-35Scrapbook 1. Campaign clippings 1950 232 items
1/361/36Newspaper advertisements 1950 14 items
1/371/37Campaign photographs 1950 4 items
1/381/38Campaign speeches 1950 8 items
1/391/39Scrapbook 2 1950-June 1951 1 item
os/40os/40Scrapbook 3 May 1951-May 1952 1 item
os/41os/41Scrapbook 4 May 1952-April 1953 1 item
os/42os/42Scrapbook 5 March-November 1953 1 item
os/43os/43Scrapbook 6 June-November 1956 1 item

Profile Description

Creation: Encoded by ArchProteus2003
Language: Finding aid is in English

you wish to report:

Select the collections to add or remove from your search