Republican Party (Mich.). 14th Congressional District Republican Committee records: 1948-1976
Summary Information
Title: Republican Party (Mich.). 14th Congressional District Republican Committee records
Creator: Republican Party (Mich.). 14th Congressional District Republican Committee.
Inclusive dates: 1948-1976
Extent: 6 linear feet
Location: Offsite storage; prior notification required for access
Abstract:
Office files including district executive committee minutes, financial reports, newsletters, and correspondence relating in part to the factional dispute between district chairman, Richard Durant, and George Romney and the state Republican Party; chronological files largely concerning party conventions and political campaigns; and collected materials relating to political conservatism, notably to the John Birch Society and to anti-woman's rights organizations.
Call number: 85445 Bt 2
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The records were donated from the organization (donor no. 6326) and came through Mrs. C.W. Chatterson of Grosse Pointe Woods in 1979.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Donor(s) have not transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., Republican Party (Mich.). 14th Congressional District Republican Committee records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


History

The Republican party organization in Michigan's 14th congressional district has seen continued conflict between Republican party factions for over twenty years. Long controlled by conservatives, it has been used as a base from which they attempted to win moderate districts to the conservative standard. Moderate Republicans, on the other hand, have repeatedly attempted to return the district to what they considered to be the party's ideological mainstream.

In 1956 the Republican Precinct Organization (RPO), a Wayne county group allied with the dominant moderate faction of the state party, faced challenges in a number of places. In the 14th district the RPO was ousted from power by the insurgent Republican Voters Associated (RVA). The RVA's success was tempered, however, by a political deal made just prior to the district convention. Stanley Baldwin, district chairman, received the RVA's support for re-election in return for Baldwin's pledge to remain neutral in all intra-party disputes and his endorsement of RVA leader Richard Durant's candidacy for district vice-chairman. On the strength of this compromise the RVA carried the convention 147-114.

The conservatism of the 14th district's new leadership was emphasized in a circular letter published by the RVA which claimed that moderate Republicanism, as exemplified by President Eisenhower, had "done nothing but make Socialism respectable." Outraged by such criticism, moderates in the district, with the backing of the state party, attempted to oust Durant and his supporters.

In 1958, former gubernatorial candidate and ambassador to Belgium, Fred M. Alger Jr. spearheaded the drive to defeat Durant. Alger had been a key organizer of the RPO a decade earlier. Despite his previous importance in the district and strong outside support, Alger lost to Durant 129-163.

Increasingly, Durant came to dominate the district. His personal conservatism was emphasized in 1960 when he endorsed Barry Goldwater for president. In 1962 he bitterly opposed George Romney's bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Although their dispute was papered over during the campaign, Durant did little to aid Romney. Eventually Romney Republicans organized their own campaign effort in the 14th District, independent of the district apparatus.

Durant's opposition to Romney led to renewed efforts to oust him from control. In 1963, as Durant assumed the district chair from the aging Stanley Baldwin, the state party announced it would no longer contribute funds to the 14th district organization. At the same time Republicans involved in the 14th district's Romney campaign created "Republican's Concerned" (RC) in opposition to Durant.

In 1964 RC nearly defeated Durant. Durant's membership in the John Birch society became the critical issue of the district convention. Realizing he was in serious trouble, Durant resigned his membership in the Birch Society two days before the convention, although he made clear he still shared the organization's ideas. The resignation saved his political career, but the district convention was hard fought, and charges of fraud were made when Durant declared himself re-elected chairman on a voice vote, ignoring the demands of RC supporters for a standing vote.

Heartened by their near success in 1964, RC launched another effort to oust Durant in 1966. Wilber Brucker, long time district chairman under the RPO in the late 1940s, opposed Durant for district chairman. Brucker was endorsed by Governor Romney, the first time Romney publicly attempted to defeat Durant. Despite RC's strong showing in 1964, and the public backing of Romney for their candidate, Durant carried the district convention 158-99. In 1967 and early 1968 Durant repaid Romney, flooding Republican mailboxes nationwide with literature opposing Romney's presidential bid.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The records of the 14th district reflect the embattled atmosphere that surrounded Durant and his supporters. Divided into three series, office files, chronological files, and miscellaneous files, each reflects the district's conservatism and its struggle against the state Republican party.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Conservatism.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1951-
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1946-1960.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1961-1970.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1971-1980.
  • Women's rights -- Michigan.
  • Durant, Richard.
  • John Birch Society.
  • Romney, George W., 1907-1995.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Office files [series]

The office files consist of district executive committee minutes (1956-1969), financial reports (1956-1961), and mailings, newsletters and correspondence (1948-1970). The financial information is very incomplete, and the minutes tend to be abbreviated. The mailings, newsletters and correspondence, however, give a fair reflection of the atmosphere and political situation within the district.

 
District Executive Committee [subseries]
Box   1  
1956-1969 (14 folders)
 
District Financial Reports [subseries]
Box   1  
1956-1961 (3 folders)
 
Mailings, Newsletters and Correspondence [subseries]
Box   1  
1948-1949
Box   1  
1956-1962 (9 folders)
Box   2  
1964-1970 (7 folders)
 
Chronological files [series]

The chronological files cover the years 1950-1976. Most interesting are the detailed lists of precinct delegates, frequently heavily annotated, and the information regarding the district convention. Information regarding the state convention is routine. The election material gives some idea of the actual mechanics of campaigning on a district level, but contains little analytical material.

Box   2  
1950
 
1953
Box   2  
Young Republicans
 
1954
 
Election material
Box   2  
Congressional campaigns
Box   2  
Ferguson senatorial campaign
Box   2  
General
 
1955
Box   2  
General
Box   2  
State Central Committee
 
1956
 
Conventions
Box   2  
District
Box   2  
State (2 folders)
 
Election material (2 folders)
Box   2  
Precinct Delegates (2 folders)
Box   2  
Vote Analysis
 
1957
 
Conventions
Box   2  
District
Box   2  
State
 
Election material
Box   2  
Spring (4 folders)
Box   2  
November
Box   2  
General
Box   2  
Precinct delegates
Box   2  
Section leaders
Box   2  
State Central Committee
 
1958
 
Conventions
Box   3  
Pre-primary
 
District
Box   3  
Candidates for
Box   3  
Candidates elected
Box   3  
Miscellaneous
Box   3  
State
 
Elections
Box   3  
Special, January 10 (3 folders)
Box   3  
November (2 folders)
Box   3  
Precinct Delegates (2 folders)
Box   3  
State Central Committee
 
1959
 
Conventions
Box   3  
District
Box   3  
State (2 folders)
 
Elections
Box   3  
Spring (3 folders)
Box   3  
Precinct Delegates
Box   3  
State Central Committee
 
1960
 
Conventions
 
District
Box   3  
April
Box   3  
August
 
State
Box   3  
Delegate list
Box   3  
Miscellaneous (2 folders)
Box   3  
Precinct delegates (2 folders)
Box   3  
Section leaders
Box   3  
Voter analysis
 
1961
 
Conventions
Box   4  
District
 
State
Box   4  
Delegates
Box   4  
Miscellaneous
Box   4  
Precinct Delegates
 
1962
Box   4  
Constitutional Convention
 
Conventions
Box   4  
District
Box   4  
State
Box   4  
Precinct delegates (2 folders)
Box   4  
Vote analysis
Box   4  
General 1963
 
1964
 
Conventions
 
District
Box   4  
Delegates
Box   4  
Miscellaneous (2 folders)
 
State
Box   4  
Spring (3 folders)
Box   4  
Fall
Box   4  
National
Box   4  
Dinners
 
Elections
Box   4  
August primary (3 folders)
 
November
Box   4  
General (3 folders)
Box   4  
Literature (2 folders)
Box   4  
Poll watching
Box   4  
V.I.P. book
 
1965
 
Conventions
Box   5  
District
 
State
Box   5  
Delegates
Box   5  
Miscellaneous
 
Elections
Box   5  
April
 
November
Box   5  
Literature
Box   5  
Miscellaneous
 
1966
 
Conventions
Box   5  
District
Box   5  
State
 
Elections
Box   5  
August primary (2 folders)
 
November
Box   5  
Griffin
Box   5  
Literature
Box   5  
Miscellaneous (2 folders)
Box   5  
Platform
Box   5  
Republican Citizens
 
1967
 
Conventions
 
State
Box   5  
Delegates
Box   5  
Miscellaneous
 
1968
 
Conventions
 
State
Box   5  
Spring (3 folders)
Box   5  
Fall (3 folders)
Box   5  
National
 
Elections
 
August primary
Box   5  
Delegates elected
Box   5  
Literature (2 folders)
Box   5  
Miscellaneous
Box   5  
Wayne County vote returns
 
November
Box   5  
Literature (2 folders)
Box   5  
Miscellaneous
Box   5  
Results and Analysis
Box   5  
Laws
 
1969
 
Conventions
 
State
Box   6  
Delegate lists
Box   6  
Miscellaneous
Box   6  
General
Box   6  
Position papers
Box   6  
General 1970
Box   6  
General 1971
Box   6  
Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP) 1972
Box   6  
General 1975
Box   6  
General 1976
 
Miscellaneous material [series]

Among miscellaneous files are material opposing the women's liberation movement and several folders of right wing material originating in Wisconsin.

Box   6  
Volunteer lists (miscellaneous)
Box   6  
Wisconsin material (3 folders)
Box   6  
Women's rights
Box   6  
Conservative publications, including those of John Birch Society