Helen W. Berthelot papers: 1948-1996
Summary Information
Title: Helen W. Berthelot papers
Creator: Berthelot, Helen W.
Inclusive dates: 1948-1996
Extent: 35.2 linear feet
Location: Portions located in offsite storage; prior notification required for access.
Campaign manager for G. Mennen Williams and official of the Communications Workers of America. Correspondence, schedules and publications concerning politics, election campaigns, 1954-1976, labor, communications satellites, the Democratic Party, and the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.
Call number: 85748 Aa 2
Language: The material is 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 created by Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was donated by Helen W. Berthelot (Donor no. 4485) in several accessions.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to 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 is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Helen W. Berthelot papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Helen W. Berthelot was a pioneer in the labor movement and in Michigan state politics. As an official for the Communications Workers of America, she was the first full-time woman labor lobbyist in Washington, and the first woman to run a statewide political campaign in Michigan.

In the 1920s, Berthelot moved to Michigan from Massachusetts, where she married and had two children. She began work as a telephone operator for Michigan Bell, and found herself the sole provider for her family after her husband died. During the unionization of Michigan Bell in the mid-1940s, Berthelot was elected to several positions within the Communication Workers of America (CWA), eventually becoming a lobbyist in Washington for CWA, a position she held from 1953 to 1969.

Berthelot began her political work as a volunteer in G. Mennen William's gubernatorial campaign in 1948. She soon gained the reputation as a quiet force behind the Democratic party, and became Governor William's campaign manager for the 1954, 1956, and 1958 campaigns. In 1960, Berthelot was the state coordinator for Democratic campaigns. She managed Neil Staebler's successful election as congressman-at-large in 1962, and, in 1964, his campaign for governor. Berthelot managed William's fall campaign for the U. S. Senate in 1966. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, she was active in the campaigns of several presidential hopefuls, including Hubert Humphrey's 1968 presidential bid. In 1972, Berthelot accepted the job of office manager for the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach.

During the 1980s, Berthelot stepped back from the political scene and began research on the rise of the Democratic party in Michigan during the 1940s, culminating in the book Win Some, Lose Some: G. Mennen Williams and the New Democrats, which was published in 1995. She passed away on May 6, 1996 at the age of 92.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The papers of Helen Berthelot have been arranged into seven series by date and topic. The files arranged primarily by date are largely unprocessed and relate to her activities in the Michigan Democratic Party and as a lobbyist for the Communications Workers of America. The strengths of the collection is the material relating to the various campaigns of G. Mennen Williams for governor, 1948 to 1958, the Presidential campaigns of 1960 and 1964, and Williams's campaign for the United States Senate in 1966. The collection also includes correspondence, photographs, and material related to the publication and reception of Win Some, Lose Some: G. Mennen Williams and the New Democrats.

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.

  • Elections -- United States -- 1954.
  • Elections -- United States -- 1956.
  • Elections -- United States -- 1958.
  • Elections -- United States -- 1960.
  • Elections -- United States -- 1962.
  • Elections -- United States -- 1964.
  • Elections -- United States -- 1966.
  • Elections -- United States -- 1968.
  • Elections -- United States -- 1972.
  • Elections -- United States -- 1976.
  • Telecommunication -- Employees -- Labor unions.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1946-1960.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1961-1970.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1971-1980.
  • Satellites.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989.
  • Women in politics -- Michigan.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1951-
  • Express highways -- Michigan.
  • Mackinac Bridge (Mich.)
  • Politicians -- Michigan.
  • Politics and government -- Michigan.
  • Photographs.
  • Communications Workers of America.
  • Democratic Party (Mich.)
  • United States. Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.
  • Williams, G. Mennen, 1911-1988.
  • Berthelot, Helen W.
  • Berthelot, Helen W.
  • Democratic Nation Convention (1960 : Los Angeles)
  • Democratic Party (Mich.)
  • Hart, Philip A. (Philip Aloysius), 1912-1976.
  • Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963.
  • Michigan. State Fair Commission.
  • Staebler, Neil, 1905-2000.
  • Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972.
  • Williams, G. Mennen, 1911-1988.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Democratic Party / Communication Workers of America [series]

The Democratic Party/Communication Workers of America series documents Berthelot's involvement in the Democratic Party, especially her role as campaign manager for G. Mennen Williams. It also contains material related to Berthelot's involvement in the Communication Workers of America.

Box   1  
Box   2  
Box   3  
Box   4  
Box   5  
Box   6  
Box   32  
Box   7  
Box   8  
Box   9  
Box   10  
Box   11  
Box   12  
Box   13  
Box   14  
Box   15  
Box   16  
Box   17  
Box   18  
Box   19  
Box   20  
Box   21  
Box   33  

(also includes clippings about Helen W. Berthelot and miscellaneous)

Box   22  
Box   23  
Box   24  
Box   25  
Box   26  

(also includes miscellaneous Communications Workers of America Publications)

Topical [series]

The Topical series contains material related to Berthelot's involvement in the Communication Workers of America.

Box   27  
Communications Workers of America
Box   27  
Convention Proceedings and Executive Board Reports
Box   28  
Communications Satellites 1961-1965
Box   29  
Communications Satellites 1961-1965
Box   30  
Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services 1966-1970
Box   31  
Democratic Advisory Committee on Political Organization 1952-1960
Correspondence [series]

The Correspondence series contains letters both to and from Berthelot. The correspondence is covers a wide-range of political, personal, and professional topics from 1948-1996.

Box   34  
1948-1996, undated (27 folders)
Newsclippings 1951-1995 [series]

The Newsclippings series (1951-1995) consists of two folders of newspaper clippings related to Michigan Politics and the Michigan State Fair. There is also a folder of political cartoons.

Box   34  
Michigan Politics 1951-1966, 1986-1988, 1993-1995
Box   34  
Michigan State Fair 1950, 1952, 1958
Box   34  
Political Cartoons 1957-1958, 1964-1968
Political Activities 1948-1996 [series]

The Political Activities series (1948-1996) includes additional material related to Berthelot's career in the Michigan Democratic Party. Materials include notes, flyers, memorandums, and publications related to state and national campaigns and political figures.

Box   34  
Berthelot Biographical Material 1950-1966, 1990-1996
Box   34  
Contents of Scrapbook 1950s-1970s

(includes photographs and letters of Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, and other Democratic Party leaders)

Box   34  
General 1949-1960
Box   34  
General 1961-1983
Box   34  
Berthelot's State Legislature Campaign 1948
Box   34  
Hart, Philip 1958, 1967, 1969, 1976
Box   34  
State Fair Board 1954, 1958-1959, 1961
Williams, G. Mennen
Box   34  
General (including tributes and obituaries) 1964-1990
Box   34  
Gubernatorial Campaigns 1948-1960
Box   34  
Mackinac Bridge Dedication 1958
Box   34  
U.S. Senate Campaign 1966
Box   34  
General 1960-1979
Box   34  
Humphrey, Hubert Presidential Campaign 1968
Box   34  
Kennedy, John F. (Presidential Campaign and Inauguration) 1960-1961
Photographs circa 1940s-1990s [series]

The Photographs series (ca. 1940s-1990s) contains personal and professional photographs of Berthelot, the Michigan State Fair, the Mackinac Bridge Dedication, G. Mennen Williams, Philip Hart, and various other Michigan and national Democratic political figures.

Berthelot, Helen
Box   34  
Personal Snapshots circa 1950s-1990s
Box   34  
Reception for Berthelot and her book 1995
Box   34  
Mackinac Bridge Dedication 1958
Michigan State Fair
Box   34  
Undated, 1950-1956
Box   34  
Box   34  
1959, 1961-1962, 1966
Political Figures
Box   34  
General circa 1950s-1980s
Box   34  
Democratic Women's Groups 1960, 1962
Box   34  
Hart, Philip circa 1950s-1960s
Box   34  
National circa 1950s-1975
Box   34  
Portraits (Berthelot, political figures) circa 1940s-1990s
Williams, G. Mennen
Box   34  
circa 1949-1959
Box   34  
circa 1960s, 1986-1987
Box   34  
Williams Family Portraits 1948, 1960, 1966
Box   36  

(includes photographs of Mackinac Bridge and aerial photographs of Detroit and of highway interchanges)

Box   36  

(includes photographs of Williams with Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy, a photograph of Berthelot with Estes Kefauver, the 1960 Democratic National Convention, and a political cartoon by Frank Williams)

Writing, Research, and Publicity Materials (Win Some, Lose Some) [series]

The Writing, Research, and Publicity Materials series documents the writing and publication of Berthelot's book Win Some, Lose Some: G. Mennen Williams and the New Democrats. The materials in this series include a manuscript of the book with pre-publication corrections, drafts, notes, research materials, book reviews, correspondence, and publicity materials.

Box   35  
Appendix Materials undated

(includes photocopied material from 1954 and 1986)

Box   35  
Book Reviews and Reception (Win Some, Lose Some) 1995
Box   35  
Book Revision 1991

(includes correspondence, manuscript reviews, and handwritten notes)

Box   35  
Collected Materials Used for Win Some, Lose Some 1955-1988 (scattered) (2 folders)
Box   35  
Corrections and Suggestions 1987-1988, undated
Box   35  
Correspondence 1988-1995
Box   35  
Correspondence with Wayne State University Press 1991-1995
Box   35  
Development of Front Matter and Blurbs 1991-1992, undated

(includes photocopied material from 1960)

Box   35  
Material from Interviews with Helen W. Berthelot 1991, undated
Box   35  
Material from Interviews with Others 1992, undated
Box   35  
Notes and Drafts undated (3 folders)
Box   35  
Original Manuscript with Corrections 1994 (6 folders)
Box   35  
Permissions 1988-1995
Box   35  
Photographs and Illustrations, Originals 1948, 1959, 1986, undated
Box   35  
Political and Campaign Advice undated
Box   35  
Promotional Materials 1994, undated
Box   35  
Research Materials for Rewrite 1992-1993, undated