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Claude Pepper Papers

Identifier: MSS 1979-01

Scope and Contents

Containing over two million pages, the Claude Pepper Papers includes his official correspondence, speeches, legislative, committee, and campaign files. In addition, there are files of his personal correspondence, speeches, photographs, recordings, and memorabilia. Also included are the personal papers, photographs, recordings, and memorabilia of his wife, Mildred Irene Webster Pepper. Mrs. Pepper always took a deep interest in public affairs and in helping her husband in his political career. She vigorously supported medical research, urban beautification, conservation, and actively participated in charitable and humanitarian organizations. There are also personal papers of the Pepper/Webster family, largely consisting of correspondence from parents, brothers, sisters, and other family members.

These materials document the political and personal life of one of the most politically active individuals throughout most of this century, and in terms of size, content, and national significance, they have been compared to prestigious presidential collections, including the Papers of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In addition to its value to historical research, these materials will enable current policy makers to build upon Claude Pepper's achievements as they continue to focus on his unfinished work. Because of his noteworthy legacy, it is vital that the Claude Pepper Collection should always be accessible and preserved for future generations of scholars and researchers. Personal letters from Winston Churchill, Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and John F. Kennedy are among the treasures to be found here. The photographs include many individuals of historical significance, such as Pope Paul VI, Albert Einstein, and Martin Luther King, Jr. There are also recordings of such political notables as Lyndon Johnson, Tip O'Neill, and Hubert Humphrey. The Pepper Collection not only documents the career of one of the most politically active individuals of this century, it reflects the changes that have taken place in every area of American life. It contains a wealth of material on a variety of topics. Research using the Pepper Collection has focused on topics as diverse as the World War II "Mother's Movement,", American Indian land claims, national health care, Social Security, the Vietnamese conflict, and organized labor. Currently, the collection is being digitized to provide researchers with the opportunity to study his collection from anywhere around the world.

Online Copies Available

Select materials from the Claude Pepper Papers have been digitized and are available through the FSU Digital Library.


  • created: 1900-1989


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers. Users may access this collection at the Claude Pepper Library.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

Claude Pepper was a devoted public servant who served over 40 years in public office first as a Member of the Florida House of Representatives (1929-1930), then as a U.S. Senator (1936-1950), and then as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1962-1989). Early in his career, Pepper was a progressive minded liberal who sponsored legislation to promote equal rights, civil rights, workers' rights and the Lend-Lease Act. During and after World War II, Pepper became a driving force for the establishment of the National Institutes of Health, a system of government-sponsored medical research facilities.

Much later in his life and career, he gained international fame as an advocate of older persons rights, health care, and for strengthening and protecting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other government sponsored programs on behalf of millions of Americans.

Prior to his death, Pepper donated the bulk of his vast collection of official and personal papers to the Florida State University. It was his express wish that his collection is made available to researchers and scholars.


1200.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

During the processing of this collection, the original order of the files, as reflected in the filing series in his Washington, D.C. and Miami, Florida offices, were preserved as closely as possible. The order of files within most series generally follows an alphabetical sequence by subject and/or folder. Many campaign materials and official itineraries are arranged chronologically. Within a file folder, the material was retained in its original state (usually reverse chronological order) as much as possible, unless the arrangement presented access problems to researchers. Two or more file folders with the same title were usually arranged in chronological order. As is typical of Congressional collections, material related to any one topic may be found in several places according to the use of the information, the creator of the folders, the history of department name changes, or the filing practices of different office staff members. For example, information about Social Security may be found in the following areas: Record Group 300 - U.S. House of Representatives: ~Series 301 Correspondence ~Subseries 302A Aging Committee ~Subseries 302H National Committee on Social Security Reform ~Subseries 303A Congressional Speeches ~Subseries 303B Speeches (Other Groups) ~Series 305 News Clippings To insure the preservation of the materials and their accessibility to researchers, photographs, negatives, memorabilia, and recordings were removed from the papers and transferred to their appropriate series. Separation sheets were placed in all folders from which these items were removed as well as in folders to which the items were transferred.

Physical Location

Claude Pepper Library

Custodial History

The Mildred and Claude Pepper Collection was donated by Congressman Claude Pepper to the Florida State University Libraries in 1979. Subsequent donations were made during the 1980s, and additional materials were acquired following his death in 1989. Initially, the Pepper Collection was housed at Dodd Hall on the Florida State University campus but was relocated in 1998 to a new state-of-the-art archival space located on the first floor of the Claude Pepper Center Building.

Source of Acquisition

Claude and Mildred Pepper

Related Materials

Peter A. Corning, Social Security Project, Reminiscences of Claude Denson Pepper : Oral History, 1967. Oral History Research Office, Columbia University. Claude Pepper, Scrapbooks. Department of Special Collections, University of Florida Libraries. Roosevelt, Franklin D., President's alphabetical file, 1933-1945. Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. Patricia Sullivan, Progressive Party Oral History Interviews. Special Collections Department, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University. (Includes oral history interview with Claude Pepper)

Claude Pepper Papers
Burt Altman, Robert Rubero, and KimBoo York
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US