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Searching for Archival Material
Information about the manuscript collections may be found online in the Subject Guide to the Collections. You can also browse the A-Z list of manuscript collections (the link is below). Our finding aids are processed at different levels. Some include item-by-item level descriptions and others are processed at the folder or box level.
Special Collections: Political History Resources
Special Collections holds a wide variety of political sciences-related manuscript collections from the 19th and 20th centuries. The largest collections are those of New York State and Rochester-area politicians, including Governors William Henry Seward and Thomas E. Dewey, Congressmen Kenneth B. Keating and Louise Slaughter, and City Council Members Ruth Scott and Midge Costanza. These collections contain a wide range of material, including correspondence, speeches, subject files, and photographs and films. They generally contain records that reflect the professional interests of their subjects and include domestic and foreign political topics.
Links to Finding Aids
This list represents just a few of our many manuscript collections related to political history.
Margaret "Midge" Costanza Papers
Midge Costanza (1932-2010) was the first women elected to Rochester City Council. She left she position there in 1976 to become Assistant to the President in the Carter administration; the first woman in that role. Her later career was spent in California working on a number of women's and LGBTQI+ initiatives.
Thomas E. Dewey Papers
Correspondence, manuscripts, reports, printed material, newspaper clippings, phonograph records, tape recordings, photographs, films, and memorabilia. Dewey was district attorney of New York County from 1938 to 1943, governor of New York from 1943 to 1955, and Republican candidate for president of the United States in 1944 and 1948.
Richard F. Fenno Papers
Materials gathered from interviews he conducted with members of Congress beginning in the 1960s through the early 2000s. The boxes contain research notes, biographical materials and correspondence. Also included in the collection are research notes about Congress more generally, and drafts of book chapters.
Kenneth B. Keating Papers
Correspondence, speeches, press releases, tapes, phonograph records, picture files, memorabilia, scrapbooks, printed material. Keating was a lawyer, congressman from 1947 to 1959, Senator from New York from 1959 to 1965, Associate Justice of the New York Court of Appeals from 1966 to 1969, Ambassador to India from 1969 to 1972, and Ambassador to Israel from 1973 to 1975.
Louise McIntosh Slaughter congressional papers
Louise McIntosh Slaughter entered the United States House of Representatives in 1987 to represent the districts of western New York and served until her death in 2018.
Ruth Scott Papers
The papers of Ruth Scott (1934- ), the first woman of color elected to Rochester City Council. A former public school teacher, the collection includes material related to her careers, her activism, and her family.
William Henry Seward Papers
Correspondence, financial records, legal papers, manuscripts, memorabilia. Seward was Governor of New York from 1839 to 1842, Senator from New York from 1849 to 1861, and Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869. The correspondence relates to New York state and national affairs, and also to Seward family matters. The collection contains 3,000 pamphlets owned by Seward, dealing with political, economic, commercial, agricultural, and social issues.
William Henry Seward Papers Addition
Additional Seward and Seward family material acquired since the original collection was donated to UR.
Assistant Director, Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation