Guide to the Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 1. Pre-Senatorial Career Files, 1953-1980 TJU.2010.01.01

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 1. Pre-Senatorial Career Files
Creator
Specter, Arlen, 1930-2012
Collection Number
TJU.2010.01.01
Date
1953-1980
Extent
6.25 linear feet 5 records center boxes
Location
With the exception of selected photographic and memorabilia items located on display at the Arlen Specter Center's Roxboro House in Philadelphia, the collection itself is located at the University of Pittsburgh Library System's Archives Service Center in Pittsburgh. Due to the size of this collection, researchers are required to notify Pitt's Archives & Special Collections at least 24 hours in advance for use of this collection. Researchers interested in viewing archival materials in Philadelphia at the Arlen Specter Center are encouraged to contact Archives & Special Collections (www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist) or Special Collections-Gutman Library (slates@philau.edu) for further information.
Abstract
The Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group I. Pre-Senatorial Career Files document the professional and personal activities of Specter in the years before his election to the Senate. Most notably, Specter served as the District Attorney of Philadelphia from 1966 to 1974, and worked for the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy from 1963 to 1964. The collection contains correspondence, reports, speeches, publications, ands newsclips.

Preferred Citation

Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 1: Pre-senatorial Career Files, 1953-1980, TJU.2010.01.01, Thomas Jefferson University (managed by the University of Pittsburgh Library System)

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Biography

Born in Wichita, Kansas, on February 12, 1930, Arlen Specter came to Pennsylvania to attend the University of Pennsylvania. He married Joan Levy in 1953, and graduated from Yale Law School in 1956. He became assistant district attorney in Philadelphia in 1959. In 1962, Specter was recommended to serve on the Warren Commission, assembled to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. As part of the Commission, he was responsible for co-authoring the proposal of the "single bullet theory," determining that one bullet struck both President Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally. Specter ran for Philadelphia district attorney in 1965, switching his Party membership to Republican in order to unseat the incumbent Democrat. He was successful, and served as district attorney from 1966 to 1974.

After an initial failed run for Senator and then for Governor of Pennsylvania, Specter was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980. He would stay in this position from 1981 to 2011, making him the longest-tenured senator in Pennsylvania's history. During this time, he was a member of a number of Committees: Judiciary (1981-2011; Chair, 2007-2007), Appropriations (1981-2011), Veterans Affairs (1981-2011; Chair, 1997-2001 and 2003-2005), Select Intelligence (1985-1991; 1995-1997; Chair, 1995-1997), Special Aging (1991-1995; 2007-2011), Governmental Affairs (1997-2001; 2003-2005), and Environment and Public Works (2001-2003; 2009-2011).

Though elected as a Republican, Specter was a moderate on many issues, including healthcare reform, immigration, and abortion. He would often cross party lines, such as in voting against the confirmation of President Ronald Reagan's nominee Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987. Specter would again come into the spotlight during a Supreme Court nomination process in 1991, for his cross-examination of Professor Anita Hill regarding her allegations against nominee Clarence Thomas. In 1999, he would vote against the charges brought against President Bill Clinton, giving an answer of "not proven" to reflect his belief that Clinton had not received a fair trial.

As Senator, Specter championed a number of causes and influenced many legislative areas. He was frequently a member of Congressional Delegation trips, particularly to the Middle East, where he would speak out on the cause of freedom from religious persecution and the importance of strong diplomatic relations. He was also a proponent of funding for medical research, including the use of stem cells. He advocated for strict crime laws, particularly for career criminals. His focus on benefitting Pennsylvania could be seen through the pursuit of grant funding opportunities and his attempt to prevent the closure of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in the 1990s.

With the worsening of Congressional partisanship in the late 2000s, Specter found himself frequently voting with his Democratic peers. After being one of only three handful of Republicans to vote for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, Specter found himself increasingly marginalized within his party. In April 2009, he returned to the Democratic Party, helping to ensure the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Seeking re-election in 2010, he was defeated in the Democratic primary by Joe Sestak.

Specter's 30-year tenure in the Senate concluded in January 2011. After leaving the Senate, he partnered with Philadelphia University (now Jefferson-East Falls) to establish the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service. In the fall of 2012, Specter, who had previously beaten Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2005 while serving as Chair of the Judiciary Committee, was diagnosed with cancer. He died on October 14, 2012, aged 82.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 1. Pre-Senatorial Career Files comprises 5 boxes of material documenting the professional and personal activities of Specter in the years before his election to the U.S. Senate. Specific areas of interest in this group are materials related to Specter's time as district attorney in Philadelphia from 1966 to 1974, as well as his work for the Warren Commission from 1963 to 1964. The group contains correspondence, reports, speeches, publications, and newsclips.

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Arrangement

The arrangement of Group 1 is alphabetical by topic.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, June 2018

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Thomas Jefferson University holds title to the materials in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by third parties. No copyrighted work may be copied, published, disseminated, displayed, or played without permission of the copyright holder except in accordance with fair use under U.S. copyright law. The responsibility for obtaining all necessary permissions remains with the requester.

Custodial History

Material was transferred to the care of Philadelphia University in 2010-2011 from the Federal Records Storage Facilty in Suitland, Maryland, as well as the Senator's Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania offices. The physical material was transferred to the University of Pittsburgh in 2014, with the exception of selected photographic and memorabilia items that remain at the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service's Roxboro House for display. In 2016, Philadelphia University merged with Thomas Jefferson University, and is now known as Jefferson-East Falls.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Arlen Specter to Philadelphia University in 2010. Philadelphia University and the University of Pittsburgh entered into a partnership to jointly manage the collection in 2013.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by project archivist Ashley Taylor between 2014 and 2018. During this period, she was assisted by three temporary archival assistants: Cassandra Frank, Jon Klosinski, and Shannon McClenning. Further assistance was provided by graduate and undergraduate student interns.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 2. Legislative Files, 1965-2011, TJU.2010.01.02

Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 3. Personal, Political and Official Files, 1944-2010, TJU.2010.01.03

Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 4. Office Administration Files, 1962-2010, TJU.2010.01.04

Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 5. Constituent Services Files, 1976-2007, TJU.2010.01.05

Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 6. Public Relations and Media Files, 1972-2010, TJU.2010.01.06

Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 7. Campaign Files, 1976-2004, TJU.2010.01.07

Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 8. Awards and Memorabilia, 1957-2010, TJU.2010.01.08

Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 9. Photographs, 1930-2010, TJU.2010.01.09:

Arlen Specter Senatorial Papers, Group 10. Electronic Records, 1980-2010, TJU.2010.01.10

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Peace Corps (U.S.).
  • Philadelphia (Pa.). District Attorney's Office.
  • University of Pennsylvania.

Family Name(s)

  • Specter family

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs
  • Speeches

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pennsylvania -- Politics and government
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
  • Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
  • Scott, Hugh, 1900-1994
  • Specter, Arlen, 1930-2012

Subject(s)

  • Politicians
  • Politics

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Collection Inventory

  BoxFolder
Correspondence, A-C, 1967-1969 11

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  Folder
Correspondence, C, 1967-1969 2

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  Folder
Correspondence, D-H, 1967-1969 3

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  Folder
Correspondence, I-M, 1967-1969 4

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  Folder
Correspondence, M-O, 1967-1969 5

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  Folder
Correspondence, P-S, 1967-1969 6

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  Folder
Correspondence, T-Z, 1967-1969 7

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  Folder
Correspondence, T-Z, 1967-1969 7

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  Folder
Correspondence, A-J, 1970 8

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  Folder
Correspondence, K-T, 1970 9

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  Folder
Correspondence, 1972-1973 10

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  Folder
Correspondence, January-April 1974 11

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  Folder
Correspondence, May-August 1974 12

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  Folder
Correspondence, September-December 1974 13

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  Folder
Correspondence, April 1975-December 1976 14

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  BoxFolder
Correspondence, Congressional, 1973 21

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  Folder
Correspondence, Robert Kunzig, 1966-1968 2

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  Folder
Correspondence, Post-election, 1968 3

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  Folder
Correspondence, Presidential, 1973 4

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  Folder
Correspondence, Hugh Scott, 1965-1967 5

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  Folder
Correspondence, Hugh Scott, 1968 6

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  Folder
Correspondence, Lillie Specter, 1971 7

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  Folder
Dechert, Price & Rhoads information for law students, 1979 8

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  Folder
District Attorney, Press reports, April-June 1973 9-10

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  Folder
District Attorney, Press reports, July-August 1973 11

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  Folder
District Attorney, Report to the People of Philadelphia, 1966-1971 12

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  Folder
District Attorney, Report to the People of Philadelphia, 1970-1971 13-14

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  Folder
District Attorney, Report to the People of Philadelphia, 1972-1973 15

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  Folder
European and Israel trip, 1969 16

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  Folder
European trip, 1970 17-18

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  BoxFolder
Honorary degree, Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, 1968 31

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  Folder
Israel trip, 1980 2

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  Folder
John F. Kennedy assassination, Autopsy artifacts, 1966-1968 3

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  Folder
John F. Kennedy assassination, House Select Committee on Assassinations, 1978 4

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  Folder
John F. Kennedy assassination, "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye," 1972-1973 5

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  Folder
John F. Kennedy assassination, Report of the US Secret Service on the Assassination of President Kennedy, 1963 6

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  Folder
John F. Kennedy assassination, Warren Commission aftermath, 1966-1969 7

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  Folder
New Jersey bar exam, 1979 8-9

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  Folder
Newsclips, January-March 1967 10

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  Folder
Newsclips, April-June 1967 11

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  Folder
Newsclips, July-August 1967 12

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  Folder
Newsclips, September-October 1967 13

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  Folder
Newsclips, November-December 1967 14

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  Folder
Newsclips, January-March 1968 15

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  Folder
Newsclips, April-September 1968 16

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  Folder
Newsclips, October-December 1968 17

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  Folder
Richard Nixon impeachment, 1973 18

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  BoxFolder
Richard Nixon impeachment, 1973-1974 41

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  Folder
Peace Corps, 1972-1973 2-3

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  Folder
Peace Corps National Advisory Council, 1969-1971 4-6

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  Folder
Peace Corps trip report, 1972 7-8

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  Folder
Phone messages, 1980 9

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  Folder
Planner, 1979 10

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  Folder
Planner, 1980 11

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  Folder
Publications, Blueprint for a Better Philadelphia, 1966 12

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  Folder
Publications, Censorship and Obscenity: A Panel Discussion, 1962 13

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  Folder
Publications, Corruption in the Courts, undated 14

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  Folder
Publications, Criminal Justice Systems drafts, 1953 15-16

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  BoxFolder
Publications, Criminal Justice Systems drafts, 1953 51-2

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  Folder
Publications, Introduction, undated 3

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  Folder
Publications, Mapp v. Ohio: Pandora's Problems for the Prosecutor, 1962 4

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  Folder
Publications, A Microcosm: The Criminal Justice System Collapses, undated 5

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  Folder
Publications, The Miranda Rule, undated 6

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  Folder
Publications, Outlines, undated 7

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  Folder
Publications, A Passion for Freedom, 1976 8

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  Folder
Publications, Police Guide to Search and Seizure publishing agreement, 1966 9

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  Folder
Publications, Protecting the Innocent, undated 10

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  Folder
Publications, Raw Politics in Philadelphia's Criminal Court, undated 11

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  Folder
Publications, Real Criminal Justice- Without a Trial, undated 12

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  Folder
Publications, Review of "Conviction: The Determination of Guilt or Innocence Without Trial," 1967 13

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  Folder
Publications, Rights and Limitations on Speech and Assembly, undated 14

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  Folder
Publications, Summary of the Report on the Investigation of the Magisterial System, undated 15

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  Folder
Search and seizure memos, 1966 16

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  Folder
Search and seizure presentation, 1974 17

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  Folder
Speeches, Crime, undated 18

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  Folder
Speeches, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 1975 19

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  Folder
Sunshine laws, 1974 20

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  Folder
University of Pennsylvania seminars, 1968-1971 21-23

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  Folder
University of Pennsylvania seminars, 1972 24

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  Folder
Yale Law School reunion, 1971 25

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