Guide to the Charles W. Whalen Jr. Congressional papers, 1945-2003 (bulk 1967-1978)

Overview of Collection

Repository: University of Dayton. University Archives and Special Collections
Creator: Whalen, Charles W.
Title: Charles W. Whalen Jr. Congressional papers
Dates: 1945-2003
Bulk dates: 1967-1978
Extent: 237.5 linear feet
Abstract: This collection contains the congressional and personal papers of former Congressman Charles W. Whalen Jr. (1920-2011) of Ohio's 3rd District, which he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1966-1979. An alumnus and former economics professor at the University of Dayton, Whalen was interested in political and economic diplomacy and international economic issues. His papers also reference major political issues of the period, including civil rights and the Vietnam War.
Collection Code: SC 1
Language: English

Biography of Charles W. Whalen Jr.

Charles W. Whalen Jr. was born on July 31, 1920, the son of Charles W. and Colette Kelleher Whalen. He attended Oakwood Public Schools, graduating from Oakwood High School in 1938. He received a B.S. from the University of Dayton in 1942 and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1946. He also holds an honorary L.L.D. from Central State University (1966). He served as first lieutenant in the U.S. Quartermaster Corps during World War II, including 18 months in the India-Burma Theatre. After receiving his M.B.A., Whalen joined the family business, the Dayton Dress Company, until 1952. He then became vice president of the Whalen Investment Company. He also taught retailing and economics at the University of Dayton from 1952 to 1966, serving as chairman of the economics department for four years during that time.

Whalen entered politics as a Republican in 1954, serving as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives (1955-1961) and the Ohio Senate (1961-1966). In 1966, he was elected to represent Ohio's 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served six terms and retired in early 1979. During various Congresses, he served on the Armed Services Committee, the International Relations Committee, and the District of Columbia Committee, as well as several subcommittees. He was especially interested in international economic issues. He was an active member of Members of Congress for Peace through Law (MCPL) and was a delegate to the 32nd United Nations General Assembly in 1977 and to the U.N. Special Session on Disarmament in 1978. Whalen was characterized as a liberal Republican who supported civil rights, freedom of information, and certain urban issues, and he vigorously opposed U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In the 1976 primary, some conservative 3rd District Republicans ran a candidate against him. Whalen won both the primary and general elections, his last as a Republican. He stayed neutral in the 1978 race between Democrat Tony Hall and Republican Dudley Kircher and later changed his party affiliation to Democrat.

Following his service in Congress, Whalen took the position of director in the non-profit organization, New Directions, with the agenda to lobby for economic and political diplomacy throughout the world. At various times in the 1980s, Whalen served on committees at the Washington Institute of Federal Affairs, the International Communication Agency, and the Institute for Policy Studies. Whalen also published several newspaper articles that concerned political and economic diplomacy, as well as several books that he co-authored with his wife, Barbara. The most notable of these books is The Longest Debate, which discusses the debate and passage of the 1965 Civil Rights Act.

Whalen was married to the former Barbara Gleason. They had six children: four sons, Ted, Chip, Dan, and Joe; and two daughters, Anne and Mary.Charles W. Whalen Jr. passed away on June 27, 2011.

Scope and Content

This collection provides a window into local and national history in the 1960s and 1970s through the files of Ohio's 3rd District representative to Congress, Charles W. Whalen Jr. Although these papers span 1945-2003, the majority are from Whalen's years in the U.S. House of Representatives (1966-1979). The papers include correspondence, news clippings, financial reports, speeches, bills, scrapbooks, memorabilia, and other materials pertaining to Whalen's campaigns, legislative career, and personal life.

Search Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Dayton Libraries Catalog. Researchers may use these headings to search the catalog for resources on related topics, persons, or places.

Personal Names

Frank, Alfred S.
Steponkus, William
Whalen, Charles W.

Corporate Names

United Nations
United States. Congress. House
United States. Congress. House. Committee on Armed Services
United States. Congress. House. Committee on International Relations
United States. Congress. House. Committee on the District of Columbia


Civil rights
Civil rights -- United States
Education -- Law and legislation
Education -- Law and legislation -- United States
Firearms -- Law and legislation
Firearms -- Law and legislation -- United States
Legislation -- United States
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Law and legislation
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Law and legislation -- United States

Administrative Information

Access to Materials

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the University Archives and Special Collections reading room. The materials are non-circulating.


Materials created by Congressional members in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. Materials in this collection that were created apart from Congressman Whalen's official duties are protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Acquisition Information

Charles W. Whalen Jr. donated his papers to the University of Dayton in the late 1970s, around the time of his retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives.

Other Finding Aid

A more detailed finding aid with a box and folder listing is available in the University Archives and Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

Charles W. Whalen Jr. Congressional Papers, 1945-2003 (bulk 1967-1978). University Archives and Special Collections, University of Dayton Libraries, Dayton, Ohio.

Series List

Series 1: Alphabetical files, 1967-1978 (108 boxes)
This series contains copies of Whalen's outgoing correspondence. The letters are arranged chronologically by year and then alphabetically by the name of the recipient.
Series 2: Campaign files, 1948-1978 (bulk 1966-1978) (11 boxes)
These files are arranged by campaign, then by subject. Although the earliest documents date to 1948, the bulk of the materials fall between 1966 and 1978. This series includes general campaign information, news clippings, congratulatory letters, financial reports, advertising, and contribution information, among other things.
Series 3: Casework files, 1967-1977 (24 boxes)
The casework files are arranged chronologically by year, and then alphabetically by topic or agency. The Archives kept a representative sampling of ten percent of the casework files, including social security files that were handled by the local (Dayton) office. The agencies represented include the Army, the Veterans Administration, the Library of Congress, NASA, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, among many others. Topics covered include defense, labor, immigration, agriculture, and local government, among others.
Series 4: General files, 1968-1978 (67 boxes)
These files are arranged chronologically by year and then alphabetically by topic. They include information about Whalen's appointments; Dayton; the University of Dayton; Ohio; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; the Republican Party; and other miscellaneous topics. The series also includes the files of Whalen's assistants, Alfred Frank and William Steponkus. Some files were discarded, such as flag requests, White House tour requests, and other routine matters.
Series 5: Legislation files, 1967-1978 (216 boxes)
The legislation series is the largest in the collection and includes correspondence, arranged chronologically by year, and then alphabetically by committee or subject; bills and resolutions introduced by Whalen, arranged chronologically; speeches, articles, background papers, and other materials, arranged by year; and voting records, arranged by Congress (90th-95th) and session.
Series 6: Media files, 1966-1978 (24 boxes)
The media in this series includes photographs, audio and video tapes, films, slides, certificates, plaques, and other materials. The contents are arranged by media type.
Series 7: News Release files, 1967-1978 (12 boxes)
News release master files are arranged chronologically from 1967-1978, followed by weekly column master files, also spanning 1967-1978. Additional news releases and Congressional record inserts (90th-94th Congresses) follow for the same years.
Series 8: Personal papers, 1956-2003 (15 boxes)
This series contains Whalen's personal files, including family and travel information; Dayton-area concerns such as the Dayton Action Plan and Oakwood High School's class reunion; post-Congressional newspaper articles; and miscellaneous ephemera. Other files pertain to Whalen's professional commitments and endeavors, such as his United Nations assignment and his involvement with the Members of Congress for Peace through Law; the United States of America Former Members of Congress; Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs; International Communication Agency; Institute for Policy Studies; and the T. J. Gleason Tribute. Also included are reviews, letters, and miscellaneous materials on The Longest Debate: A Legislative History of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a book Whalen co-authored with his wife and published in 1985. This series also contains some correspondence.
Series 9: Memorabilia, 1966-1976 (4 boxes)
This series includes items from Whalen's office, such as pen holders, nameplates, paperweights, license plates, ID cards, and some books. Many items are undated.
Series 10: Scrapbooks, 1966-1976 (41 scrapbooks)
Scrapbooks, some undated, containing news clippings and some photographs.