Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics

Manuscript Collections

The Dole Archives houses, preserves, and makes available over 1,500 linear feet of manuscript material pertaining to Senator Dole’s career in public service.  Major collections include the Robert J. Dole House of Representatives Papers and Senate papers, Republican Leadership Collection, records from the Dole Foundation for Employment of Persons with Disabilities, and the Republican National Committee Chairman Files.

We are also the home to the related papers of some Dole staffers and other close associates who played an important part in Senator Dole's career and campaigns.

View a list of all of the Dole Archives collections available for research

The following are some of the significant manuscript collections created by Senator Dole that are available for research. Click on a collection name to view its summary as well as a direct link to its finding aid.

Robert J. Dole House of Representatives Papers, 1960-1969

The collection spans the dates 1960-1969 and includes a small number of official records, personal letters and other items relating to Dole's college years, his military service, and his legal career as Russell County (KS) attorney and lawyer in private practice.

The main body of the papers documents Dole's campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1959-1960, subsequent Congressional campaigns, and the eight years (1961-1969) he spent as a congressman from Kansas' Sixth and later First Congressional Districts. The 119 cartons of material include correspondence, memos, reports, newsletters, speeches, casework, statements, testimony, campaign and Republican Party records.

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Robert J. Dole Senate Papers-Constituent Relations, 1969-1996

Constituent Relations is a collective term describing those functions of the Senator's office that primarily dealt with the requests of Kansans. This public relations aspect deals with more than just constituent contacts, though. Contacts between the Senator's office and citizens of other states, business leaders, lobbyists, and politicians are also described here. As a unit, the Constituent Relations files illuminate the ways in which the Senator served his constituency and the staff responsible for carrying that workload.

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Robert J. Dole Senate Papers-Legislative Relations, 1969-1996

The lawmaking function of a Senator's office is perhaps the best known and the most thoroughly documented. The Legislative Relations collection covers this important function. Legislative records include a variety of materials such as Congressional Research Service reports, memoranda and correspondence, personal notes, published material, bill drafts, Senate committee proceedings, press materials, and other information. These various materials were maintained by the Senator's staff of legislative assistants.

A full list of legislative assistants and their areas of topical expertise appears in the series description for the Legislative Assistants Files. This series demonstrates the ways in which the Senator's office crafted legislation or responded to bills proposed in either the House or the Senate. Of significant importance are the Legislative Assistants Files. These contain information about nearly every political and legislative issue that came before the Senate from 1969-1996, and also show evidence of carry-over from Senator Dole's time in the House of Representatives. This series contains information that may not be found elsewhere, and shows the often contradictory opinions of LAs in the same office.

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Robert J. Dole Senate Papers-Office Administration, 1968-1996

The Office Administration collection documents the internal operations of Senator Dole's D.C. office and his state offices. It is composed of routine correspondence, procedural memos, employee forms and personnel records. There is little information about policy or legislative matters, nor do they illuminate anything about Senator Dole, himself.

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Robert J. Dole Senate Papers-Personal/Political Files, 1969-1996

This collectionn documents the Senator's political activities during his tenure in the Senate. As such, these files deal more directly with the Senator than those of the other series. Because of their non-legislative nature, these files contain little insight into the Senator's staff. The material is primarily concerned with his daily activities, meetings, correspondence, and issues of particular interest to him. Of the manuscript collections, the Personal/Political Files contain more of Senator Dole's personal views.

The correspondence contained herein illuminates those whom Dole considered friends and allies, both within the Senate and without. Daily schedules and event invitations chronicle his comings and goings and the social circles in which he operated. In essence, the Personal/Political series describes Senator Dole's life as a U.S. Senator, but does not delve into the specifics of his work. They describe a man committed to building his party, and one who sought to use his influence to benefit his fellow Kansans and all Americans.

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Robert J. Dole Senate Papers-Press Related Materials

Clippings, manuscripts, press releases, correspondence and newsletters (114 boxes) document those functions of the Dole offices related to the media, 1961-1996. Arranged in 10 series - Columns, Journal Articles, Media Activities Plan, Newsletters, Op-Eds, Press Releases, Speeches, Subject Files, TV/Radio Files, and Newspaper Clippings - the records illuminate the communications of Senator Dole with constituents through newsletters, newspaper columns, and press releases. Records contained in Subject Files concern subjects of interest to the Senator and his offices from 1964 to 1996, and also cover interactions between Dole's press secretaries and members of the media. The Newspaper Clippings series includes articles and clippings relating to Bob Dole's extensive time in office, covering the years 1969 through 1996.

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Robert J. Dole Republican Leadership Collection, 1985-1996

This collection comprises the legislative and political activities of the Office of the Senate Republican Leader during Senator Dole's time in that position, 1985-1996. These files were maintained by several administrative and legislative staffers, notably Senator Dole's Chief-of-Staff Sheila Burke. The collection documents the Republican Leader's involvement in legislation pending in the Senate, political efforts on behalf of Republican candidates, and the internal workings of the office, including its relationship with the Senator's office in the Hart Building. The collection contains three series: Legislative Relations, Personal/Political Files, and Press Related Materials.

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Digitized Press Releases, 1961-1996

The Robert J. Dole Press Releases were produced and accumulated by Robert J. Dole and his staff during Dole's 35 years as a United States Representative and Senator from Kansas. The releases document the constituent services provided by Dole and his handling of legislative issues in the House and Senate.

The Press Related Materials collection (above) spans 1961-1996, and includes approximately 10,000 press releases issued by the Dole Congressional and later Dole Senate and Republican Leadership offices. The releases include communications relating to all functions of the Dole offices on Capitol Hill: political events, legislative efforts, constituent relations, and press coverage. This finding aid represents the approximately 6,200 press releases that have been digitized.

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Explore our online collections database where you can access the full inventory of the Dole Archives, as well as a digital library of over 1,800 photos and documents.

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Legacies of '76 includes online resources and interactive features with historical material documenting Bob Dole's 1976 Vice Presidential campaign.

Research Topics
A student researcher reads through archival materials

Research resources in the Dole Archives curated by topic


Digital Collections