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Cornelius Edward "Neil" Gallagher Collection

Identifier: CAC-CC-020
The Cornelius E. Gallagher Collection contains 48.25 cubic feet of papers from his years in Congress. Dates covered are 1953-1972, but the bulk of the collection does not include the congressman's first two terms in office. Records contained in the collection are those of legislation, press releases, speeches, clippings, correspondence, and Congressional Record excerpts, along with New Jersey, departmental, and personal files. A small map series and a photography series are also included with the collection.


  • 1953-1972
  • Majority of material found in 1963-1972

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection (excluding the Maps and Photographs Series which are stored on-site), is stored off-site and requires prior notice to access. If you wish to view these materials, please contact the Congressional Archives staff to arrange an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use:

The University of Oklahoma asserts no claim of copyright over photographs in this collection taken by private citizens. Any publication of such photographs requires the consent of the copyright holder.


64.1 Linear Feet (51 containers)

Biographical Information:

Cornelius Edward "Neil" Gallagher was born on March 2, 1921, in Bayonne, New Jersey. During World War II he commanded an infantry rifle company in General George Patton's Third Army in Europe. He received his bachelor's degree in 1946 from John Marshall College and in 1948 his LL. B. from John Marshall Law School. After admission to the bar in 1949, Gallagher practiced law in Bayonne. He began his political career with election to the Hudson County (N. J.) Board of Freeholders in 1953 and appointment to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority in 1956. He was a prominent figure in New Jersey politics and was selected as a delegate to the 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968 Democratic National Conventions.

In 1958 Gallagher was elected as the representative of New Jersey's Thirteenth District in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he served from 1959-1973. During his fourteen years in the House, Gallagher was a member of the Foreign Affairs and Government and Operations committees and at times chaired the following subcommittees: Asian and Pacific Affairs, International Organizations and Movements, and Invasion of Privacy.

Gallagher had a variety of causes and interests while in Congress. He especially made a name for himself on privacy issues and was particularly concerned about government invasion of privacy. In 1963 Gallagher proposed a study of lie detector tests used by federal agencies with hearings on the topic being held the following year. Gallagher's Invasion of Privacy Subcommittee held hearings on a proposed National Data Center in 1966 to ensure "that the Government computers do not provide the means by which federal officials can intrude improperly into our lives." An attempt at creating a Select Committee on Privacy, Human Values, and Democratic Institutions failed in 1971. He advocated a civilian review board in 1972 to "cleanse and purge" FBI files following the death of J. Edgar Hoover.

Gallagher focused his energies on various topics in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1969 his International Movements and Organizations Subcommittee held hearings on the military's dumping of poison gas in the ocean. In the same year he also introduced a "pusher" bill, which proposed to make it illegal to transport narcotics across state lines and for adults to sell drugs to minors. In a debate over drug legislation in 1970 he submitted a "no-flush" amendment making it a crime in Washington, D.C., to own a building with indoor plumbing by which one could flush illicit substances, which was a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to the "no-knock" amendment. The congressman also proposed legislation concerning cancer research and treatment. In addition, Gallagher served on the Canada/U.S. Interparliamentary Group while in office. As chair of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, Gallagher held an interest in the war in Vietnam.

In 1968, Life magazine linked Gallagher to reputed Mafia figures, including Joseph Zicarelli and Harold Koningsberg. Although the House Ethics Committee did not investigate because it found no proof of violation of the House rules of ethics, the federal government pursued the case. In 1972, Gallagher pleaded guilty to tax evasion and perjury after an indictment on charges of perjury and conspiracy to hide kickbacks was handed down on April 7 of the same year. Earlier in 1972 he had lost the Democratic primary. Later Gallagher became vice president of Baron/Canning International.

Arrangement of Materials:

The Gallagher Collection is arranged into 11 series: Legislative, Press Releases/Speeches, New Jersey, General, Departmental, Personal, Clippings, Correspondence, Case Files, Maps, and Photographs. With the exception of the Press Releases/Speeches and Photographs series, the collection is largely organized alphabetically. The Press Releases/Speeches series is organized chronologically and the Photographs series is grouped by topics.

Custodial History:

The Gallagher Collection had been housed by the National Archives and Records Administration at the Washington National Records Center during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984 these papers were acquired by the Carl Albert Center.
Guide to the Cornelius Edward "Neil" Gallagher Collection
Finding Aid Authors: Betty Shankle.
Language of description
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Carl Albert Center Congressional and Political Collections Repository

630 Parrington Oval
Room 202B
Norman Oklahoma 73109 United States