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Carl Albert Collection

Identifier: CAC-CC-001
From 1947-1977, Carl Albert served as the representative of Oklahoma's Third District to the U.S. House of Representatives. During the last three terms, he was the Speaker of the House. Known as the "Little Giant from Little Dixie," Albert held more power than any other Oklahoman.

The Albert Collection is the largest held by the Carl Albert Center, and it contains a prodigious amount of material generated and received by Albert's congressional offices. It is mostly comprised of correspondence, and correspondents include constituents, prominent personalities, congressional colleagues, and Oklahoma state politicians. There is a small amount of letters to and from presidents.

The papers of the Carl Albert Collection reveal part of the long history of Congress; they house materials documenting Albert, his congressional colleagues, and the legislative debates of the late 1940s to mid-1970s. There is also information on the Capitol, events at the Capitol, and the administration of the House during the 1960s and 1970s. Other well documented topics include political campaigns, visits of VIPs to Oklahoma, agriculture, housing and urban development, the Korean War, the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Civil Rights Act, veterans affairs, and Native Americans. The collection also contains files on the major issues of Albert's years as Speaker, when the debates over Vietnam, busing, the economy, the energy crisis and policy, gun control, and Watergate were played out in the Oval Office and the chambers of Congress. Information on Sam Rayburn, Richard Nixon and Adam Clayton Powell can also be found in this collection.

Because of Carl Albert's representation of his district, the history of Oklahoma from the 1940s to the 1970s unfolds in his papers as well. In particular are documents that tell the story of various programs and projects--federal, state, and local-- that literally changed the face of the state: the highway system that paved thousands of miles of roads, the Arkansas River Navigation System that made Tulsa an inland port, dozens of reservoirs that created hundreds of square miles of lakes, soil conservation measures that halted devastating erosion, and economic development programs that encouraged small business growth.
The Albert Collection is the largest held by the Carl Albert Center, and it contains over 1000 linear feet of documents, multiple maps and oversize materials including scrapbooks, and over 10,000 photographs. Because Albert served for an extended period of time during an extremely productive time in Congress, the collection includes materials related to a variety of national legislative actions and political occurrences including Great Society legislation like the Civil Rights Act, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and a wide variety of public works projects, the Vietnam war, the energy crisis, and Watergate.

Of particular note are the files, departmental and legislative, related to the Great Society legislation and Watergate. The collection also includes extensive materials related to the development of Oklahoma and projects, like the Arkansas River Navigation System, that changed the face of the state. There are also materials related to Albert’s work with various Native American tribes and their concerns within his district and throughout the state.

In addition to the more typical legislative-type documents found in congressional collections, the Carl Albert Collection also contains vast amounts of correspondence from constituents, colleagues, and others. This correspondence, found throughout the collection but mostly centered in the General, Mail, and Legislative series, provides excellent insight into Albert’s relationship with the public and the public’s response to important legislation and political events.


  • 1910-1998

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Certain series of this collection are stored off-site and require prior notice to access. If you wish to view these materials, please contact the Congressional Archives staff to arrange an appointment.

The following series are stored off-site: Clippings, Invitations, Mail, Miscellaneous, Office, and Post Office.

Requests for Office Series: All requests must be made at the folder level and approved by an archivist prior to research. Materials must be reviewed for personally identifiable information and, if needed, appropriately redacted before the researcher is allowed to view them.

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.


1003.72 Linear Feet (844 Containers)

Biographical Information:

Carl Albert was born in McAlester, Oklahoma on May 10, 1908. His father was a coal miner and farmer. In high school, Albert became the student body president and won a national high school oratory contest.

He enrolled in the University of Oklahoma in 1927. In 1931, he earned a Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford. After completing his studies abroad, he opened a law practice in Oklahoma City in 1935, where he worked for several oil companies until the beginning of World War II.

Albert served in the Judge Advocate General Corps during World War II. He earned the Bronze Star for his work in the Pacific Theater and left the military with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1946. During the war he also married Mary Harmon, with whom he had two children: Mary Frances and David.

In 1946, Albert won his first election to Congress. He became House Majority Whip in 1955 and House Majority Leader in 1961. As Majority Leader, he helped advance the Democratic Party’s legislative agenda during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, in particular the latter’s Great Society legislation of 1964 and 1965.

When Speaker John W. McCormack retired in 1971, Albert was elected Speaker of the House of the Representatives. When the Watergate scandal developed in 1973, Albert played a key role in the impeachment proceedings against President Richard M. Nixon.

Albert retired from the Congress in 1977 and died on February 4, 2000.

Arrangement of Materials:

The Albert Collection consists of 21 series. The Biographical Series is arranged alphabetically by surname then by given name and subsequently arranged chronologically by year, month, and day. The Campaign Series is arranged into sixteen subseries, one of which pertaining to Other Political Candidates and the other fifteen comprising of each congress from the 79th Congress to the 93rd Congress. Each subseries is arranged alphabetically. The Clippings Series is arranged alphabetically by topic. The Departmental Series is arranged chronologically by congress then alphabetically by federal agency and subsequently alphabetically by topic. The General Series, formerly known as the General "A" Series is arranged chronologically by year and then alphabetically within each year by topic. The General "B" Series no longer exists. In 2008, the majority of the General "B" Series was deaccessioned due to containing an immense amount of federally protected private information. Materials that were retained were moved to series that the archivist at the time deemed appropriate.The Invitations Series is arranged chronologically. The Legislative Series is arranged by congress, chronological by year, alphabetical by committee, then alphabetical by topic/issue. The Mail Series is arranged chronologically by year with materials then arranged alphabetically by subject for each year. The McAlester Office Series is arranged alphabetically by subject. The Miscellaneous Series appears to be arranged into groups based on the materials' content and type. The majority of the Office Series is arranged alphabetically then chronologically by year and month. After the arranged materials, there are groupings of materials based on material type and content: miscellaneous memos, telegrams, office staff, summer jobs and interns, job applicants, vouchers, miscellaneous memos, guest books. The Oversize Series appears to be arranged into groups based on material type and size with some groupings subsequently arranged alphabetically and chronologically by year. The Post Office Series is arranged alphabetically by topic and town then chronologically by year and month. The Projects Series appears to be mostly arranged by Albert's original office filing when compared to an internal "initial inventory" record of the center. The series is grouped roughly into six sections each of which is arranged alphabetically by subject or geographic location. The Speeches and Press Releases Series is arranged chronologically by year. The Travel Series is arranged chronologically by year and month. Many of the photographs in the Photographs Series are arranged into groups based on event or content. The Audio-Visual Series is arranged by format and date. Arranged by Arielle Vaverka.
The Albert Collection is arranged into 21 series: Biographical, Campaign, Clippings, Departmental, General, Invitations, Legislative, Mail, Maps, McAlester Office, Miscellaneous, Office, Oversize, Post Office, Projects, Speeches and Press Releases, Travel, Photographs, Office Exhibit, F.B.I. Files, and Audio-Visual. The materials within each series are largely organized chronologically, though some series including Biographical, McAlester Office, and Miscellaneous, are organized alphabetically. The Photographs Series is organized topically into various events and groups. Some of the series also include subseries but specific arrangement details for these are unclear.

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Accruals and additions: January 29, 1962; March 21, 1962; July-August 1966; August 1966; November 21, 1966; February 9, 1974; March 1975; April-May 1975; July 20, 1976; July 1976; August 17, 1976; August 27, 1976; August 1976; September 15, 1976; January 3, 1977; January 6, 1977; January 14, 1977; January 1980; October 15, 1981.
Guide to the Carl Albert Collection
Language of description
The collection description/finding aid is written in English
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the Carl Albert Center Congressional and Political Collections Repository

630 Parrington Oval
Room 202B
Norman Oklahoma 73109 United States