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Dave McCurdy Collection

Identifier: CAC-CC-035
Legislative Files: This series contains substantial material on the following topics: agriculture, savings and loan banking and bank failures, federal budget cuts, charter schools, impact aid, foreign affairs, abortion, crime control, gun control including the Brady Bill, superconductivity, taxes, and veterans affairs.

Some topics are especially well-represented. There is a wealth of defense issue topics, including the Air Force, Army Caucus, defense authorizations, defense industrial base, military construction, and military bases located in Oklahoma, especially Tinker AFB, Altus AFB, and Fort Sill. Transportation issues, such as the commercial airline industry, the FAA and air traffic control, and raising the speed limit from 55 mph, also constitute a large volume of material. Foreign policy and politics in Central America was an important focus for McCurdy, and material about Nicaragua alone approaches a cubic foot in volume. National Service, Police Corps, youth apprenticeship, and ceasing congressional consideration of commemorative bills were all subjects of McCurdy-sponsored legislation and significant material exists for each. The legislative activities of the Mainstream Forum are also well-documented.

Material in these folders is diverse in format. Many of the documents are correspondence from other members of congress, constituents, lobbyists, agency officials, and members of McCurdy's own staff. Official House documents are common, including bill texts, committee reports, and transcripts of testimony at various hearings. Also found are many types of reference and background material, including government agency reports, Congressional Research Service briefs, booklets, brochures, and news clippings. Texts of speeches given by McCurdy and others are also present in this series.

At the end of the series are Dave McCurdy's voting records for each Congress and individual bills that he either sponsored or cosponsored. Bill files generally contain only the text or digest of the bill, but some include correspondence, committee reports, text of the public laws originating from the passage of those bills, and background material.

Chief of Staff Files: These files were compiled and used by Dave McCurdy's Washington, DC chief of staff, Steve Patterson. The material within this series covers both administrative and legislative activities. Topics that fall under administrative functions include academy appointments, case work for constituents and towns in the 4th District, correspondence, honoraria, legal matters, office policies and personnel, House pages, and recommendations. Among these topics, there is a significant amount of material about Fort Sill and the towns of Frederick and Lawton.

Legislative topics include Central America, committee chairmanships, congressional reform, intelligence, Mainstream Forum, National Service, the U.S. Postal Training Center in Norman, and relationships and interactions with other members of Congress.

This series also contains several folders of campaign material, including brochures for McCurdy and many other members of Congress, correspondence, campaign regulations, and radio and television advertisement transcripts.

Transcripts of several of McCurdy's speeches are included in this series, including two announcements of candidacy for the House and a speech seconding the presidential nomination of Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in 1992.

Correspondence Files: This series contains constituent letters concerning legislation, case work, and personal correspondence. Material is separated by year and then arranged alphabetically by the correspondent's last name. Folder-level inventories list topics and correspondent names that appear at least twice in that folder. Also included are VIP correspondent names. At the end of the series is .5 cubic feet of ROBOs, standard answer letters that McCurdy's office sent concerning common issues.

Topics that are well-represented include abortion, agriculture, animal rights, arts and humanities funding, crime control, defense issues, dietary supplement regulation, education, energy, the environment, federal budget, federal deficit, foreign affairs, gay rights, gun control, health care reform, military personnel, Oklahoma Indian tribes, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, postal service, religious freedom, smoking, Social Security, taxes, telecommunications industry, trade and trade agreements, U.S. military actions in other countries, veterans benefits, welfare programs, and Whitewater scandal.

There is very little paper correspondence for the years 1983 through 1989 except for a few items moved from other series in this collection. Microfilm exists for correspondence occurring between 1981 and 1985 and can be found in Box 69, though there is no inventory.

Press and Clippings Files: Material in this series covers the entire span of McCurdy's career in office. Box 44 contains official press releases from McCurdy's office, reactions to specific issues, transcripts of appearances on television shows such as "Meet the Press" and CNN "Crossfire," and lists of requests for interviews from reporters and news agencies. Also included are editorials written by McCurdy for various newspapers, including some of his periodic "Eye on Congress" columns. The remaining boxes contain clippings from Oklahoma and national newspapers, as well as articles from national journals and magazines. Topics in this series cover all aspects of McCurdy's congressional activities including the House of Representatives, Congress, committees, other members of Congress and government officials, national issues, Oklahoma issues, Oklahoma people and places, district events and task forces, and significant coverage of elections and campaigns, both in Oklahoma and across the nation. There are also articles about Dave McCurdy's personal life, including a few profiles of Dr. Pam McCurdy.

The press items mentioned above precede the clippings, and both groups are arranged chronologically. Clippings are preserved on acid-free paper and are labeled with the publication source name and date. The contents of each folder is inventoried by subject.

Office Files: The majority of material in this series is composed of appointments, invitations, and trip files. Appointment files generally contain appointment books, daily schedules, or correspondence. Invitation files contain correspondence from friends, groups in Oklahoma, several members of congress, and presidents concerning events in both Oklahoma and around the nation. Trip files contain travel information, correspondence, and event information. Many trip files concern conferences, campaigning, official committee trips, and the Democratic Leadership Council. This series also contains a few guest books, biographical materials on Dave McCurdy and Pam McCurdy, and personnel files. Topics such as Close Up, the Congressional Arts Caucus arts competition, the 1984 Democratic National Convention, and the bicentennial of the Great Compromise and the Constitution are also represented.

Carl Wood Addition: This material was donated by Carl Wood, a former staffer for Dave McCurdy. Wood worked in the Norman 4th Congressional District office in 1994 and his primary responsibilities were case work and routine office duties. Wood also served on McCurdy's campaign staff in 1982-1984 and 1992-1993. Wood's position in the 1992 campaign was assistant to the campaign treasurer and coordinator.

The two strengths of this series are campaign material and Congressional Research Service background material on important political issues. Campaign files include party platforms, clippings about McCurdy and other candidates, and bumper stickers. The majority of this material concerns the 1994 Oklahoma Senate and House 4th District campaigns. The Congressional Research Service files contain Information Packs, Issue Briefs, and Reports for Congress about a variety of topics important between 1991-1994.

Audiovisual Materials: This series offers a unique opportunity to see and hear Dave McCurdy in person. There are 70 video cassette tapes, mainly of McCurdy's appearances on news broadcasts and talk shows. All but two videos have excellent picture and sound quality. There are 9 audio cassette tapes of radio broadcasts. Also in this series are 17 1/4" magnetic audio tape reels, most of which were found unlabeled, and 2 magnetic video tapes used as master copies.

Memorabilia: This series contains the few items of memorabilia donated by Dave McCurdy with his congressional papers. There are four plaques, a souvenir leather business card case, honorary degree diploma, and a desk name plate.

Oversize Materials: Materials too large for standard archival boxes have been separated to oversize boxes. The majority of these materials are issues of "Dave McCurdy Reports," news bulletins sent to constituents in the 4th Congressional District.

Four large maps were removed to the maps case.
The McCurdy Collection is 66 linear feet plus audio-visual and oversized materials. The collection includes materials related to a variety of topics prominent during McCurdy’s service in Congress, but the strengths of collection are found in the topics that McCurdy engaged with—particularly foreign policy and politics in Central America, defense appropriations and growth, and transportation industry issues. The materials include correspondence, background material, memos, notes, speeches, clippings, publications, and copies of bills. The Chief of Staff and Carl Wood Addition series demonstrate how staffers in McCurdy’s office functioned and provide interesting insight into congressional offices. The Audio-Visual materials are rather extensive and showcase McCurdy’s appearances on news broadcasts and talk shows. The Photographs series, with over 1,500 images, includes not only professional photographs, but many photos taken by McCurdy himself or a staffer—including some which document McCurdy’s trips to El Salvador and the Soviet Union.


  • 1981-1996

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Access to audiovisual and digital materials is by appointment only, due to the technical requirements to view this media.

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.


91.88 Linear Feet (89 containers)

Biographical Information:

Dave McCurdy was born in Canadian, Texas on March 30, 1950. He received a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Oklahoma and was a Rotary graduate fellow in international economics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In 1975 McCurdy was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar and served as Oklahoma state assistant attorney general from 1975 to 1977. He attained the rank of major in the United States Air Force Reserve.

In 1980, as a Democrat, McCurdy was elected Oklahoma's Fourth District representative to the Ninety-seventh Congress, and retained his seat throughout the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1981-January 3, 1995). He was a member of the Armed Services Committee and Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and was Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was also active in the Coalition for a Democratic Majority, Task Force on Foreign Policy and Defense, Army Caucus, Sunbelt Caucus, Mainstream Forum, House Rural Health Coalition, and was national vice-chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. In 1994 he was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate.

Following his unsuccessful Senate race, McCurdy founded a consulting and investment firm and began a career as an industry lobbyist. He has served as president and CEO of the Electronic Industries Alliance, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and the American Gas Association. McCurdy has been a member of the Secretary of Defense's Policy Board since 2008 and is chairman of the board of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Arrangement of Materials:

This collection is arranged into 12 thematic series. The Legislative Series is organized alphabetically by subject, corresponding loosely to the House committee structure and generally maintaining the folder titles used by McCurdy's staff. Material within each subject is arranged chronologically. The Chief of Staff Series is arranged alphabetically by topic, and chronologically within each folder. This arrangement maintains the original order of the files. The Correspondence series is separated by year and then arranged alphabetically by the correspondent's last name. The Press and Clippings series is arranged into two groups by material type: press, clippings. The press items precede the clippings, and both groups are arranged chronologically. The contents of each folder is inventoried by subject. The Office Files Series begins with office administration files, and the following material is separated by year and then arranged alphabetically. The Carl Wood Addition Series is arranged alphabetically by topic, and chronologically within each folder. The majority of the Audiovisual series is generally arranged chronologically. No discernable arrangement. The Oversize Materials series is arranged by material type then chronologically. Many of the photographs are grouped by content or event. The Digital Materials series is arranged chronologically by year and month with undated materials sorted to the end of the series.
The McCurdy is arranged into 12 series: Legislative, Chief of Staff, Correspondence, Press and Clippings, Office, Carl Wood Addition, Audio-visual Materials, Memorabilia, Oversize Materials, Maps, Photographs, and Digital Materials. Most of the materials within each series are chronologically, except for the Legislative, Chief of Staff, and Carl Wood Addition series which are organized alphabetically. The Chief of Staff series has maintained original order of the files.

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Accruals and additions: January 31-February 28, 1995 (95-1).
Guide to the Dave McCurdy Collection
Language of description
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Revision Statements

  • Summer 2018: The Summer 2018 revision of the finding aid applied continuous numbering to the photographs series. Reprocessing of the series was completed by undergraduate student Maya Bhandary.
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the Carl Albert Center Congressional and Political Collections Repository

630 Parrington Oval
Room 202B
Norman Oklahoma 73109 United States