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Page H. Belcher Collection

 Collection
Identifier: CAC-CC-004
The Belcher Collection consists of 182 linear feet of material plus maps and nearly 250 photographs. Materials cover a wide-range of topics with prominence being give to agriculture, wheat, meat inspection, federal aid to education, tax legislative, social security amendments, civil rights, school prayer, oil legislation, the Vietnam War, the Republican Party, soil conservation, the Farmers Home Administration, and rural electrification. A variety of document types related to legislation exist within the Belcher Collection, particularly those found generally in congressional collections including memos, background research, bills, and publications. However, the majority of the documents is constituent correspondence and highlight Belcher’s relationships with his constituents. The Water Projects and Post Office series also provide useful insight into various projects in Oklahoma and how they altered the state.

Dates

  • 1951-1972
  • Majority of material found in 1951-1972

Language of Materials

English

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.

Extent

247.63 Linear Feet (208 containers)

Biographical Information:

Page Henry Belcher was born in Jefferson, Grant County, Oklahoma, on April 21, 1899. Educated in the public schools of Jefferson and Medford, he later studied at Friends University in nearby Wichita, Kansas, as well as at the University of Oklahoma. After military service in World War I, Belcher returned to the state university, where he studied law. Admitted to the bar in 1936, he began a legal practice in Enid.

The portion of Oklahoma that included both Jefferson and the city of Enid lay in Oklahoma's old Eighth District, one of the few dependably Republican areas for most of the state's history. Drawing the bulk of its earliest settlers from Kansas and other Midwestern areas, it had been faithfully Republican right up until 1932, when Ernest Whitworth Marland captured the congressional seat as part of Franklin Roosevelt's landslide. It was 1940 before the district elected another Republican when Ross Rizley won the seat. Belcher originally went to Washington with Rizley, as the congressman's secretary. Belcher's own role in elective politics had begun in 1934, when he had been elected county clerk of Garfield County. He subsequently had served on the Enid Board of Education. In addition, Belcher had headed the Republican Party at both the congressional district and the state levels. In 1948, Representative Rizley gave up his House seat in favor of a promising bid for the United States Senate. Harry Truman's stunning upset probably helped Democrat Robert S. Kerr defeat Rizley in the general election. George Howard Wilson was certainly indebted to Truman. Wilson's surprising victory over Milton Garber, Jr., briefly returned the Eighth District seat to the Democrats. Wilson was to serve a single term, for Belcher defeated him in 1950.

Sizable population losses that were recorded in the 1950 census cost the state two of its House seats. The Democratic legislature eased the burden upon the majority party by combining the Eighth with the First District, thereby forcing a contest between the state's only two Republican representatives, Belcher and George B. Schwabe. Belcher was the victor in 1952, and he continued to win until announcing his retirement in 1972. The lone Republican in the state delegation for most of that time, Belcher steadily rose on the House Agriculture Committee to become its ranking minority member.

Following retirement, Belcher resided in Midwest City, where he died on August 2, 1980.

Arrangement of Materials:

The Belcher Collection is arranged into 18 series. The first 11 series correlate to the eleven congresses Belcher served in: the 82nd Congress-92nd Congress (1951-1973). These series are arranged alphabetically by committee and department and then alphabetically by topic. The remaining series, Water Projects, Post Office Files, Belcher Bills, Memorabilia, Maps, Photographs, and Audio-Visual, are largely arranged topically, except for Belcher Bills which are organized alphabetically by committee.

Acquisition Information:

Direct gift.
Title
Guide to the Page H. Belcher Collection
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

Contact:
630 Parrington Oval
Room 202B
Norman Oklahoma 73109 United States