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Frank Carlson papers : Collection 92

Creator: Carlson, Frank, 1893-1987

Date: 1935-1968

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Manuscripts Collection 92

Unit ID: 40092

Biographical sketch: Farmer, stockman, U.S. representative 1935-46, Kansas governor 1947-50, U.S. senator 1950-69 (Republican); of Concordia.

Abstract: The Frank Carlson papers consist primarily of correspondence, House and Senate resolutions, speeches, and certificates documenting Carlson's service as a United States representative and senator from Kansas. The papers are generally organized by Congress and include the 81st to the 90th Congress. They are further organized alphabetically by topic or correspondent. The correspondence is between Carlson, colleagues, legislators, and constituents concerning legislation, education, the George-Barden Act, agriculture, foreign policy, the army, campaigns, Dwight Eisenhower's presidential campaign, radio, selective service, labor, soil, civil service, small business, Cuba, Russia, communism, West Point nominations, other nominations, minimum wage, flood control, athletics, Social Security, and the National Prayer Breakfast. The speeches are organized by date or alphabetically and were presented to various interest groups and organizations. Topics include foreign and domestic policy, agriculture, and national security. Also included are certificates of election to the U.S. Senate from the Kansas secretary of State, materials on the Council of State Governments 9th Annual Assembly (1948), and programs and invitations pertaining to President John F. Kennedy's funeral.

Space Required/Quantity: 289.50 cubic feet

Title (Main title): Frank Carlson papers : Collection 92

Titles (Other):

  • Papers
  • Collection 92


Biog. Sketch (Full):
Frank Carlson, the son of Swedish immigrants, was born January 23, 1893, near Concordia, Kansas. He attended public schools, Concordia (Kans.) Normal and Business College, and Kansas State College (now University) at Manhattan. During World War I, he served as a private in the United States Army. Prior to entering politics he made a living as a stock raiser and farmer in his native Cloud County.

Anecdotally, Carlson was in a wheat field, cutting wheat, when four businessmen approached him in 1928 urging him to run for the Kansas House of Representatives. He won that election and served two terms.

Following his tenure in the Kansas Legislature, he ran for election in 1934 for the United States House of Representatives, winning three elections in twelve years. From there, Carlson turned his sights on the Kansas Governor’s Office, winning in 1946 and in 1948.

When United States Senator Clyde Reed died in 1949, Governor Carlson appointed Harry Darby, a prominent Kansas City industrialist, to fill the vacancy.

Carlson's administration as governor was known for extensive highway building programs, rural health programs, and reforms and improvements to Kansas’ mental hospitals. Prior to Carlson’s administration, Kansas had been rated as being in fortieth place nationally in terms of the condition of its mental hospitals. By the summer of 1950, Kansas jumped to eleventh place as a result of Carlson's efforts to improve Kansas' state mental health facilities.

While governor, Carlson presided over the removal of Prohibition in Kansas. "I'm a teetotaler," claimed Carlson. "I don't smoke or drink, but I have no quarrel with those who do. I'm a great believer in letting the people decide."

After four years as governor from January 13, 1947, to November 28, 1950, he resigned the governorship. Frank Leslie Hagaman succeeded him as governor. Carlson assumed the United States Senate seat he won in that month's election to complete the term of Harry Darby and serve for an additional full term. He served in the Senate a total of eighteen years.

While in the Senate, Carlson served on the committee that investigated the tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy, censuring him in 1954. Carlson developed a reputation as being opposed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs and supportive of President Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights legislation.

Frank Carlson was the most successful and diverse politician in Kansas history, having served in the Kansas House, Governor's Office, and both houses of Congress. In all, he ran for office thirteen times, won each election, and spent thirty-four years in public office. Carlson attributed his success to his serious attitude in handling matters of state and having a "common touch" in dealing with people.

Following his death on May 30, 1987, Governor Mike Hayden remarked that Carlson was "one of [Kansas'] finest statesman and citizens." Senator Bob Dole claimed that Carlson "wrote the book when it came to class," and former Kansas governor and presidential candidate Alf Landon said that Carlson was "an outstanding Kansan, a faithful and dedicated public servant." The public library in Concordia and the federal building and courthouse in Topeka were named in his honor.

Scope and Content

Contents: General correspondence, 1935 (box 1) -- 81st Congress, 1949-50 (boxes 1-9) -- 82nd Congress, 1951-52 (boxes 10-16) -- 83rd Congress, 1953-54 (boxes 17-20) -- 84th Congress, 1955-56 (boxes 21-79) -- 85th Congress, 1957-58 (boxes 80-142) -- 86th Congress, 1959-60 (boxes 143-210) -- 87th Congress, 1961-62 (boxes 211-97) -- 88th Congress, 1963-64 (boxes 298-376) -- 89th Congress, 1965-66 (boxes 377-473) -- 90th Congress, 1967-68 (boxes 474-544) -- speech material file (boxes 545-47) -- speeches, 1935-1968 (boxes 548-63) -- misc. (box 564) -- daily reminder books, 1951-1963 (box 564) -- calendars, 1956-1963 (box 564) -- radio scripts, 1953-1956 (boxes 565-66) -- extension of remarks, 1954-1955 (box 566) -- press releases, 1953-1955 (boxes 566-67) -- voting record (box 567) -- audiovisual materials.

Portions of Collection Separately Described:

More separate components

Specific Contents Identified:

Headings or descriptors assigned to subsections of the material, for example labels on a particular box or group of boxes.

  • 1948-1968
  • 33 Rpm vinyl records
  • A/V Collection
  • Audio-visual materials
  • c1935-1968: Speeches


  • MS 1182: Selected papers relating to the Int'l Council for Christian Leadership & annual prayer breakfasts 1952-1966
  • MS 1308: Selected papers relating to the McCarthy censure hearings 1954-1954

Related Records or Collections

Associated materials: An Oral history, 1976 -- 1 linear ft. (2 boxes), 20 reel-to-reel audiotapes -- from Frank Carlson is at the University of Kansas Libraries (Lawrence), Kenneth Spencer Research Library, Kansas Collection: collection MS 358, Tape 31; http://etext.ku.edu/view?docId=ksrlead/ksrl.kc.carlsonfrank.xml;route=ksrlead;brand=ksrlead;query=
Other Frank Carlson materials are at the Frank Carlson Memorial Library (Concordia, Kan.)

Other Finding Aid/Index: Box list available from the Kansas Historical Society (Topeka).

Related materials: Frank Carlson 1946 Gubernatorial Campaign Papers (Manuscripts Collection 245).
Records of the Kansas governor: Frank Carlson administration (State Archives Record Group 252).

Index Terms


    United States. Army
    United States. Congress. House
    United States. Congress. Senate
    Bills, Legislative -- United States
    Speeches, addresses, etc., American
    Soviet Union
    United States
    Carlson, Frank, 1893-1987
    Carlson, Frank, 1893-1987 -- Correspondence
    Carlson, Frank, 1893-1987 -- Political activity
    Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969.
    Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
    Legislators -- United States
    Agriculture -- United States
    Athletics -- United States
    Civil service -- United States
    Draft -- Kansas
    Education -- United States
    Flood control -- Kansas
    Flood control -- United States
    International relations -- United States
    Labor -- United States
    Minimum wage -- United States
    National security -- United States
    Prayer breakfasts -- Kansas
    Presidents -- Election -- 20th century
    Radio -- United States
    Small business -- Kansas

Creators and Contributors

Additional Information for Researchers

Use and reproduction: Information on literary rights available from the Kansas Historical Society (Topeka).

Add'l physical form:
Selected papers relating to the International Council for Christian Leadership and annual prayer breakfasts, 1952-1966: Microfilmed on roll MS 1182.
Selected papers relating to the McCarthy censure hearings, 1954: Microfilmed on roll MS 1308.


General Note: Title from box list.