Minnesota Historical Society to Digitize and Make Available Hubert H. Humphrey's Public Speeches





This month, the Minnesota Historical Society began a year long project to digitize and make available the manuscripts and audio recordings of Hubert H. Humphrey's public speeches. The speech texts, part of the larger Humphrey Papers (1883-1982) housed at the Society, contains 32,000 pages of drafts, typescripts, and transcripts for nearly every public speech dating from 1941, when Humphrey entered local Minnesota politics, until his death in 1978.

The project also includes the digitizing of audio recordings of at least 50 particularly important speeches including his address at the 1948 Democratic National Convention, which helped launch his national career. In the stirring speech he argued in favor of a strong civil rights plank in the party's platform.

Humphrey began his political career when he was elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1945. In November 1948, shortly after his speech at the 1948 Democratic National Convention, voters in Minnesota elected him to the United States Senate.

He ran as the Vice Presidential nominee with President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The ticket was elected in November in a Democratic landslide. In 1968, Humphrey was the Democratic Party's candidate for President, but he was defeated narrowly by Richard M. Nixon. After the defeat, Humphrey returned to Minnesota to teach at the University of Minnesota and Macalester College. He returned to the U.S. Senate in 1971, and he won re-election in 1976. He died January 13, 1978 of cancer.

When complete, this project will document the path of Humphrey's career, his evolving political thinking, and the maturation and high-water mark of the liberal tradition in 20th century American politics and government.

Commenting on Humphrey's legacy shortly after he passed, Republican Strom Thurmond said "Here, then, is the nation’s true consolation: That voice that could not be silenced in life—that famous, unmistakable voice, instantly recognized throughout the land—will not be silenced in death. Hubert Humphrey will go on talking down the ages, to us, to our descendents, as long as the Republic endures."

The Humphrey Papers include the speech text files, U.S. Senate and Vice-Presidential files, as well as materials pertaining to Humphrey's family and personal life and his 1968 presidential and 1970 Senate campaigns.

The public can access the digitized speeches online through the Society's new finding aids search page. New content will be posted monthly in the What's New section.

This project is supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) administered by the National Archives.




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