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Theodore R. McKeldin papers

 Collection 0105-MDHC
Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin was born in south Baltimore in 1900 and graduated from the University of Maryland Law School with a bachelor's degree in law in 1925. McKeldin's political career in Maryland spans five decades, beginning with his political appointment as executive secretary to Mayor William F. Broening of Baltimore in 1927. McKeldin was mayor of Baltimore himself from 1943 to 1947. As governor of Maryland from 195l to 1959, McKeldin launched a vigorous program of reform and reconstruction, which included the Sobeloff Commission on State Government and Bureaucratic Administration and a twelve year plan for state highway construction. He achieved nationwide prominence at the 1952 Republican Convention when he was selected to nominate Dwight D. Eisenhower for the presidency. During McKeldin's second term as mayor, which lasted from 1963 to 1967, he embarked upon a wide ranging program of urban renewal, which included the beginnings of the redevelopment of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, construction of a new municipal building, and the planned elimination of the city's slums. McKeldin also continued to support the civil rights movement by hosting a meeting of the Congress of Racial Equality in July 1966. After his retirement from the Baltimore political scene, McKeldin's interests and activities remained varied. In 1967, President Johnson appointed him to a panel of American observers chosen to supervise the September elections in South Vietnam. In 1968, McKeldin testified in opposition to capital punishment before the United States Congress. He was a vocal supporter of the state of Israel, founder and president of the America-Israel Society, and he assisted with the sale of Israeli war bonds throughout the 1960s. McKeldin retired in 1968 and died on August 10, 1974, at the age of seventy-three. The Papers of Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin include speeches (largely delivered during his gubernatorial years); appointment books; office files (mostly gubernatorial); papers from national conferences which he attended; books, programs, pamphlets, brochures; and other miscellaneous materials. There are also scrapbooks of newspaper articles pertaining to his career, audiotapes of various speeches, photographs, and memorabilia.

Dates

  • 1880-1980
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1970

Creator

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

49.50 Linear Feet (49.50 linear feet, 43 volumes, and 37 items of memorabilia)

49.50 Linear Feet

80 items (43 volumes and 37 items of memorabilia)

Scope and Content of Collection

The Theodore R. McKeldin papers, which cover the period 1880 to 1980, include speeches (largely delivered during his gubernatorial years); appointment books; office files (mostly gubernatorial); papers from national conferences which he attended; books, programs, pamphlets, brochures; and other miscellaneous materials. There are also scrapbooks of newspaper articles pertaining to his career, audiotapes of various speeches, photographs, and memorabilia.

Biography

Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin was born in south Baltimore on November 20, 1900. His father, James A. McKeldin, was a Scots Irish stonecutter from Baltimore, who later became a City policeman. His grandfather, also a stonecutter, was from Belfast and may have been the son of Joseph McKeldin, also from Belfast, listed in British Aliens in the U.S. during the War of 1812, compiled by Kenneth Scott and published by the Genealogical Publishing Company of Baltimore, 1979. Edward Hazelton McKeldin, his grandfather, was killed fighting with the Union Army at the Battle of the Monocacy, Frederick County, Maryland, on July 9, 1864, and is buried at the National Cemetery at Antietam. His mother, Dora Greif McKeldin, was the daughter of German immigrants. McKeldin married Honolulu Claire Manzer in 1935; they had two children, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., and Clara Whitney.

In 1925, McKeldin graduated from the University of Maryland Law School with a bachelor's degree in law. He later studied economics at Johns Hopkins University. In 1927, he established a law practice with Charles E. Moylan and Michael Paul Smith. McKeldin soon interrupted his practice to accept a political appointment as executive secretary to Mayor William F. Broening of Baltimore, whom he supported in the 1927 election. He returned to his private law practice in 1931.

Eight years later, McKeldin ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Baltimore, losing to Howard W. Jackson. He suffered another setback in 1942 when he opposed Herbert R. O'Conor in the Maryland gubernatorial race. The following year, however, he defeated Jackson in the race for mayor of Baltimore.

McKeldin served as mayor of Baltimore from 1943 to 1947. Among the achievements of his administration were the completion of Friendship Municipal Airport (now Baltimore Washington International Airport); the construction of a new civic center; and the management of Baltimore's wartime economy. He also appointed the first African American to the Baltimore School Board, which earned him a reputation as an advocate of racial integration and civil rights.

In 1946, McKeldin again lost his bid for the governorship--this time to William Preston Lane, Jr. Four years later, however, McKeldin faced Lane again and successfully used an anti sales tax platform to defeat him. As governor of Maryland from 1951 to 1959, McKeldin launched a vigorous program of reform and reconstruction, which included the Sobeloff Commission on State Government and Bureaucratic Administration and a twelve year plan for state highway construction. He achieved nationwide prominence at the 1952 Republican Convention when he was selected to nominate Dwight D. Eisenhower for the presidency.

In 1959, McKeldin ran again for mayor of Baltimore, losing this time to Harold Grady. He retired to private law practice with his associate, William Adelson. In 1963 he returned to public life, narrowly defeating Philip H. Goodman in the race for mayor of Baltimore.

During McKeldin's second term as mayor, which lasted from 1963 to 1967, he embarked upon a wide ranging program of urban renewal, which included the beginnings of the redevelopment of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, construction of a new municipal building, and the planned elimination of the city's slums. McKeldin also continued to support the civil rights movement by hosting a meeting of the Congress of Racial Equality in July 1966.

After his retirement from the Baltimore political scene, McKeldin's interests and activities remained varied. In 1967, President Johnson appointed him to a panel of American observers chosen to supervise the September elections in South Vietnam. In 1968, McKeldin testified in opposition to capital punishment before the United States Congress. He was a vocal supporter of the state of Israel, founder and president of the America-Israel Society, and he assisted with the sale of Israeli war bonds throughout the 1960s.

Among his many publications were The Art of Eloquence (1952), co authored with John C. Krantz; Washington Bowed (1956), which was reprinted as Hats for General Washington in 1973; and No Mean City: An Inquiry in Civic Greatness (1964).

McKeldin retired in 1968 and died on August 10, 1974, at the age of seventy-three.

Arrangement

This collection is organized as nine series:
Series 1
Speeches, Addresses, Remarks, and Writings
Series 2
Office Files
Series 3
Conferences, Trips, Official Visits, and Events
Series 4
Personal Files
Series 5
Scrapbooks
Series 6
Ephemera
Series 7
Photographs
Series 8
Audio-Visual Materials
Series 9
Memorabilia

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Theodore R. McKeldin donated part of the collection to the University of Maryland College Park Libraries in 1968, after he retired from public office. This accession included papers and memorabilia. His wife, Honolulu Claire McKeldin, donated additional materials (more memorabilia, plus speeches and reports) to the University in 1974, following her husband's death. McKeldin's daughter-in-law, Courtney McKeldin, donated substantial amounts of photographs, memorabilia, and correspondence in 1989. An autographed copy of McKeldin's Washington Bowed was withdrawn from the University of Maryland Libraries' general stacks in 1991 and added to the collection. In 1994, the University of Baltimore transferred speeches, correspondence and newspaper clippings, which were interfiled with the existing collection in 2001. Courtney McKeldin donated one box of speeches in 2006, which were incorporated immediately into the collection. In 2015, Theodore and Courtney McKeldin donated two Bibles related to McKeldin's 1951 and 1955 inaugurations.

Related Material

Materials related to McKeldin's terms as governor can be found at the Maryland State Archives, while mayoral materials are located at the Baltimore City Archives.

Separated Material

The following photographs are located in the Archives and Manuscripts Department photograph vertical file, under the heading "McKeldin, Theodore."
  1. 363 (formal portrait as governor), 1951-1959
  2. 936 (Dedication of Kennedy Highway), 1950s
  3. 955 (University of Maryland, Football, Queen's Game), 1957
  4. 956 (University of Maryland, Football, Queen's Game), 1957
  5. 957 (University of Maryland, Football, Queen's Game), 1957
  6. 958 (University of Maryland, Football, Queen's Game), 1957
  7. 959 (University of Maryland, Football, Queen's Game), 1957
  8. 974 (University of Maryland, Football, Queen's Game), 1957
  9. 1095 (University of Maryland, Statues, Bust of McKeldin in Maryland Room, McKeldin Library), 1960s
  10. 1096 (McKeldin with University of Maryland alumnus Chester Adam - filed with photograph #363), 1958
  11. 1575 (University of Maryland, Ceremonies, Groundbreaking, McKeldin Library), 1958
  12. 1576 (University of Maryland, Ceremonies, Groundbreaking, McKeldin Library), 1958
  13. 1577 (University of Maryland, Ceremonies, Groundbreaking, McKeldin Library), 1958
  14. 1578 (University of Maryland, Ceremonies, Groundbreaking, McKeldin Library), 1958
  15. 1579 (University of Maryland, Ceremonies, Groundbreaking, McKeldin Library), 1958
  16. 1580 (University of Maryland, Ceremonies, Groundbreaking, McKeldin Library), 1958
  17. 1581 (University of Maryland, Ceremonies, Groundbreaking, McKeldin Library), 1958
  18. 1589 (University of Maryland, Ceremonies, Groundbreaking, McKeldin Library), 1958
  19. 1592 (University of Maryland, Ceremonies, Groundbreaking, McKeldin Library), 1958
  20. 1594 (University of Maryland, Ceremonies, Groundbreaking, McKeldin Library), 1958
  21. 1685 (University of Maryland, Buildings, Health Sciences Library, Groundbreaking), 1960
  22. 1686 (University of Maryland, Buildings, Health Sciences Library, Groundbreaking), 1960
  23. 7406 (Dr. Wilson H. Elkins), [n.d.]
  24. 11296 (Lathrop E. Smith Collection), [n.d.]
Twenty-seven manuscripts in the form of poems, letters, and diaries documenting different aspects of Maryland history were transferred to the Maryland Manuscripts collection (MDMS numbers 5446-5472).

Publications transferred to the Marylandia and Rare Books Department:

Books and Pamphlets

  1. Communications from the Executive of Maryland to the Legislature, Annapolis, May 17, 1813.
  2. The Catechism of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Baltimore: Edward J. Coale. Kennedy and Magauran, Printers, 1818.
  3. Speech of the Hon. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, on Basis of Representation. Delivered in the Senate of the United States, February 9, 1866.
  4. Washington's Farewell Address to the People of the United States. Baltimore: Printed by John L. Cook, 1810.

Maps

  1. Historical Map of Old Baltimore. Published by the Savings Bank of Baltimore, reprinted to commemorate the Bank's 150th Anniversary, 1818-1968.
  2. Easton and Its Environs - About 1712. To the Honorable Theodore R. McKeldin, Governor of Maryland in grateful appreciation of his assistance in the opening of Talbottown. From the Merchants of Talbottown, March 14, 1957.

Processing Information

Initially, the original order of the papers was preserved as much as possible. An exception was a small number of speeches, which were originally filed according to subject matter. They were interfiled with all other chronologically arranged speeches and an index to these speeches was prepared to capture their subject content.

Additional speeches were incorporated into the collection in June 1987 and fall 2001. Headings on these folders were noted and added to the speech subject index. The speeches were then interfiled chronologically and appropriate notations were made in brackets in the chronological index. Some previously undated speeches were given short span or circa dates and added to the dated collection according to the earliest proposed year. All duplicates were discarded. In 2001, the series were rearranged to reflect the large volume of office files acquired in the late 1980s. Most of the photographs were added to the processed collection in 2001 and were unrolled and flattened as necessary.

Three of the scrapbooks, documenting the years 1932 to 1937 were microfilmed, although the originals were maintained.

Twenty-seven manuscripts in the form of poems, letters, and diaries documenting different aspects of Maryland history were transferred to the Maryland Manuscripts collection (MDMS numbers 5446-5472) and four books and two maps were incorporated into the Marylandia and Rare Books collection (See the Appendix).

Staples were removed from all materials and replaced by plastic paper clips. Papers that had suffered from water damage were separated piece by piece and then clipped together with plastic paper clips. The scrapbooks were placed in flat acid free boxes without any further processing for preservation. All other notebooks have been dismantled, and the contents placed in acid free folders in their original order. All files have been placed in acid free folders and boxes.
Title
Guide to the Theodore R. McKeldin papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by William Peniston.
Date
1985-05
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 1986-04: Revised by Leslie P. May.
  • 2002-11: Revised by Elisabeth Proffen, Sarah Heim, and Jennie A. Levine.
  • 2006-06: Revised by Jennie A. Levine and Janna Robinson.
  • 2007-04-15: EAD markup checked and verified using JEdit software by Jennie A. Levine.
  • 2008-07: Revised by Grant Hamming.
  • 2016: Minor revisions made by Maya Riser-Kositsky.
  • 2017-07-19: Finding aid checked and revised following ArchivesSpace migration by Emily Flint.
  • 2018-04-03: Finding aid reviewed and minor updates made by Caitlin Rizzo.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Library

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212