The University of Maryland College Republican Club, originally known as the Young Republican Club, was founded in 1948 to assist in the presidential campaign of Thomas E. Dewey. The group solidified its organization through participation in the 1956 Presidential election and has in subsequent years been particularly active during major political campaigns. Until 1971, the Club's focus was off-campus, but with the passage of the 26th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, on-campus recruitment and campaigning became an important component of the group's activities. The records of the club include correspondence, constitutions, and news clippings and primarily document its interaction with national committees and inter-club dissension.
This collection is open for research.
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.
1.00 Linear Feet
The records of the University of Maryland College Republican Club span the period 1948 to 1976. The collection consists of correspondence, newsletters, minutes, constitutions, convention materials, newspaper clippings, and information gleaned for a club history. The records also contain correspondence, newsletters, and directives from the Maryland Federation of the College Republicans and the College Republican National Committee. In addition, the files include a significant grouping of campaign materials directed toward students from the 1972 presidential election.
Among the correspondents represented in the collection are various presidents of the club, particularly Alan Virta, who served as president of the UMCP club (1971-1973) and as Chairman of the Maryland Federation of College Republicans (1973-1974). Other significant correspondents are George Bush, Chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973-1975), and Karl C. Rove, Chairman of the College Republican National Committee (1973-1974).
Documentation of particular interest includes correspondence relating to a dissenting group within the Maryland Federation of College Republicans that formed the New Maryland Majority in 1973. Also included is correspondence and newspaper clippings pertaining to the controversial election of Karl C. Rove as Chairman of the College Republican National Committee in 1973.
A Republican student organization was first established at the University of Maryland at College Park in 1948. The April 4, 1948 issue of the Diamondback states that the new organization was to be called the "Young People's Republican Club." The club was ostensibly formed to assist in the presidential campaign of Thomas E. Dewey. A photocopy of a 1948 group photograph suggests that the club's actual name may have been the "University of Maryland Young Republican Club." Apparently the group met sporadically and was most active during political campaigns.
The Young Republican Club was particularly active during the 1956 presidential campaign, and this involvement gave the club a measure of stability. This year is generally regarded as the founding date of the club, but the first constitution is dated February 1959. This constitution states that the "name of this organization shall be the University of Maryland Young Republican Club." It further outlines the objectives of the club, its officer structure, meeting times, and other administrative matters, and provides for possible amendments.
In February 1960, the University of Maryland Young Republican Club was one of the delegations at the first Region III Convention of Young Republicans held at Charleston, West Virginia. The University of Maryland group remained active in the regional organization and was also active in the Maryland Federation of College Republicans, which was founded in the early 1960s. Many University of Maryland students have served as officers and committee members of both organizations.
In 1964, a new constitution was drafted and approved by the club. The club recognized that it was "subject to the jurisdiction of the Faculty Senate Committee on Student Life, the Student Government Association, and the right of review of the President of the University or his specifically designated representative. It dropped the offices of "Publicity Chariman" and "Secretary" and added the offices of "Corresponding Secretary" and "Recording Secretary." The new constitution also allowed the president to appoint standing committees with the approval of the executive board. During an inter-club power struggle in 1968, the 1964 constitution was declared invalid by the Student Activities Office, as it had never been approved by the Faculty Senate. In April 1968, the Faculty Senate approved the 1964 constitution, but a new constitution was already being drafted.
On May 14, 1969, the club adopted a new constitution which changed the name of the group to the "University of Maryland College Young Republican Club." It restricted membership to full-time day students, but it dropped the requirement limiting membership only to students between the ages of 17 and 36; however, the constitution did state that officers should be under the age of 26. This was a reaction to the earlier power struggle in which older club members were apparently wielding too much influence.
Another constitution was adopted in 1971 which opened membership to all UMCP students and classified membership into three categories: active, associative, and honorary. The new constitution brought about a significant reorganization of the executive board. The two vice presidents were replaced by four: an executive vice president, a commuter vice president, a residence halls vice president, and a fraternity/sorority vice president. Under this new constitution, the two secretary positions were combined into one, and the word "Young" was dropped from the group's name, making it the "University of Maryland College Republican Club." The organization is now more commonly known as the "College Republicans."
With the ratification of the 26th Amendment in 1971 lowering the legal voting age to 18, the club's activities were directed toward recruiting students, rather than off-campus work. This new approach was manifested in the campus canvas. Club members interviewed students to determine party affiliation and to make them aware of the Republican Party and its candidates. The success of this activity in 1971 led to its use in subsequent years as a means of recruitment and public awareness. The club was very active in the 1970s, particularly in the 1972 presidential campaign.
Several siginificant achievements were accomplished under the leadership of Greg Hollen, who became president after the resignation of Tom Kelley in 1974. A campaign to get office space in the student union was first initiated in 1971. These efforts reached fruition in March 1974, when the College Republicans were granted space on the third floor of the student union. Hollen, who lived on campus and was active in his fraternity, led the club into a stronger involvement in campus politics. In 1974, the club worked in the Student Government Association (SGA) elections and petitioned for SGA funding.
The club remains active in campus politics as well as local, state, and national elections and Republican Party affairs.
This collection is organized as four series:
The records of the University of Maryland College Republican Club were donated by Alan Virta, past president of the club, in 1985.
Four series have been created from the records of the University of Maryland College Republican Club. Duplicates have been discarded. All paper clips and rubber bands have been removed. The materials have been placed into acid-free folders and boxes. Oversize posters have been transferred to flat storage.