Rare Book & Manuscript Library

William B. Welsh papers, 1819-1956, bulk 1952-1956

Summary Information


The collection contains the papers of William B. Welsh, who served as a research and legislative assistant to Herbert H. Lehman when he was a New York senator.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1321
Bib ID 4078524 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Welsh, William B., 1924-
Title William B. Welsh papers, 1819-1956, bulk 1952-1956
Physical Description 4 linear feet (9 document boxes 1 half-size document box)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.



This collection has been arranged into nine series.


Scope and Content

The papers of William B. Welsh, research and legislative aide to U.S. Senator Herbert H. Lehman of New York, contain research files on eight subjects; civil rights, housing discrimination, communism, Constitutional amendments, immigration, Joseph McCarthy, the Refugee Relief Act, tidelands, and Vietnam. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, clippings, and research material.

  • Series I: Civil Rights, 1947-1956

    This series contains information on Lehman's efforts to support civil rights legislation. It includes material on fair employment legislation, reports and correspondence on housing discrimination, and documents on the cases of black soldiers who were denied access to classes at several Southern universities, despite a program that provided the classes for free to soldiers. There is also material on filibusters, a tactic Lehman opposed and hoped to eliminate. It includes letters from those facing discrimination, correspondence between Lehman's office and other government officials, goals and plans for meeting with officials, and press releases.

  • Series II: Communism, 1955

    Series II contains one folder of clippings and letters from the ACLU written in reaction to the booklet "How to Spot a Communist."

  • Series III: Constitutional Amendment, 1940-1956

    This series contains correspondence, fliers, clippings, press releases and other documents on two proposed amendments: the Bricker Amendment, which concerned treaty regulation, and The Lodge-Gossett Amendment, which would have eliminated the Electoral College and replaced it with a proportional electoral vote.

  • Series IV: Immigration, 1952-1955

    Material in this series relates to immigration legislation and problems faced by immigrants. It includes a wide range of documents, such as immigration and crime statistics, clippings and editorials, information on the effect of the McCarren Act on immigrants, a collection of hate literature (much of it anti-Semitic) accompanied by notes, and letters to Lehman from people who experienced problems applying for visas or with reentering the country and his responses. The series focuses primarily on European immigration, but there are two folders on illegal Mexican immigrants.

  • Series V: Joseph McCarthy, 1950-1954

    This series contains material on Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism, which Herbert Lehman opposed. It contains research and clippings, reports, press releases, and copies of Lehman's speeches on McCarthy and his charges against him. There is a folder on the McCarthy franking controversy, in which both Lehman and McCarthy accused each other of abusing franking privileges, that includes franked envelopes sent by McCarthy.

  • Series VI: Refugee Relief Act, 1954-1956

    This series is primarily concerned with efforts to amend the act and contains bills, correspondence between Lehman and his assistants, reports, visa statistics, lists of immigrants, and descriptions of individual cases.

  • Series VII: Senate Rules, 1950-1954

    Series VII holds information the Fair Committee Procedure, a proposal put forth by a group of Senators and members of the House (including Lehman) which would outline an official set of procedures to be used by all committees and subcommittees. It also includes a proposal to change rules on Senate conference reports. It contains correspondence, drafts of resolutions, and notes, among other materials.

  • Series VIII: Tidelands, 1819-1955

  • Series IX: Vietnam, 1954

    This series is comprised of one folder containing a letter from Francis Williams to Julius Edelstein, in which he discusses his views on government leadership in Asia.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); William B. Welsh papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Material

Herbert H. Lehman Papers Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

William B. Welsh - Hubert H. Humphrey Vice Presidential Files, Minnesota Historical Society

Interview with William "Bill" Welsh by Don Nicoll, Bates University

Ownership and Custodial History

Gift of William B. Welsh, 1976.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Correspondence, memoranda, clippings, research material Surveyed Julie Miller 05/--/87.

Papers processed Carolyn Smith 2013.

Finding aid written Carolyn Smith 2013.

Revision Description

2013-07-04 xml document instance created by Carolyn Smith

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Civil rights -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Communism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Constitutional amendments Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Emigration and immigration Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Emigration and immigration law -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Herbert H. Lehman Collections (Columbia University) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
International relief Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lehman, Herbert H (Herbert Henry), 1878-1963 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McCarthy, Joseph, 1908-1957 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mexico, Gulf of Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Oil fields Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Petroleum in submerged lands Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Refugees Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. Congress. Senate Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical sketch

William Brownlee Welsh was born on September 18, 1924 in Munfordville, Kentucky, the son of Mary Cox Welsh and Benjamin Tibbits Welsh. He grew up near Berea, Kentucky and attended Berea College, leaving during his sophomore year to serve in the 66th Infantry during World War II. He returned to college after the war, but took another break from his studies to help create the National Student Organization. He was elected its first president and spent a year in Madison, Wisconsin, struggling in particular with the question of racial integration, which the organization supported after much debate. He finished his senior year at Berea College in 1947.

After college, Welsh received a fellowship to the Southern Regional Training Program in Public Administration, a master's program offered through partnership between the University of Alabama, University of Tennessee, and University of Kentucky. The program gave him the opportunity to sit in on the senate of the Alabama state legislature. After graduating he went to the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University to study for a doctorate, and at the recommendation of a dean he went to work as an assistant to New York senator Herbert Lehman as soon as he finished his degree. He worked closely with Lehman's assistant Julius Edelstein.

After Lehman retired, Welsh served as research director for the Democratic National Committee, He then worked as an administrative assistant to Senator Phil Hart and later an assistant to Vice President Hubert Humphrey.