Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy, Governor Robert B. Meyner, and Governor of New York, William Averell Harriman at the National Governors' Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1956.

Series I: Robert Baumle Meyner

Subseries 1, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, contains unpublished biographies, clippings, and memorabilia. This subseries includes transcripts of two oral histories, several unpublished biographical essays, and an extensive newspaper clippings file (1942-1990) documenting Meyner's career. There are also miscellaneous school and family records and memorabilia from Meyner's youth and political life. The U.S. Naval Reserves material contains chronologically arranged records relating to his naval service. Commander Robert B. Meyner served in active duty from 1942 to 1945 and inactive duty from 1945-1966. Meyner served on numerous Naval Reserve training cruises and completed several correspondence courses. These files contain correspondence and officer qualification and fitness reports which are unique source of further biographical information. The citations and awards file documents the various honors received by Meyner and contains a large collection of plaques, certificates, and honorary degrees. In addition to originals, there is also a list of transcribed awards and citations that were discarded. This subseries also contains Meyner's Weaver's Union Dues Card from the Gunning Silk Company, notebooks from college and law school, and various membership and identification cards. Of special interest are cartoons by editorial cartoonists Herbert Lawrence Block, B. Canfield, William H. Crawford, and Bolton Schwartz. These sketches date from Meyner's terms in office as governor of New Jersey, and appeared in various New Jersey and national newspapers, including the Washington Post and the Newark Evening News. The original artwork is located in Series IV, along with other oversize memorabilia, and original etching by New Jersey artist George A. Bradshaw.

Subseries 2, CORRESPONDENCE, is arranged into three files. The first file contains correspondence with family members and is arranged alphabetically and includes both incoming and outgoing letters. This subseries also contains Sophia Meyner's correspondence (1954-1957) during the years when she served as "first lady" of New Jersey to her bachelor son. These files consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence and contain many invitations to functions and letters from well-wishers; Alma Janci served as her secretary. Sophia Meyner was particularly active on behalf of the Infantile Paralysis and National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She initiated a fund-raising campaign by hosting coffee parties at private homes in New Jersey, a tradition which many women in the state followed. Sophia Meyner's soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Helen Day Stevenson began joining Mrs. Meyner in her fund-raising appearances in 1956-1957. The second file in this subseries contains Robert Meyner's correspondence (1929-1937, 1941, 1950-1955), primarily while attending college and law school, with individuals and organizations and is arranged alphabetically. This file contains incoming correspondence from fellow Lafayette students Samuel Bertolet, Jr. '31, Robert H. Bloomfield '30, John G. Callender '30, Hugh W. Heim '31, John R. Lindsey, '33, John O.J. Shellenberger, Jr. '29, William R. Sisley '30, and John Stouffer '30.

There also is correspondence with Lafayette College professor of Government and Law, Miller D. Steever and Eugene B. Chase, and Lafayette College president William M. Lewis. Of particular interest in this subseries is a file which contains correspondence and other material documenting some of Meyner's activities while editor-in-chief of The Lafayette, the college's student newspaper. This file also includes correspondence with Lafayette alumni, Robert Tinsman '01 and David B. Skillman '15. There is also correspondence with other friends, including Horton Cowles, Robert Meyner's classmate at Columbia Law School, and Lois Webster. Correspondence with the National Map Company and various teachers' agencies document Meyner's interest in various careers as he was nearing graduation from college (1930). The third file in this subseries contains Meyner's incoming and outgoing VIP correspondence and is arranged alphabetically. Correspondents include Dean Acheson, Brendan Byrne, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Mike Mansfield, Walter Mondale, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Adlai Stevenson, among others.

Subseries 3, NEW JERSEY SUBJECTS, is an alphabetically arranged subject file, (the original folder titles have been retained) containing Robert Meyner's correspondence during his campaign and the months between his 1953 election and January 1954 inauguration as governor of New Jersey; some of the correspondence dates into his first term as governor. The material filed here was kept at Meyner's Phillipsburg home and managed by his secretary Dorothy Smith, his niece. This file contains incoming and outgoing correspondence with constituents, representatives of special interests, and Democratic party activists in New Jersey. Filed under subjects like Education, Garden State Parkway, Highways, Housing, Racing Commission, many of these files contain patronage-related correspondence and documents local party activities and organization, political appointments, and Meyner's preparation of his legislative agenda. The correspondence also contains letters from constituents informing the governor-elect of their problems with particular departments of the state government. Some of the more prominently represented subjects include the activities of the Democratic party and appointments in various counties of New Jersey, with individual files for Atlantic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Passaic, and Sussex Counties. Substantial material is also included on union and veterans issues and bingo, the legalization of which was one of Meyner's prominent legislative proposals. In addition to correspondence, these subject files also contain memoranda, reports, and some speeches.

Subseries 4, POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS, provides a glimpse of Meyner's various campaigns for political office at the state and national level between 1941 and 1969. It contains mostly printed material, but also includes some correspondence and speeches. Of particular interest are the reports and vote tallies documenting Meyner's request for a ballot recount after his contested defeat by Wayne Dumont in 1951. Material from his gubernatorial campaign in 1953 includes some correspondence, campaign pamphlets and flyers, and a nearly complete collection of press releases issued by Meyner's campaign headquarters in Trenton, New Jersey. Of special interest is a scrapbook presented to him on the activities of nationality groups that worked in support of his campaign in 1953. This scrapbook contains various documents, including newspaper clippings and a list of highlights of nationality group activities, including a tally of phone calls, rallies, letters, and newspaper stories, that provide an unique outline of the activities of the American-Armenian, Polish- American, American-Hellenic, and Greek-American Democratic Clubs; Puerto-Rican Political Association; Ukrainian-American Democratic Committee; Jewish Fraternal Group; Italian-American League; and Americans of German Descent. This subseries also contains some material about Meyner's campaign to reclaim his gubernatorial seat in 1969. A large collection of memorabilia from Meyner's various campaigns can be found in Series IV.

Subseries 5, TRAVEL FILE, primarily contains itineraries, some correspondence, and related material documenting Meyner's official engagements and private vacations during the latter part of his life. Meyner frequently travelled within the United States to attend board meetings of Prudential Insurance Company and Engelhard Industries Ltd. (Minerals and Chemicals Corporation). Meyner's other excursions were frequently made in the company of his wife Helen, and often involved official state visits with government dignitaries of foreign nations, but also vacations with personal friends.


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© Lafayette College Libraries, Easton, PA
April 1996