Congresswoman Helen Stevenson Meyner and President Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office at the White House, September 1978.
Subseries 1, BILL FILES, contains legislation sponsored or co-sponsored by Helen Meyner. The bills are filed in individual folders and arranged for each Congress in which Meyner served, by the various types of legislation, as follows: Bills (H.R.), House Concurrent Resolutions (H. Con. Res.), House Joint Resolutions (H.J. Res.), and House Resolutions (H. Res.). The title of each folder includes the assigned number and subject of the proposed legislation; in most cases each folder contains the text of the bill, status profile, Dear Colleague letters, clippings and reports, memoranda, and occasionally some correspondence. While these files only contain minimal background material, the research conducted by Meyner and her staff is well-documented in other files in this series. For relevant research files, the Bill Files series should be used in conjunction with other subseries, including Subseries 2 - Legislative Reference Material; Subseries 3 - Special Projects; and Subseries 10 - District Offices. Subseries 6 - Constituent Correspondence also provides valuable information on the opinions of her constituents on various legislative proposals and issues. There are both numerically and subject-arranged lists, compiled by Meyner's staff, of bills sponsored and cosponsored by Meyner in the 94th Congress in this series (Box 19, Folder 89); for a list of Meyner's bills in the 95th Congress see Subseries 5, Voting Record (Box 35, Folder 17-19 "95th Congress- Legislative Profile").
In her first term in Congress (1975-1976), Meyner emerged as a chief spokesperson for the delegation in the fight to convince the U.S. Defense Department to keep the Picatinny Arsenal in northern New Jersey at its Dover site. After intensive lobbying, the Defense Department not only decided to keep Picatinny Arsenal, but announced plans to locate its new U.S. Army Armament Research and Development Command, or ARRADCOM, at the site; Congress approved initial funding for the new facilities early in 1977. As a member of the House Committee on International Relations, Meyner also sponsored legislation or amendments designed to improve the administration of U.S. food assistance programs, and introduced an amendment to a Philippines assistance bill reducing aid by $5 million in an attempt to curtail human rights abuses by that nation's government. Meyner also introduced a 1975 Bill for humanitarian aid to Indochina. However, on April 23, 1975, by a tie vote of 200 to 200, the House of Representatives rejected the "Meyner Amendment" to House Bill 6096, the Vietnam Humanitarian Assistance and Evacuation Act of 1975. The amendment would have channeled funds for humanitarian assistance in South Vietnam through the United Nations, other international organizations, and private voluntary agencies. Meyner also sponsored legislation for the establishment of a commission to study the feasibility of creating a U.S. Center for Conflict Resolution. As a member of the Select Committee on Aging, she championed reform of the Social Security System, improvements of the poor conditions in boarding houses, and an end to mandatory retirement practices. Meyner also pushed legislation to preserve the environmental integrity of the Delaware River Basin, including a successful effort to halt the Tocks Island Dam Project in 1978.
Subseries 2, LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE MATERIAL, consists of chronologically arranged (weekly) files that contain printed material, reports, clippings, and related background material for legislative review. The bulk of the documents in these files were distributed by the Democratic Study Group (DSG) of the U.S. House of Representatives, and include Legislative Reports, Special Reports, Staff Bulletins, Fact Sheets, Daily Reports, and Whip Advisory Reports.
Subseries 3, SPECIAL PROJECTS, contains alphabetically arranged subject files containing correspondence, reports, printed matter, and related material regarding legislative proposals and issues of special interest to Meyner and her constituents in New Jersey's 13th District. While some of the topics are of national interest, most subjects address issues of particular concern to New Jersey. The files contain material regarding federal grants, government bids, and correspondence with numerous government agencies and constituents, both individuals and corporate bodies. The files in this subseries were maintained by Meyner's Administrative Assistants, Susan Perry until November 4, 1976, and then Mark Singel, who worked for Meyner at her Washington Office through the end of her second term.
Of special interest are the extensive files (1974-1978) on Meyner's efforts to save Picatinny Arsenal and the files (1973-1978) documenting her work to deauthorize the Tocks Island Dam Project. The dam project was conceived in 1955 following a devastating and fatal storm and flood in the Delaware Valley. The project was authorized in October 1962, soon went over budget and had been on hold since 1975. With the support of Senator Clifford P. Chase (R-N.J.) and House Representative Millicent Fenwick (R-5th District N.J.), legislation was introduced in the House and Senate in 1976 to remove Tocks from the congressional list of federal projects to be funded. In July 1978, with the support of the Carter Administration, the House killed the project by a vote of 275-110 and placed the dam and reservoir, a 37 mile stretch of the Delaware River area in the nation's Wild and Scenic River System. Meyner lobbied to ensure that no amendment would dilute those sections giving the full protection of this status to the Delaware River Basin. Other environmental projects of special concern to Meyner are documented in the files on the Passaic River (1973-1978) and the Wallkill River Valley flood control (1974-1978).
Because House and Senate Committee files are considered official government records, few are retained by members of Congress. The small number of files which remained in Meyner's papers can be found in Subseries 4, COMMITTEE FILES, with files from her assignment on the International Relations Committee (1975-1978) and the Select Committee on Aging (1977-1978). A few briefing books and miscellaneous background files partially document her activities on the International Relations Committee. As a member of this committee she participated in initiatives on behalf of human rights, supported a more accountable American foreign policy, and traveled with the Middle-East Study Missions in 1975 and 1978. This subseries also contains alphabetically arranged subject files documenting her participation in the Select Committee on Aging's hearings and legislative activities during the 95th Congress. Of special interest is material regarding a Congressional hearings on an Aging Committee field hearing in Hackettstown conducted by Meyner for the purpose of investigating the avocational and employment needs of retired persons. Meyner also participated in hearings on the future and the elderly, geriatric training, loneliness and alienation, organized crime and racketeering, and stereotyping and age discrimination. In addition Meyner served on the subcommittee for Federal, State and Community services. Files on this subcommittee contain correspondence, agenda, hearing transcripts (copies), and some background material.
Subseries 5, VOTING RECORD, contains various sources that document Meyner's voting record as a member of the 94th and 95th Congress. There are two large volumes for the 94th and 95th Congress which contain the Democratic Study Groups's summary of major legislation. The DSG profile includes Meyner's attendance record, recorded votes, bill outline, Meyner's position announcements, and a subject index to her voting record. This material also includes a review of position briefs, votes on key legislation, and status profiles for bills sponsored or co-sponsored by Helen Meyner. This series also contains Congressional ratings, issued by special interest groups, of Helen Meyner's voting record during her two terms. Of special interest is also a card file, maintained by her staff, arranged by subject, of Meyner's recorded votes for both terms, and reports distributed by Meyner's office to her constituents. These materials reveal Meyner as a champion of world peace and a strong supporter of cuts in defense spending, delay of the B1-Bomber, humanitarian assistance to Viet Nam, federal support for medicaid and abortion, creation of a consumer protection agency, and the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. She opposed efforts to expel Israel from the United Nations and condemned the 1975 U.N. resolution equating zionism with racism. She also opposed arms sales to Chile, continued military aid to the South Vietnam government, delay in pollution control standards, and deregulation of natural gas prices.
Subseries 6, CONSTITUENT CORRESPONDENCE, is arranged into three files: The first file, Academy Appointments (1975-1976), contains a sample of files, primarily from 1976, which document Meyner's successful nominations of candidates to the U.S. Airforce Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, Military Academy, and Naval Academy. Once Meyner's quota was filled for the year, some promising candidates were transferred for nomination by Clifford P. Case (S-N.J.) and Harrison A. Williams (Rep. - N.J.). This subseries is arranged by service academy and then alphabetically by name of applicant. Each file folder contains correspondence, applications, letters of recommendation, and miscellaneous material submitted in support of the candidate's application. Access to this file is restricted. The second file is arranged by subject and contains incoming and outgoing correspondence with New Jersey residents and some national constituents regarding legislative issues. The third file contains incoming and outgoing correspondence and is arranged by year, then alphabetically by the name of the constituent, and then by the date of the outgoing response. This third file primarily concerns legislative issues, but also includes congratulatory letters, invitations, correspondence relating to requests for private relief, government publications, questionnaires, and responses from constituents to Meyner's newsletter. The outgoing correspondence in the second and third file, prepared by members of Meyner's Washington legislative staff, frequently consist of computer generated "robos," a form letter stating Meyner's position on an issue.
Subseries 7, PERSONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE CORRESPONDENCE, contains correspondence, managed by her personal secretary Shirley A. Kalich, with colleagues, constituents, and personal friends. The letters include congratulations on election victories and comments from House members and the President on Meyners' votes. The correspondence with agencies and departments address issues relating to constituent matters and notices of decisions affecting her district. Meyner's correspondence with Congressional membership organizations relates to Meyner's contact with the Congressional leadership and its formulation of a legislative agenda, and committee assignments; Meyner's memberships in private organization while in Congress are also documented here. In addition there are files containing contributor correspondence and accepted and declined invitations from various organizations and groups in her district. The calendars in this subseries also document Meyner's schedule and activities in Washington and her district during her two terms.
Subseries 8, GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE (OUTGOING) - "CHRONO FILE," contains carbon copies of all outgoing letters from Helen Meyner's Washington office during both of her terms in Congress and is arranged chronologically. This file includes replies to general constituent letters, flag and tour requests, legislative inquiries, administrative and personal letters, and letters relating to cases and academy appointments. Access to this series is restricted.
Subseries 9, PRESS FILES, contains a file for each term that Meyner served in Congress; these files were maintained by Meyner's press secretary, Thomas Berrigan. The bulk of this series contains Meyner's weekly (1975-1976) and biweekly (1977-1978) reports which were issued by her Washington office to her constituents and the media, summarizing legislative news and Meyner's positions on current legislation. There are also news releases, radio reports, radio feeds, and files containing selected speeches, articles, and Congressional Record insertions. The file for each term contains a small alphabetically arranged subject file of newspaper clippings arranged according to the originally assigned subject headings. This subseries only contains minimal correspondence.
Subseries 10, DISTRICT OFFICES, documents the activity in two of Meyner's district offices in the 13th District in New Jersey. Upon her election to Congress, Meyner opened her first district office in Lambertville in 1975, under the direction of Carolyn O'Neal, who was soon joined by staff assistant, Timothy Van Hise. In 1976, Meyner expanded her presence by opening a year-round office in Dover, with Van Hise as district director. That same year Meyner opened another office in Newton, under the direction of Patricia Dykstra. The Flemington office opened on March 3, 1978, to replace the Lambertville office, primarily to serve constituents of Hunterdon and Mercer Counties. This subseries documents the work of the Lambertville and Dover offices in providing information about government services and programs and about Meyner's legislative stance on issues affecting the two districts. This subseries is arranged into three files:
The first file contains the research files of the Lambertville Office (1974-1976) and is arranged alphabetically. These are the files of Timothy Van Hise who was assigned to this district office in the spring of 1975. These subject files include background material (1974- 1975) that Van Hise gathered while he was still working at Meyner's Washington office. While the bulk of the documents in this file consists of reports and printed material, the files also include Van Hise's agenda and notes from attending public hearings and meetings, investigative reports, newsletters, memoranda and correspondence, including letters from constituents. Of special interest are the extensive files on the Tocks Island Dam Project.
The second file in this subseries contains the research files of the Dover Office (1975-1978), arranged alphabetically, and maintained by district director, Timothy Van Hise and his district staff assistant Tom Doerr, who joined the office in February 1977. Similar to the research files maintained at the Lambertville office, these subject files contain printed material, clippings, news releases, testimony, constituent correspondence, and correspondence with federal agencies on constituents' behalf.
Of particular interest is the extensive material on the Tocks Island Dam Project and information about the flood control projects in the Passaic River and Wallkill River Basin. These files contain Van Hise's schedules and minutes of meetings of the Passaic River Citizens Task Force (est. in 1976) and Meyner's statements before the Water Resources Subcommittee of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation. Other significant files include material on the Picatinny Arsenal. Many of the subjects identified in this subseries can also be found in Subseries 3 - Special Projects, which were maintained at the Washington Office.
The third file consists of the casework files of the Dover Office (1975-1977) and contains sampled files documenting the work of Meyner's Dover district office staff, Timothy Van Hise, and assistants Thomas Doerr and Wendy Illard, assisting New Jersey constituents with sensitive grievances, primarily with the federal government. The files are arranged chronologically, and then alphabetically. They contain correspondence with the constituents and federal agencies or departments, hand-written notes regarding telephone conversations, and background material submitted by the constituent. Access to this file is restricted.
Subseries 11, CAMPAIGNS (1972-1978), is arranged into four files documenting Helen Meyner's campaigns of 1972, 1974, 1976, and 1978 to represent New Jersey's 13th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Meyner entered her first campaign when Joseph O'Doherty, the winner of the Democratic primary race was disqualified after it was discovered he had not been a U.S. citizen the required number of years (7) to serve in Congress. Meyner was asked to enter the race by the State Democratic Committee in July of 1972; she opened her campaign on September 8, 1972. O'Doherty served as chairman of Citizens for Helen Meyner. Meyner ran on a platform of ending the war in Vietnam, protecting the environment in New Jersey, and strengthening the economy. Mary Hammonds and Guy Savino served as her press aids. Meyner ultimately lost the race to Republican State Senator Joseph J. Maraziti. Meyner ran again in 1974 and won with 57% of the vote, as part of the Democratic landslide following the Watergate affair. Meyner was reelected in 1976 for a second term by defeating William E. Schluter in a tight race. Thomas Berrigan served as Meyner's campaign press secretary in 1974 and 1976. She was defeated in a narrow victory by James Courter in her second bid for reelection in 1978. In addition to county coordinators who managed her campaigns, Meyner also had numerous volunteers, and Robert Meyner was active in managing the financial matters of her campaigns. One of the coordinators in her first campaign, Barbara McConnell was named campaign manager of Meyner's 1974 and 1976 campaigns; Robert C. McClure managed her 1978 campaign. While the bulk of the campaign files document her 1976 campaign, this series documents all of her campaigns with alphabetically arranged subject files maintained at her campaign offices in New Jersey. The material includes correspondence with contributors, constituent correspondence, schedules, questionnaires, newspaper clippings, printed campaign literature, surveys, canvassing folders, press releases, radio advertisements, financial records, background files, and various memorabilia. Several card indices of contributors to her last three campaigns record important information about her supporters. (See also Series IV for a collection of memorabilia from Meyner's various campaigns).
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