Research


New York State Governor W. Averell Harriman Central Subject and Correspondence Files

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
W. Averell Harriman's single term as governor represents the only interlude during the period from 1943-1973 in which the Democratic Party held the governorship. Harriman's central subject and correspondence files document the governor's efforts to introduce new programs in the areas of mental health, aging, poverty relief, civil rights, consumer affairs, housing, highways, and aid to education. The records also document the governor's involvement in national politics, especially during the 1956 presidential election.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
213 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
1955-1958
Series Number:
13682_07

Arrangement

This series is organized into five subseries: 1. Correspondence Files, January 1, 1955-January 31, 1956; 2. General Subject and Correspondence Files, February 1956-December 1958; 3. Special Subject and Name File, 1955-1958; 4. Pressure Mail, 1955-1958; 5. Christmas Cards, 1955-1958.

Administrative History

William Averell Harriman was born in New York City on November 15, 1891. After graduating from Yale in 1913, he pursued a number of venture capital investments and served as director of both the Union Pacific and Illinois Central railroads. He also established the banking firm of W. A. Harriman and Company, which later merged with Brown Brothers and Company to create the renowned firm of Brown Brothers Harriman and Company. Concurrently with his business career, Harriman also served on a number of governmental commissions and went on to hold both economic advisory and diplomatic positions in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. He campaigned unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1952, losing out to the more moderate Adlai Stevenson. The same fate would befall Harriman in the 1956 presidential campaign.

Following Governor Thomas E. Dewey's decision not to seek reelection in 1954, Harriman defeated United States Senator Irving M. Ives by a narrow margin, reclaiming the governorship for the Democratic Party. Harriman served just one term as governor, losing in his bid for reelection to Republican Nelson Rockefeller. Following his departure from the governorship, Harriman returned to his career in foreign affairs, holding the position of Ambassador at Large and additional posts in the U.S. State Department during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Harriman served as the chief American negotiator during the Paris peace talks aimed at ending the war in Vietnam. Averell Harriman died on July 26, 1986 in Yorktown Heights, New York at the age of ninety-four.

As governor, Harriman introduced new programs in the field of mental health, created an office of consumer counsel, prepared a comprehensive program for the aged, and began programs at the state level that would be emulated at the national level in what came to be known as the "War on Poverty." Harriman presided over increased activity by the State Commission against Discrimination and bi-partisan agreement on pioneering middle-income housing legislation. Lastly, Harriman successfully pressured the State Legislature to dramatically increase state aid to education.

For further information on the life and politcal career of Averell Harriman, see Averell Harriman: An Inventory of His Gubernatorial Papers in the Syracuse University Library, Manuscript Inventory Series Inventory Number 10, comp. James K. Owens, March 1967.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains incoming correspondence, copies of outgoing correspondence, memoranda, telegrams, press releases, reports, statements, proclamations, and transmittals pertaining to the administration, organization, and operations of state government. Personal correspondence of Averell Harriman is also included. Records relate to such subjects as agriculture, appointments, authorities and commissions, commerce, conservation, education, fiscal affairs, highways and highway safety, labor, legislation, mental health, personnel administration, public health, public utilities, taxation, welfare, and youth. The "Supplement to Subject Files" category contains similar records received by the Executive Chamber too late to be filed in the General Subject and Correspondence Files.

The "Special Subject and Name File" subseries contains similar records, including personal correspondence and material relating to state and national politics, compiled by the governor's personal secretary Bernice McCray. Noteworthy correspondents include Harry Truman, Edmund G. Brown, Winston Churchill, Herbert Bayard Swope, and Estes Kefauver. The "Pressure Mail" subseries consists of letters, telegrams, petitions, and postcards requesting the governor's support for or opposition to pending legislation or bills approved by the State Legislature. Lastly, the "Christmas Cards" subseries includes such items received by Governor and Mrs. Harriman, many of which sent by prominent national and international figures.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of the material.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series Accretion 13682-96 Central subject and correspondence files (Harriman), contains additional gubernatorial correspondence of the Harriman administration

Series A3218 Alphabetic card index to governors' correspondence files, contains copies of outgoing correspondence arranged alphabetically by addressee, which also serves as a name index to subject files found in Subseries II of the Harriman Central Subject and Correspondence Files

Series B2334 Counsel to the Governor authorities subject files, contains subject files relating to New York State authorities from Judge Daniel Gutman, counsel to Governor Harriman

Access Terms

Personal Name(s):
Corporate Name(s):
Geographic Name(s):
Subject(s):
Genre(s):

Detailed Description

Subseries 1: Correspondence Files

Dates:
1955 January 1-1956 January 31

  

Contents Box
A - As 1
At - Berr 2
Bes - Buck 3
Bud - Cau 4
Ce - Clas 5
Cle - Conn 6
Conno - Cox 7
Cr - Disc 8
Do - Elm 9
Em - Flood Control Commission 10
Flood Disaster - Furney 11
G - Grav 12
Great Lakes Basin Compacts - Has 13
Hat - Howe 14
Hoy - It 15
Jac - Kes 16
Ki - Labor Dept. 17
Labor Dept. - Lip 18
Lit - McB 19
McC - Meyers 20
Mi - Mim 21
Min - National 22
Nat - New York State 23
New York State - Oro 24
Os - Poll 25
Pom - Pru 26
Pu - Rei 27
Reil - Route 9 28
Route 10 - Scho 29
Schommer - Sou 30
Sp - Su 31
Sul - Thor 32
Thr - Union and Employee Welfare Plans 33
United Nations - Wantaugh-Oyster Bay Expressway 34
War - White J 35
Whiteface Mountain Authority - Zu 36
Appointments: Agriculture, Commission On - Liquor Authority 37
Manhattan State Hospitals - Youth Commission 38
General Personal Correspondence: A to BAR 39
General Personal Correspondence: BARTO to BRUN 40
General Personal Correspondence: BRY to CONN 41
General Personal Correspondence: CONNO to DONATIONS 42
General Personal Correspondence: DON to FOL 43
General Personal Correspondence: FOR to HAH 44
General Personal Correspondence: HAL to HORO 45
General Personal Correspondence: HOS to KINN 46
General Personal Correspondence: KIR to LUD 47
General Personal Correspondence: LUN to MITE 48
General Personal Correspondence: MO to NOL 49
General Personal Correspondence: NOR to POS 50
General Personal Correspondence: POT to RUT 51
General Personal Correspondence: RY to SMITHM 52
General Personal Correspondence: SMITHR to STEW 53
General Personal Correspondence: STI to VAND 54
General Personal Correspondence: VANE to ZU 55

Subseries 2: General Subject and Correspondence Files

Dates:
1956 February-1958 December

  

Contents Box
Executive Chamber Cabinet meetings 56
Executive Chamber Cabinet Meetings - Agriculture: Animal Industry 57
Food Control - County Appointments: Others 58
Authorities and Commission Appointments: Bridge Authority - Labor Department Appointments: General 59
Mental Hygiene: General Appointments - Authorities and Commission Appointments: Lottery Control 60
Mortgage Facilities Corporation - Insurance Department Appointments: General 61
Labor Department Appointments: Apprenticeship Counsel - Tax and Finance Appointments: General 62
Judiciary Appointments: 1st Judicial Court - Authorities and Commission Appointments: Bridge Authority 63
Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority - Delaware River Basin Survey Commission No. 2 64
Delaware River Basin Survey Commission No. 3 - ICPR Mailing Lists from State Departments 65
Interdepartmental Committee on Research - New York Business Development Corp. 66
New York City Housing Authority - Port of New York Authority 1958 67
Power Authority - Miscellaneous Authorities A-N 68
Miscellaneous Authorities O-Z - Civil Defense (Federal): General 69
Survival Plan Project 1956 - Civil Defense (State): "Operation Alert" 70
Civil Defense (State): General - Department of Commerce: Small Business Clinics 71
Small Business - World’s Fair Guide Applications 72
World’s Fair Guide Applications - Conservation Department: Fish and Game 73
Lands and Forest: Gypsy Moth Control - Problems of Consumer: Advisory Committee 74
Milk Consumption - Correspondence Transmittals 1956: Civil Service 75
Civil Service Resolutions - Mental Hygiene 76
Military and Naval Affairs - State Police 77
Tax and Finance - Correspondence Transmittals 1957: Commerce 78
Conservation - Labor 79
Labor - Public Works 80
Public Works - Thruway 81
Veteran Affairs - Correspondence Transmittals 1958: Commerce 82
Conservation - Insurance 83
Labor - Power Authority 84
Public Service Commission - Social Welfare 85
Social Welfare - Youth Commission 86
Miscellaneous - Commission of Discrimination Against Low Income 87
Commission of Discrimination Against Low Income - Dept. of Education: State Library 88
Dept. of Education: Finances - Museums and Historical Sites 89
Miscellaneous - Yeshiva University 90
Colleges and Universities - Educational Television 91
Higher Education - Executive Clemency 92
Fiscal: Audit and Control - Budget Memos 1958 93
Expenditures - Motor Vehicles 94
Motor Vehicles - Taxation 95
Taxation - Governor (City): New York City 96
Government (County): Bronx - Government (Federal): Department of the Interior 97
Post Office Department - International Relations J-Z 98
Government (State) California - Government (Town) M-Z 99
Certificates of Good Citizenship - "Open House" 1958 100
Metropolitan Interstate Conference - Harriman Personal: Bu 101
Harriman Personal: C - Fr 102
Harriman Personal: G - Li 103
Harriman Personal: Lo - Q 104
Harriman Personal: R - U 105
Harriman Personal: V - Department of Health: Asian Flu 106
Cerebral Palsy - Honorary Resignation March 1956 107
April 1956 - Division of Housing: Low and Middle Income Housing 108
Division of Housing 1956 - Insurance: Auto Liability 109
Health Insurance for State Employees - Investigations: Suffolk County 110
Ulster County - Labor Department: General 111
Disability - Telephone Strike 112
Telephone Strike - Unemployment Conference 113
Unemployment Conference - General 114
Department of Law - Federal Legislation: December 1957 115
Legislation - Legislation 1958 116
Legislation 1958 - Legislation 1957 117
Legislation 1957 - Legislation 1956 118
Legislation 1956 - Legislature Committees: Commerce and Economy Development 119
Fire laws - 1955 Message 120
1955 Message - Licensing: Nurses 121
Real Estate - Mental Hygiene: General 122
General - Military and Naval Affairs: General 123
General - No Answer Mail 124
No Answer Mail, Anonymous: July - December 1955 125
No Answer Mail, Anonymous: 1956 - 1957 126
No Answer Mail, Anonymous; No Answer Mail: A - B 127
No Answer Mail: Bak - Br 128
No Answer Mail: Bra - Cl 129
No Answer Mail: Cle - Dor 130
No Answer Mail: Dr - Fr 131
No Answer Mail: Fre - Ham 132
No Answer Mail: Han - Hun 133
No Answer Mail: I - Kop 134
No Answer Mail: Kr - Man 135
No Answer Mail: Man - Nem 136
No Answer Mail: Ni - Rem 137
No Answer Mail: Ri - Sci 138
No Answer Mail: Se - To 139
No Answer Mail: Tr - Wils 140
No Answer Mail: Wo - Z; Frances Aginskee and Amelia Wilcher 141
Amelia Wilcher - International Telegrams (Turkey) 142
Organizations: A - American Society for Public Administration 143
American Veterans Committee - Associations H-Z 144
Ar - Catholic War Vets, USA 145
Chamber of Commerce - Citizens Committee for Children 146
Citizens Union of the City of New York - Cor 147
Council of Conservationists - Rem 148
Di - Go 149
Go - Ho 150
Hu - Je 151
Jo - Mil 152
Mo - National E-L 153
National M-Z - NYS Council of Churches 154
NYS Council of Machinists - Or 155
P - S 156
Sa - United Steelworkers of America 157
United A-Z - Zionists Organization of America 158
Parks and Recreational Facilities: Alleghany State Park - Personnel Administration: Resolutions 159
Resolutions - Attendance Rules 160
Grievances - General 161
Troy - Politics: 1958 Senate 162
Presidential Campaign 1956 163
Presidential Campaign 1956 - Proclamations: 1958 164
Proclamations 1957 - Property: Acquisition and Purchasing 165
General - Public Safety: State Police 1957 166
State Police 1956 - Highway Safety Conference January 18, 1957 167
Highway Safety 168
Highway Safety - Public Utilities: Power 169
Long Island Railroad - Public Works: Buildings 170
Canals and Waterways - Newburgh-Beacon Bridge 171
Highways 172
Highways 173
Highways - Regrets: 1958 December-October 174
Regrets: 1958 October-May 175
Regrets: 1958 May-1957 December 176
Regrets: 1957 November-June 177
Regrets: 1957 June-March 178
Regrets: 1957 February-1956 August 179
Regrets: 1956 July-March 180
Regrets: 1956 January - Requests: Autographs 181
Donations - Miscellaneous 182
Miscellaneous - Legal Aid 183
Legal Aid - Miscellaneous 184
Autographs - Legal Aid 185
Photographs - Miscellaneous 186
Selected Special Messages - Statements 187
Statements 188
Statements 189
Statements 190
Statements 191
Statements - Welfare: State Board of Social Welfare 192
Surplus Food Distribution - Youth: White House Conference 193
Youth Commission - General; Administration - Welfare 194
Photostats of Correspondence 195

Subseries 3: Special Subject and Name File

Dates:
1955-1958

  

Contents Box
Invitations and Regrets: A - Br 196
Invitations and Regrets: C - L 197
Invitations and Regrets: M - Recordings 198
Invitations and Regrets: S - Z 199

Subseries 4: Pressure Mail

Dates:
1955-1958

  

Contents Box
Advanced Nursing Education - Auto Insurance, 1956 200
Narcotics - Psychologists; Real Estate News - Level Debt Amendment; Police 40 hours work week 201
Social Security; 40 Hour Work Week; Teachers' Pensions 202
Teachers' Pensions; Teachers' Salary; 1957 Annexation of Wheatfield - Brydges-Curto Bill 203
Telephone Company - Workman’s Compensation; Miscellaneous Pressure Mail from March 1957; Narrows Bridge 204
Rent Control 1957; State Employee Social Security; Teacher Pension and Retirement 205
1958 New York City Debt Limit - Retarded Children; Auto Insurance; Highway Naming Contest 206
Narrows Bridge; State Employees Salary; Teachers' Retirement 207
Teachers' Retirement; FHA Rent Inc. - Mitchell Brookes Transit 208
Mitchell Teachers Retirement; Recession - State 40-Hour Work Week; Pressure Postcards and Telegrams 209

Subseries 5: Christmas Cards

Dates:
1955-1958

  

Contents Box
Christmas Cards: 1955 A-Z, 1956 A-G 210
Christmas Cards: 1956 H-Z, 1957 A-I 211
Christmas Cards: 1957 J-Z, 1958 A-E 212