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Opening of the Senator Jennings Randolph Collection

June 20, 2018


On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, the public opening of the Senator Jennings Randolph Collection will be held in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center in Charleston. The event, which will feature several prominent speakers, the unveiling of an online exhibit, and a review of the collection finding aid, will begin at 1:00 p.m.

Among the individuals who are expected to make remarks at this event are Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Secretary of State Mac Warner, Speaker of the House Tim Armstead, former congressman Nick Rahall, Nick Hollis, and Dr. Phyllis Freedman. Frank Randolph, younger son of Jennings Randolph, and Brian Randolph, the senatorís grandson, will both be in attendance. In addition to the online exhibit, a small exhibit of items will be available for viewing in the library and several dozen photographs will be on display in the Archives and History Photo Gallery off the Great Hall, adjacent to the library.

Born in Salem, West Virginia, in 1902, Jennings Randolph rose to the national stage when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1932 as part of a Democratic surge that brought Franklin D. Roosevelt to the presidency in a landslide victory over Herbert Hoover and gave the Democratic Party control of both houses of Congress. Randolph served seven terms in the House of Representatives before being defeated in 1946 election, when Democrats lost control of Congress.

Randolph returned to Congress in 1958, when he won a special election to fill the unexpired term of Senator Matthew M. Neely. Over the next two and one-half decades, he worked diligently to develop the interstate highway system in West Virginia, helped to create the Appalachian Regional Commission, and sponsored legislation to aid handicapped persons and those affected by Black Lung, to improve the education of the state and nationís youth, and to help West Virginia prosper. Randolph is perhaps best known for his efforts to secure passage of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 years of age to 18 years of age. By the end of his political career in 1985, Randolph had cast over 10,750 votes on legislation.

The Randolph Collection consists of nearly 950 cubic feet of correspondence, photographs, and other materials that document his long Senate career. The collection also contains a smaller amount of material from his years in the House of Representatives, activities between 1947 and 1958, and his post-Senate life. The online finding aid for the collection can be found at http://www.wvculture.org/history/collections/randolph/ms2017-016.html

For additional information, contact West Virginia Archives and History at (304) 558-0230.


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