Papers of Morris K. Udall

MS 325
Photo of Morris K. Udall in Alaska

Collection area: Political Affairs

Collection dates: 1920-1995

About this collection

Composed of Morris K. Udall's professional and public papers that document his thirty years as a Representative from Arizona's 2nd Congressional District, his tenure as Chairman of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, and his campaign for the 1976 Democratic Presidential nomination.

Personal files includes biographical materials; appointment books, daily schedules and guest books; personal correspondence; campaign files which document his campaigns for local Arizona government offices, Congress, Congressional leadership posts as Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader, and his bid for the 1976 Democratic Presidential nominations; invitations and publications.

Legislative files include correspondence; bill files; legislative assistant files; committee files; voting and attendance records; staff project files; the Central Arizona Project; the Public Land Law Review Commission; the Office of Technology Assessment; Congressional Record Inserts and the Democratic Study Group. Of note are the materials pertaining to the Central Arizona Project, Alaska Lands Act, Strip Mining Act, Arizona Wilderness Act, and other legislation relating to wilderness and related environmental issues.

Administrative files include correspondence, subject files and staff files that relate to routine Congressional office matters, requests and correspondence relating to particular constituent problems or issues.

Media files include correspondence; press releases and statements; mailings, newsletters and robos; clippings; questionnaires and Freshman Seminar.

Supplemental files include memorabilia and pre- Congressional activities as a lawyer and his political activity in Pima County, Arizona.

Historical background

Morris "Mo" King Udall of Tucson, Arizona was born in St. Johns, Arizona on June 15, 1922. He is the grandson of David King Udall, a noted Mormon pioneer and church leader, the son of Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Levi S. Udall and Louise Lee Udall and brother of former Congressman and Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Lee Udall.

He attended public schools in St. Johns, Arizona and was awarded a J.D. degree from the University of Arizona in 1949 where he served as President of the Associated Student Government and co-captain of the basketball team.

He entered the United States Army-Air Force as a private in 1942 and was discharged as a captain in 1946, having served in the Pacific Theatre.

Mo played professional basketball for one season (1948-1949) with the Denver Nuggets and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

He started a law firm with his brother, Stewart in Tucson, Arizona in 1949 and served as Pima County Attorney from 1952-1954. He served as Vice-President of the Arizona Bar Association in 1961, was a co-founder of the Bank of Tucson and the Catalina Savings and Loan Association, and served as president of the Tucson YMCA in 1960.

When his brother, Stewart resigned from the House of Representatives (District 2, Arizona) to serve as Secretary of the Interior in the Kennedy Administration, Morris K. Udall was elected to his seat in the 87th Congress (1961-1962). He served in each succeeding Congress until his resignation on May 4, 1991.

Morris K. Udall served as chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs from 1977 to 1991. He also was the ranking member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

He was a candidate in the Democratic primaries for President in the 1976 national campaign. He was the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in New York in 1980. In 1992, a special tribute was paid to Morris K. Udall by the Democratic Party at their national convention.

Born on June 15 in Saint Johns, Arizona, to Levis Stewart Udall (1891-1960) and Louise Lee (1893-1974). Siblings: Inez, Elma, Stewart, Eloise, and David "Burr".
Attended school at St. Johns, doing farm work, and organizing local plays, rodeos, and mock courts.
Top student in History and English.
Played football and basketball, and was salutatorian of his high school class.
Loses right eye in a childhood accident.
Contracts a nearly fatal case of spinal meningitis.
Co-captain of the St. Johns High School basketball team, also quarterbacked the football team, played trumpet in the school band, served as student body president and salutatorian, and wrote a column for the local newspaper,The Apache County Independent News.
Editor of a St. Johns High School weekly paper.
Entered University of Arizona in the fall on a basketball scholarship, opened barber shop in the student infirmary.
Honor student.
Drafted and assigned to a limited service, noncombat support unit in Army Air Corps, assigned to Ft. Douglas, Utah and later to Lake Charles, Louisiana.
With only two years of pre-law, he is appointed defense counsel for a black airman accused of killing a white guard while attempting to escape from a stockade. Prosecution won a death sentence; Mo later writes: "the case still haunts me."
After Japanese surrender, assigned to Iwo Jima, reputed to be excellent poker player and enthusiastic basketball team organizer.
Received honorary discharge in February.
Obtained airplane pilot license.
In the summer, helped his father to campaign for election to Arizona Supreme Court.
Captain of conference-winning University of Arizona basketball team.
Elected president of student body.
Lobbied state legislature for right to establish a co-op student gas station.
With Stewart and others, attacked color bar in university campus.
Served on editorial board of a college publication, The Ruptured Duck.
Completes his law degree at University of Arizona.
Scored highest grade on Arizona bar exam and was administered the bar oath by his father, Justice Levi Udall of the Arizona Supreme Court.
Chaired Mayor's Citizen Committee on Public Housing.
Played professional basketball with Denver Nuggets of National Basketball League (1948-49).
Married Patricia Emery (divorced 1965), mother to his six children: Mark, Randy, Judith, Anne, Brad, and Kathy.
With Stewart, established private Tucson law firm of Udall and Udall (1949-61).
Appointed Chief Deputy Attorney for Pima County.
Elected as Pima County Attorney; investigated corruption charges at Rillito Race Track and successfully prosecuted several public officials involved.
Stewart elected as representative of Arizona's Second Congressional District.
Lost Pima County Superior Court Judge election.
Returned to private practice, taught labor law course at University of Arizona Law School.
Chaired Arizona Volunteers for Stevenson organization.
Served as delegate to Democratic National Convention
Served as vice chair on Arizona State Bar Commission of Criminal Law and Practice.
Founding member of Bank of Tucson, appointed as vice-president and treasurer.
Founder (later chairman) of Catalina Savings and Loan Association.
Chairman of Modern Courts Committee of Arizona State Bar Association, directed effort to reform Arizona court system.
With Stewart, organized Arizona delegates for John F. Kennedy.
Wrote reference book for Arizona trial lawyers, Arizona Law of Evidence.
Brother Stewart appointed as Secretary of Interior in Kennedy Administration.
On March 8, 1961, Morris K. Udall won Democratic primary with 21,075 votes defeating William Hendrix, Harold Patten, H. Earl Rogge, C.J. Carreon, and William Netherton.
In special election held on May 2, 1961, Morris K. Udall won Congressional District 2 seat with 50,560 votes defeating Republican Mac Matheson.
Appointed to Post Office and Civil Service Committee after being sworn in by Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn on May 17, 1961.
Appointed to Interior and Insular Affairs.
Won regular Congressional election by defeating Richard Burke in election with 39,590 votes.
In conjunction with American Political Science Association, Morris K. Udall organized an orientation session for incoming freshmen congressional members.
Wrote Wilderness bill for Arizona.
Served as floor whip for Democratic Study Group, an organization of House Democrats.
Defeated William E. Kimball with 86,499 votes.
Voted against repeal of Taft-Hartley Act.
In protest over procedural actions of Chairman of Post Office Committee, helped reform committee rules and structure.
Voted for right-to-work legislation.
Co-authored book The Job of a Congressman.
Defeated Republican Alfred McGinnis with 66,813 votes.
Opposed Vietnam War in speech in Tucson before the Sunday Evening Forum on October 22.
Introduced resolution to strip Adam Clayton Powell of his Chairmanship of the Education and Labor Committee, and also made unsuccessful motion to seat Powell in the new Congress.
Called for consensus between California and Arizona in their fight for passage of Central Arizona Project in speech before Town Hall in Los Angeles on December, 19.
Appointed to Congressional Public Land Law Review Commission and served until report complete (1970).
September 30,President Johnson signs Central Arizona Project bill into law.
Defeated Alfred McGinnis with 102,301 votes.
Married Ella Royston Ward.
Challenges House Speaker John McCormack and loses in the Democratic Caucus, 178-58.
In March, received letter from Ronald Ridenhour describing "My Lai Incident" in Vietnam which instigates subsequent investigation.
Runs unsuccessfully against Hale Boggs for the post of Majority Leader losing in the Democratic Caucus, 140-88.
Wrote Postal Reform Bill which created a new Postal Service Corp. to replace Post Office Dept.
Defeated Morris Herring with 86,760 votes.
Sponsored Federal Election Campaign Act.
nnounced support for Ed Muskie for Democratic Presidential nominee.
Chairman of Arizona delegation to Democratic National Convention.
Defeated Republican Eugene Savoie with 97,616 votes.
Published Education of a Congressman, edited by Robert Peabody.
Chaired Interior Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment.
Receives honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Arizona College of Law.
Named legislator of the year by National Wildlife Federation.
Udall bill to reform congressional franking privileges became law.
On May 17, colleagues in House circulated petition in support of Udall's nomination as Democratic Presidential nominee.
August 21, the Udall 76 Committee registered with U.S. General Accounting Office.
On November 23, Udall announced his candidacy in New Hampshire.
Defeated Republican Keith Dolgaard 84,491 (62%) to 51,886 (38%).
Campaigned for Democratic Party presidential nomination in 22 primaries, finishing second in seven, Carter wins nomination.
Co-sponsored Food Stamp Reform Act.
Udall bills to establish national land-use policy defeated by vetoes of Nixon and Ford.
Attended Democratic Convention in New York City, gave address.
Defeated Laird Guttersen (R) and Mich Emerling (L) with 88,210 votes to keep congressional seat.
Congress passed Udall's Strip Mining Reclamation Act.
Named Chairman of Interior and Insular Affairs Committee.
Sponsored Strip-Mine control legislation which is finally passed after two similar bills were vetoed by President Ford.
Defeated Thomas Richey (R), Joe Bach (L) and Betsy McDonald (SW) 56,707 (53.6%) to 46,959 (44.4%), 1,144 (1%) and 907 (.8%).
Diagnosed as having Parkinson's disease.
Congress passed Udall's Alaska Lands Act which doubled the size of the National Park System.
Campaigned on behalf of President Jimmy Carter and gave keynote address at Democratic National Convention.
Defeated Richard Huff (R) and Bill Stefanov (L) 72,570 (60.9%) to 44,708 (37.5%) and 1,799 (1.5%).
Secured passage of Southern Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act that outlined Indian water rights claims.
Served on Hunt Commission that revised rules for 1984 Democratic primary and national conventions.
Challenged authority of the Arizona legislature's redistricting plan, which he contends unfairly splinters the Hispanic vote. Legislature compromises and places more of Tucson in the 2nd Congressional District.
Nuclear Waste Management Policy Act passed by Congress and signed by President Reagan.
Defeated Roy Laos (R) and Jessica Sampson (I) 50, 603 (71%) to 18, 694 (26%) and 1.175 (1%).
Named honorary chair of American Parkinson Disease Association.
Wildness Law passed setting up eight million acres of new national forests, two million acres in Arizona.
Central Arizona Project costs indexed to inflation.
Announces that he will not seek the Democratic presidential nomination.
Re-elected, defeating Lorenzo Torrez (People Before Profits) with 105,194 (87%) to 14,727 (12%).
Udall left Post Office and Civil Service for Foreign Affairs Committee.
Re-elected for 14th straight term, defeating Sheldon Clark (R) and Lorenzo Torrez (People Before Profits) with 76,425 (74%) to 24,202 (23%) and 3,600 (3%).
Ella Udall dies.
Re-elected to 15th term defeating Republican Joseph Sweeney 35,241 (79.1%) - 9,302 (20.9%).
Publishes Too Funny To Be President.
Proposed Arizona Wilderness Bill to add one million acres of land in Arizona for wilderness.
Married Norma Gilbert.
April 23, Honored at Earth Day ceremony at Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Udall's Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act signed into law.
Re-elected to 16th term defeating Joseph Sweeney (R) with 76,106 votes.
January 6, Udall fell and is hospitalized, and later transferred to a nursing home at the Veterans Administration Medical Center.
May 4, resigned from Congress for health reasons.
US Congress founded the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation
Received Medal of Freedom from President Clinton
Morris K. Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Act of 1997 approved.
December 12, Morris K. Udall died in Washington, D.C.

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