Herman Welker Papers, 1950-1956

Overview of the Collection

Herman Welker, 1906-1957
Herman Welker Papers
1950-1956 (inclusive)
1.0 cubic foot + 4 oversize volumes
Collection Number
MG038 (collection)
Speeches and scrapbooks documenting Herman Welker's career in the U.S. Senate
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
Telephone: 2088850845
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Herman Welker was born in Cambridge, Idaho, December 11, 1906, the youngest of the seven children of John T. and Zelda Shephard Welker. Both of his parents were from North Carolina, but came west and settled in Cambridge where John Welker was a potato grower. Herman attended grade school in Cambridge and high school in Weiser. After graduating from Weiser High School in 1924, he attended the University of Idaho, spending two years in a general studies program before attending law school for three years. In 1929 he received his LL.B. degree.

In 1928, while still a student at the university, he was appointed Prosecuting Attorney of Washington County and was twice re-elected to that position.

In September of 1930 Welker married Gladys Taylor Pence; they had one daughter, Nancy.

Between 1936 and 1943 he practiced law in Los Angeles, California, and, after spending a year in the Air Corps, he returned to Idaho, where, from 1944 to 1950 he had his legal practice in Payette.

In 1948 he was elected to the Idaho State Senate on the Republican ticket, and served in one regular and one special session. In 1950 D. Worth Clark defeated the incumbent, Glen Taylor, for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination; Clark, in turn, was overwhelmingly defeated by Welker in the general election, 124,237 to 77,180. While in the Senate he served on the Armed Services Committee, the Internal Securities subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, and the Committee on Rules and Administration. A strong supporter of the right wing of the Republican party, Welker was also a close associate of Senator Joseph McCarthy. In 1954 he was McCarthy's chief defender in the debate which led to McCarthy's censure by the Senate. Welker won the Republican nomination for re-election in 1956, but was defeated in the general election by Frank Church by a vote of 149,096 to 102,781. Following his defeat he practiced law in Boise.

Welker was a member of the Masonic Lodge, El Korah Shrine, Elks, Knights of Pythias, American Legion, IOOF, Idaho Bar Association, California Bar Association, Sigma Chi, Phi Alpha Delta (Honorary Law Fraternity), and the Idaho Cattlemen's Association.

On October 16, 1957, the 50 year old former Senator was admitted to the National Institutes of Health, Washington, D.C., where he underwent brain surgery on October 17 and again on the 28th. He died at the clinic on Wednesday, October 30, 1957. On November 1, approximately 150 people attended the military service held in the Fort Meyer, Virginia, chapel, where Welker was eulogized for his relentless fight against communism. He was buried the same day in Arlington National Cemetery.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers of Herman Welker span the years 1950 to 1956.

Included are speeches given by Welker between 1951 and 1953, correspondence with librarian Lee Zimmerman and U of I President J.E. Buchanan, congratulatory letters sent to Welker upon his election in 1950, and scrapbooks of newspaper clippings documenting his Senate career.

The Special Collections Department of the University of Idaho Library also has a bound volume entitled Herman Welker, Republican U.S. Senator from Idaho, 1951-1955, (MG 5176) which gives Welker's voting record on the various bills before the Senate during his tenure in Office. There are also some interesting observations on Welker in Senator Glen H. Taylor's book, The Way it Was with Me. (Secaucus, New Jersey: Lyle Stuart, inc., 1979. Day-NW E748.T275A38)

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The speeches and speech notes are arranged in chronological order. In some cases there is attached correspondence identifying the speech. The speeches tend to be of the patriotic, anti-Communist variety.

The correspondence was separated by correspondent, and includes 1950 congratulatory letters sent to Welker, letters Welker or his secretary Neal Nelson sent to librarian Lee Zimmerman, relating to the speeches, and letters to University of Idaho President J.E. Buchanan concerning Welker's visit to the campus in October 1953.

The next item is a printed book entitled "Official inaugural edition" commemorating the 1953 inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower. It was presented to Welker by the California State Building Trades Council.

The remaining scrapbooks are arranged chronologically. The first, which documents Welker's campaign for Senate in 1950 was in poor condition, with unattached pages and loose clippings. It was therefore disassembled and the clippings were put into folders. This also facilitated the separation of types of material; general clippings, newspaper advertising, photos, and transcripts of radio speeches.

The second scrapbook covers the years 1950 to June 1951 and contains, in addition to newspaper clippings, correspondence and programs from political functions Welker attended.

The last four scrapbooks are oversize volumes measuring approximately 24" x 18" The first covers the year from May 1951 to May 1952. The covers are detached and the pages loose and out of order, but it is otherwise in good condition. The second covers the period from May 1952 to April 1953 and contains newspaper clippings, program, and correspondence signed by Harry Truman, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower and Senate colleagues. The third volume covers the months March to November 1953. This volume is badly water damaged, but the clippings, although badly discolored, are still legible. The final volume covers the period June to November 1956, ending with Welker's defeat by Frank Church.

Acquisition Information

The speeches of Herman Welker were donated to the University of Idaho Library by Mr. Welker in 1953. In July 1989 the family donated six scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and a book on the inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower. The two groups were combined.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Original inventory , 1980Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/1

1 item

Series I. Speeches , 1951-1953Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Lincoln Day address
1 item
February 8-19, 1951
Speech relative to the investigation of the 1950 election of John Marshall Butler of Maryland
1 item
February 28, 1951
Speeches concerning General MacArthur
2 items
April 12 & 24, 1951
Broadcast over radio station KSL, Salt Lake City
1 item
May 11, 1951
Parma Experiment Station appropriation
1 item
July 10, 1951
Salary increase for federal employees
1 item
July 12, 1951
Dismissal of West Point cadets
1 item
August 6, 1951
Investigation of International Boxing Club
1 item
August 13, 1951
Address before Republican groups
2 items
August 26 & September 22, 1951
"Let's get back to Americanism"
1 item
October 17, 1951
Address to Republican rally in Philadelphia
2 items
October 23, 1951
Armistice Day rally, Twin Falls
1 item
November 12, 1951
Tribute to Senator Kenneth S. Wherry (Nebraska)
2 items
January 8, 1952
Lincoln Day address
7 items
February 9-14, 1952
Speech before Los Angeles Bar Association
1 item
February 18, 1952
Notes for speeches to Republican gatherings
2 items
September 1952
Speech at Bergen County, New Jersey, Republican fund raiser
4 items
September 30, 1952
Notes for speeches at Republican rallies in Long Island and Uniontown, PA.
1 item
October 6 & 7, 1952
Notes for speech on behalf of Senator Bill Jenner, Madison, Indiana
1 item
October 1, 1952
Comments on President Truman's attack on the Spokesman Review
1 item
October 1952
Notes for Meet the Press appearance
3 items
December 21, 1952
Notes for Lincoln Day addresses
5 items
February 10-18, 1952
Flag Day address, Philadelphia
2 items
June 15, 1953
Address to the Senate concerning Air Force appropriations
3 items
July 9, 1953
"Communism as I see it in America today," notes for an address at the University of Idaho
3 items
October 30, 1952

Series II. Correspondence , 1950-1953Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Congratulatory letters
7 items
Correspondence with Lee Zimmerman
8 items
Correspondence with J.E. Buchanan
15 items

Series III. Scrapbooks Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Official inaugural edition, presented by California State Building Trades Council
1 item
Scrapbook 1. Campaign clippings
232 items
Newspaper advertisements
14 items
Campaign photographs
4 items
Campaign speeches
8 items
Scrapbook 2
1 item
1950-June 1951
Scrapbook 3
1 item
May 1951-May 1952
Scrapbook 4
1 item
May 1952-April 1953
Scrapbook 5
1 item
March-November 1953
Scrapbook 6
1 item
June-November 1956

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Legislators--United States--Correspondence

Personal Names

  • Welker, Herman, 1906-1957--Archives

Geographical Names

  • Idaho--Politics and government--Sources


  • U.S. Senator for Idaho, 1950-1956