Correspondence, reports, speeches, drafts of bills, notes, newsletters, printed material, clippings, and other papers, relating to Henderson's service as representative from the 3rd Congressional district of North Carolina, including material relating to his work on the Post Office, Civil Service, and Public Works committees, and to civil rights, minimum wage, federal aid to education, the Vietnam Conflict, anti-poverty programs, foreign aid, tobacco, Watergate, the energy crisis of the early 1970s, and local affairs and projects in eastern North Carolina.
The David Newton Henderson Papers contain the office files of Congressman Henderson when he was the U.S. Representative for the Third District of North Carolina. The papers span from 1930 to 1976, but the bulk of the papers covers Henderson's years in office, 1961-1976. Henderson's predecessor, Congressman Graham A. Barden, left Henderson many papers on ongoing business, especially local projects.
The Henderson Papers contain correspondence, printed material, speeches, invitations, newspaper clippings, photographs, newsletters, financial statements, legislative reports and notes, and drafts of bills. The great majority of this collection is correspondence which Henderson's office exchanged with constituents, legislative officials, and officials of federal and state agencies.
The papers are divided into the following fifteen series:
Correspondence: Answer Copies
County Project Files
Federal and State Agencies
Military Academy Files
Newsletters and News Releases
Post Office Files
The largest series are Committee Files, County Project Files, Federal and State Agencies, Legislation, and Subject Files. The Committee Files contain material relating to Henderson's various committee and subcommittee memberships and reflect the actual creation of legislation. The Legislation Series contains drafts of specific bills and legislative reports and notes. Subject Files contain mostly constituent mail on legislation, current issues, and various subjects. County Project Files concern projects and local affairs in the Third District. The Federal and State Agencies Series reflects Henderson's role as an intermediary between constituents' problems and requests and the appropriate governmental agency which could deal with their problems.
There is some overlap among series. For example, using the broad subject Agriculture, a constituent's letter supporting an agricultural price-support bill would appear under Subject Files. Agriculture. Drafts of that specific bill might be under Legislation. Material on an agricultural cooperative project in the Third District would be in the County Project Files. A constituent's request for exemption from certain federal regulations regarding crop measurement would be under Federal and State Agencies. Agriculture, Department of. For more information summarizing the contents of each category see the introductions at the beginning of each section in the inventory.
The papers reflect many types of public opinion: organized and repetitive pressure mail, professional lobbying activities of national interest groups, letters ranging from semi-literate constituents to well-known local and national leaders. The papers show a definite paper spiral during the 1960s and 1970s with the volume of Henderson's files increasing yearly.
The Henderson Papers illustrate many national trends of the 1960s and 1970s. Henderson's work on the Post Office and Civil Service and the Public Works committees made him instrumental in matters of national importance and brought him correspondence from around the nation. These papers particularly reveal trends in federal employment practices in the 1960s and 1970s. The papers contain much material about the reorganization of the Post Office Department into the Postal Service in 1969-1970. The papers reveal public opinion and legislative trends on such issues as civil rights, the Vietnamese War, the energy crisis of the early 1970s, and the Watergate affair. Henderson illustrates well the position of a conservative southern Democratic congressman voting against all civil rights legislation, opposing extension and raising of the minimum wage, federal aid to education, the War Against Poverty, and foreign aid. He consistently supported the presidents' positions on Vietnam, "right-to-Work" laws, and agricultural price supports.
The Henderson Papers contain rich information on local interests, affairs, and personalities in the Third District of North Carolina. Henderson vigorously supported local interests in Congress. He vehemently opposed restrictions on tobacco advertising and other "anti-tobacco" legislation. Henderson's correspondence and campaign material reveal the network of the Democratic political machinery in eastern North Carolina and his relationship with the local power structure.
Specific subjects are discussed in more detail in the inventory.