MsC 107


Manuscript Register




Collection Dates: 1940 -- 1961

1 linear ft.


This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Phone: 319-335-5921
Fax: 319-335-5900



Acquisitions Note: The papers of Congressman Paul. Harvey Cunningham were obtained for the library as a result of the efforts, interests, and correspondence, initiated by Ronald L. Fingerson, March -- May, 1965.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright:  Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"


Use of Collections:  The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Biographical Note

Lawyer; born in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, son of Robert Harvey and Sarah Jane Cunningham; graduated from the State Normal School, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and from the literary and law departments of the University of Michigan; L.L.D., Sterling College, Kansas, 1954; Fort Sheridan Training Camp, 1917; discharged 1919, first lieutenant, Infantry; former captain, Iowa National Guard; former State representative, Polk County, Iowa; member Westminster U.P. Church, American Legion, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Masonic bodies, Odd Fellows, Elks, and various civic organizations; married Gail Fry; three children, Paul Harvey, Jr., Edward Plummer (killed in action on Saipan, 1944) and Sarah Jane; elected to the 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st, 82nd, 83rd, 84th, and 85th Congresses.

When Cunningham first came to Congress he served on the Veterans Committee, the Territories Committee, and the Roads Committee. Under the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 he elected to go on the Public Works Committee where he was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Roads. It was under his leadership that the 1948 Federal Highway Act became law. During Cunningham's service on the Veterans Committee, he assisted in drafting the G. I. Bill of Rights and the National Service Life Insurance Act. He was commended by President Roosevelt for his leadership and, in recognition, the President gave him the first pen he used in signing the G. I. Bill into law.

While a member of the State Legislature during the years 1933 -- 1936 inclusive, Mr. Cunningham obtained the enactment into law of pension systems for teachers, police, and firemen of the City of Des Moines. When he came to Congress, he became interested in Social Security and other retirement systems here and introduced legislation to liberalize them. He was in the forefront in expanding Social Security coverage to approximately 10 million persons during the 83rd Congress.


1890: Born on a farm in Indiana County, near Kent, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Harvey and Sarah Jane Cunningham, June 15, 1890

1911: Graduated from the State Teachers College, Indiana, Pennsylvania

1914: Graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. B.A. degree

1915: Graduated LL.B. from the University of Michigan, Law School, Ann Arbor. Admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan

1917: First Lieutenant of Infantry, Fort Sheridan Training Camp, Fort Sheridan, Illinois, during W.W.I Honorably discharged, 1919

1918: Married Harriet French Plummer, December, 1918

1919: Began law practice in Des Moines, Iowa

1920: Served in the rank of. Captain, Iowa National Guard, 1920--1923

1922: His first wife, Harriet Plummer of Chicago, died

1926: Married Gail Fry, December 26, 1926

1933: Elected a member of the Iowa House of Representatives, 1933 -- 1937

1941: Elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa, 77th through 85th Congresses, 1941 -- 1959

1944: His son, Edward Plummer Cunningham, was killed in action with the Marine Corps on Saipan, WWII

1954: Received LL.D., Sterling College, Kansas

1958: Unsuccessful candidate for re-election to the 86th Congress; resumed his law practice

1961: Died July 16, 1961, at his summer home on Gull Lake, Brainerd, Minnesota

Scope and Contents

Although the correspondence is small in quantity and of a nonpolitical nature, the letters provide insight into Paul Harvey Cunningham's personality, family life, and personal friendships. The newspaper clippings and scrapbooks trace Cunningham's public and political life. Mrs. Cunningham stated that her husband destroyed the major portion of his papers before he left Washington, D.C. This collection, then, constitutes the major portion of what remains of Paul Cunningham's papers.

Processed by : Ronald L. Fingerson, 1965

Box List


Box 1

For a more detailed listing of materials in each folder, click on the folder number.

Item Number
1 1 -- 41 Correspondence: Letters, envelopes, regulations, petition, programs, cards, 1941 -- 1961. Index of Correspondent Names
2 42 -- 57 Death of Paul Harvey Cunningham
Letters, envelopes, memorial, clippings, 1944 -- 1961


58 -- 69 The White House and Presidential Inaugurations
Invitations, cards, 1941 -- 1959


70 -- 121 Paul Harvey Cunningham. Miscellany.
Photographs, identification cards, organizational affiliations citations, campaign literature, programs, certificates, announcements, luncheon menus, 1940 -- 1960
5 122 -- 135 Voting Records and Speeches. Miscellany. Order of Memorial Exercises in the House of Representatives, May 23, 1945. Report of the Board of Visitors to the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, April 30, 1953. Speech notes. Speech concerning House File #204 and Senate File #209


136 -- 163 Newspaper clippings, 1940


164 -- 230 Newspaper clippings, 1941


231 -- 258 Newspaper clippings, 1942 -- 1943


259 -- 284 Newspaper clippings, 1944


285 -- 307 Newspaper clippings , 1945

Box 2

Item Number
308 -- 340
Newspaper clippings, 1946


341 -- 367 Newspaper clippings, 1947


368 -- 402 Newspaper clippings, 1948


403 -- 443 Newspaper clippings, 1949


444 -- 467 Newspaper clippings, 1950
16 468 -- 500 Newspaper clippings, 1951


501 -- 526 Newspaper clippings 1952

527 -- 559

Newspaper clippings, 1953


560 -- 590 Newspaper clippings, 1954

591 -- 609

Newspaper clippings, 1955


610 -- 680 Newspaper clippings, 1956

681 -- 701

Newspaper clippings, 1957


702 -- 744 Newspaper clippings, 1958, 1961


745 Speech delivered before the Friends of the Fifth Congressional District on the eve of the biennial election, no date
  746 Radio speech delivered to the Friends of the Fifth Congressional District. No date
  747 Speech on "The question of civilian morale." Eight pages. No place given. No date
  748 Speech delivered in "Memory of Dr. Morehouse, President of Drake University." Five pages. No place given, no date
  749 Comments received by radio station WHO concerning the special broadcast by Iowa Congressmen, Sunday afternoon, November 9, 1941, on the subject of "Neutrality." Twelve pages
  750 "Who is Paul Cunningham." Editorial from Story City Herald, Thursday, October 25, 1956. Typescript carbon copy. Four pages
  751 The Advergram. Des Moines, Iowa. Volume 39, no. 22. December 3, 1946. "Congress and Little Known Facts About Congressmen." by Paul Cunningham
  752 -- 756 Third Annual Registration Day. December 2, 1954. Safety Award for Knoxville Veterans Hospital. Program and newspaper clippings
  757 News Release. Des Moines, Iowa. March 12, 1946. "In the Thick of the Fight"
  758 News Release. To the Editor of Any Paper. September 26, 1942. "Explanation of the Anti-Inflation Bill which passed the House this week"
  759 Cunningham, Paul. '"The Great Discoveror," in The American Citizen, XXX, no. 15 (October 12, 1951), 1 -- 2
  760 -- 761 Two letters. Correspondence between Paul Cunningham, Paul M. Elliott, and Charles Upham
25 762 Certificate of Election. December 14, 1956. Issued to Paul Cunningham. Signed by Iowa Governor Leo A. Hoegh and Iowa Sec'y of State Melvin D. Synhorst
  763 Certificate of Election, December 11, 1950. Issued to Paul Cunningham. Signed by Iowa Governor William S. Beardsley and Iowa Sec'y of State Melvin D. Synhorst
  764 Certificate of Election, November 22, 1948. Issued to Paul Cunningham. Signed by Iowa Governor Robert D. Iowa Sec'y of State Rollo H. Bergeson
  765 Certificate of Election, November 25, 1946. Issued to Paul Cunningham. Signed by Iowa Governor Robert D. Iowa Sec'y of State Wayne M. Ropes
  766 Certificate of Election, November 13, 1944. Issued to Paul Cunningham. Signed by Iowa Governor Bourke B. Hickenlooper and Iowa Sec'y of State Wayne M. Ropes
  767 Scrapbook of newspaper clippings, 1933
26 768 Scrapbook of newspaper clippings, 1940 -- 1961




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