University of Idaho

Manuscript Group 38

Herman Welker, 1906-1957

Papers, 1950-1956
1.0 cubic foot + 4 oversize volumes

The speeches of Herman Welker were donated to the University of Idaho Library by Mr. Welker in 1953, and were processed by Judith Nielsen in January 1980. 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 and the original inventory was updated by Ms. Nielsen in July 1996.


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.


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)


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.


I. Speeches, 1951-1953	1
II. Correspondence, 1950-1953	1
III. Scrapbooks, 1950-1956	1 & o.s.



Box 	Folder	Description		Items
1	1	Original inventory, 1980	1

I. Speeches, 1951-1953

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

II. Correspondence, 1950-1953

	27	Congratulatory letters, 1950	7
	28	Correspondence with Lee Zimmerman, 1951-1952	8
	29	Correspondence with J.E. Buchanan, 1953	15

III. Scrapbooks

	30	Official inaugural edition, presented by California State Building Trades Council, 1953	1
	31-35	Scrapbook 1. Campaign clippings, 1950	232
	36		Newspaper advertisements, 1950	14
	37		Campaign photographs, 1950	4
	38		Campaign speeches, 1950	8
	39	Scrapbook 2, 1950-June 1951	1
o.s.	40	Scrapbook 3, May 1951-May 1952	1
o.s.	41	Scrapbook 4, May 1952-April 1953	1
o.s.	42	Scrapbook 5, March-November, 1953	1
o.s.	43	Scrapbook 6, June-November 1956	1

July 1996 / mg038.htm

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