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Manuscript Group 107

James Pinckney Pope

Papers, 1929-1951
3 l.f.

This descriptive inventory of the papers of James Pinckney Pope in the University of Idaho Library was prepared by Judith Nielsen in October 1981.


James Pinckney Pope, the eldest of the thirteen children of Jesse T. and Lou (McBride) Pope, was born on a farm near Jonesboro, Jackson Parish, Louisiana on March 31, 1884. He was raised on his father's cotton plantation and later claimed he was the champion cotton picker of Jackson Parish. He received his early education in the public schools of his native parish. He then attended Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in Ruston where he distinguished himself in both scholarship and athletics. He was tackle on the football team for three years, and also served as captain of the team his last year. In 1906, after four years of study, he graduated with a Bachelor of Industry degree. He continued his education at the law school of the University of Chicago where he was prominent in inter-collegiate oratorical contests, and was a member of the university's debating team during the 1907-1908 school year. In 1909 he was graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree.

Following his graduation from law school he took what little money he had been able to save, boarded a cattle boat bound for Europe, and bicycled through England, Scotland, and Wales. He returned to the U.S. without any money, worked at odd jobs until he had saved enough to finance a trip west, and in October 1909 was forced to stop in Boise, Idaho when his money again ran out. He joined the law firm of Morrison and Pence as a clerk, passed his bar exam in November, and remained with the firm until January 1910 when he entered into a partnership with E.P. Barnes. The partnership was dissolved after three years, and from that time James Pope practiced alone.

While studying at the University of Chicago he met Pauline Horn, also a student, whom he married on June 26, 1913. They had two sons, Ross and George. Mrs. Pope died in 1957.

A Democrat in his political allegiance, he took an active part in political affairs. In 1910 he was an unsuccessful candidate for county attorney of Ada County. In 1912 he served as Secretary of the State Democratic Committee, and as its chairman from 1920 to 1924. In 1916 he was appointed deputy collector of Internal Revenue, served as city attorney from 1916 to 1917, and as Assistant Attorney General of Idaho in 1917 and 1918, after which he re-entered private practice. He was a delegate to every Idaho Democratic State convention from 1914 to 1930, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1924, 1928, 1932, and 1936, serving as chairman of the Idaho delegation in 1936. He was Chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee from 1920 to 1922. He was elected a member of the school board in 1924 and served as its president until 1929 when he was elected mayor of Boise. He was re-elected to that position in 1931 without opposition. He resigned as mayor when, in 1932, he was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served until 1938; he was unsuccessful in his campaign for renomination.

Upon entering the Senate he requested that he be placed on the Agriculture and Forestry Committee where he soon became recognized as the farm leader for the administration. He was co-author and sponsor of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, originator and sponsor of the Federal Crop Insurance Act, and was one of the leaders in securing enactment of the Sugar Act of 1937, which raised the income of sugar beet growers to parity. He fought for and received great reclamation development for Idaho. As a member of the Joint Congressional Committee on Forestry he was responsible for a large share of the C.C.C. program and the blister rust control program which was so important to the preservation of the pine forests of Idaho. He was also recognized as one of the foremost advocates of peace and served on the Munitions Committee which investigated the world wide munitions manufacturing ring. He also served on the Foreign Relations Committee, the Mines and Mining Committee, and the Irrigation and Reclamation Committee. Besides the Joint Committee on Forestry, he was chairman of the Joint Committee Investigating the Adequacy and Use of Phosphate Resources and promoted the mining of Idaho's phosphate deposits.

On January 12, 1939, President Roosevelt appointed Pope a director of the Tennessee Valley Authority. He moved to Knoxville and served on the board until his resignation on May 18, 1951. In 1963, because of ill health, he moved to the Hermitage Methodist nursing home in Alexandria, Virginia, where he died at the age of 81 on January 23, 1966.


Defenbach, Byron. Idaho: The Place and Its People. New York, The American Historical Society. 1933.

French, Hiram T. History of Idaho; a Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People and Its Principal Interests. Chicago, The Lewis Publishing Company. 1914.

Hawley, James H. History of Idaho, the Gem of the Mountains. Chicago, S.J. Clarke Publishing Company. 1920.

Idaho. State Historical Department. Twenty-second Biennial Report, 1949-50.

Idaho Daily Statesman (Boise). January 24, 1966.


The papers of Senator James Pope are comprised of ten scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, a collection of his speeches, some miscellaneous articles and clippings, a few items of correspondence, several photographs, three reports on phosphates, a report on the City of Rocks in Cassia County, Idaho, and a printed proclamation announcing the 150th anniversary of the Constitution of the United States.

By far the most important items in this collection are the scrapbooks Pope maintained while he was mayor of Boise, U.S. Senator, and T.V.A. director.

The contents of this archival group are related in more detail in the following Description of Series.


James Pope arranged each of his scrapbooks in rough chronological order.

No attempt was made to alter this arrangement since each book contains clippings covering an aspect of Pope's career. The speeches have also been arranged in chronological order. The few remaining items have been separated by type, i.e., clippings, photographs, correspondence, and placed in folders.

The only file cards which were maintained for this group are those for Pope's speeches and his correspondence.


I. Scrapbooks

II. Speeches

III. Miscellaneous Material


I. Scrapbooks

The ten scrapbooks kept by James Pope can be divided into three categories, his terms as mayor of Boise (2 books), as U.S. Senator (5 books), and as director of the Tennessee Valley Authority (3 books). Although most newspaper clippings concern Pope's activities, he also included some clippings dealing with prominent Idaho politicians.

Listed below are the scrapbooks (the numbers of which have been artificially assigned), their inclusive dates, and, during Pope's Senate career, a brief summary of the important subject matter.

Mayor of Boise

Book 1. April 30, 1929 - February 17, 1933

Book 2. September 25, 1931 - February 7, 1933

The majority of clippings deal with Pope's campaign for the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Senator

Book 3. March 4, 1933 - September 22, 1934

The only major subject dealt with in this book is the munitions probe.

Book 4. September 21, 1934 - September 24, 1936

Clippings on the activities of the Munitions Investigation Committee are continued in this book which also includes clippings on sugar beet legislation, Idaho election results, Pope's visit to Europe in September 1935, and the League of Nations.

Book 5. February 6, 1936 - July 23, 1937

Subjects in this book include mining wages and Pope's crop insurance bill. There are a number of columns from the "Idaho in Washington" series written by Ralph Olmstead, Pope's private secretary.

Book 6. July 23, 1937 - August 1, 1938

Besides notices of Pope's speaking engagements, the clippings deal with phosphates and President Roosevelt's visit to Idaho.

Book 7. August 27, 1937 - February 19, 1938

This book deals exclusively with farm legislation and contains a number of clippings on the Senate sub-committee hearings held in Sioux City, Iowa in October 1937.

Tennessee Valley Authority Director

Book 8. January 29, 1943 - November 29, 1944

Book 9. January 17, 1946 - December 8, 1949

Book 10. January 24, 1950 - May 20, 1951

II. Speeches

This series contains typed or mimeographed copies of a relatively small portion of the speeches given by Senator Pope between 1934 and 1938. Also included are transcriptions of Pope's weekly radio program "Timely Topics From Washington" and several journal articles. The speeches are arranged in chronological order.

III. Miscellaneous Material


Boyle, James E. "The Ifs of Crop Insurance." Country Gentleman. June 1937.

Conference on the Cause and Cure of War. Business Machines. January 28, 1936.

"Is Neutrality Legislation the Road to Peace?" Discussion before the Economic Club of New York. February 10, 1936.

"Notes on Washington Notables: U.S. Senator James P. ("Jim") Pope, of Idaho." Undated newspaper clipping.

S.J. Res. 125 (75th Congress, lst Session) To provide for the development of phosphate resources. Introduced by Sen. Pope on March 29, 1937.

"Theodore Augustus Walters." The Reclamation Era. December 1937.


Baukhead, W.B. to Pope. December 13, 1937.

Early, Stephen to Pope. September 7, 1937.

Hoover, John Edgar to Pope. October 21, 1938

Ickes, Harold L. copy of a letter from Pope. 1938 (undated)

Roosevelt, Franklin D. typed copy of a letter to Harcout A. Morgan. May 12, 1938.

Thomas, Elbert D. to Pope. December 21, 1937.

Truman, Harry S. to Pope. December 31, 1937.

Wallace, Henry A. copy of a letter from Pope. 1938. (undated)


Prints of a publicity photograph, ca.1933. 5" x 7"

Unidentified print of six men standing at the base of a tree. 5" x 71"

Photograph taken at the Senate subcommittee hearings held at the Shrine Temple, Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, October 19, 1937. 181/2" x 71/2"

Press Releases

Activities in the Senate

Letter to Hearst newspaper on a November 29, 1937 editorial

Partial list of accomplishments in the Senate

Press statement on water supply. April 28, 1938

Resolutions submitted at the Fifth Annual Convention of the Farmers Cooperative Elevator Association of Central Montana

Senator Pope's record on agriculture

Yea and Nay votes of Hon. James P. Pope, 75th Congress, 2nd & 3rd Sessions.


Printed copy of a document proclaiming the 150th anniversary of the Constitution. This resembles an illustrated manuscript with gilt borders, and miniature paintings of members of the Constitutional Congress around the edges. 18" x 23". (Rolled and placed in a cardboard tube)


"Moving Mountains to Make Fertilizer." A story of the International Agricultural Corporation. Reprinted from the Jan.-Feb. 1935 issue of The Orange Disc.

Report on Phosphate Conference, Pocatello, Idaho, Oct. 8-9, 1937. Included with this report is the "Report of the Joint Committee of the Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities and of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the Conservation and Use of Our National Phosphate Resources for the Permanent Benefit of the American People."

Rogers, Edmund B. "Report on Cassia City of Rocks, Cassia County, Idaho." 1938.

"Western Phosphate and Wyoming." Report to Congressional Committee, Pocatello, Idaho. July 20, 1938.

Speeches & Articles

Popper, David H. "The End of Naval Disarmament." Foreign Policy-Reports. October 23, 1935.

Popper, David H. "The Increasing Burden of Armaments." Foreign Policy Reports. October 24, 1934.

Roper, Jack. "Pope Oratorical Contest Oration." University of Idaho, 1938.

Stark, Roy Andrew. "The New Orthodoxy." Winning Oration of the Pope Oratorical Contest. University of Idaho, May 17, 1938.

July 1997 / mg107.htm

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