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COLLECTION Identifier: A-153; M-136

Papers of Jessica Weis, 1922-1963

Correspondence, speeches, articles, etc., of Jessica McCullough Weis, active in the Republican party on the county, state and national levels.

Dates

  • 1922-1963

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Originals closed: use microfilm (M-136).

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Jessica Weis is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Extent

7.21 linear feet ((7 cartons, 1/2 file box) plus 4 folio folders, 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder)

These papers yield almost no information about Jessica Weis' family or her personal life (childhood, adolescence, education, husband and children). There are, however, several letters to and from her mother, Jessie Martin Newhall, and some to or from other family members (see #1-2, 22, 40, 45, 62, 90-91). There is only a small amount of material about Weis' activities outside the Republican Party.

The papers do provide information about Weis' involvement in politics and the Republican Party. They document conventions and campaigns (1936-1956), the participation of women, requests for patronage, and her two terms in Congress. The congressional papers reveal Weis' and her constituents' stands on a variety of issues, and give some idea of the volume of mail and subjects dealt with by a congressional office.

Series I, Personal and biographical (#1-13), includes the following in the order listed: personal correspondence, calendars, clippings, photographs, and financial correspondence.

Series II, Non-party activities (#14-20), contains correspondence, lists, reports, publications, and other papers of some of the organizations to which Weis belonged and agencies to which she was appointed. Non-partisan political appointments are included in this series. The series is arranged alphabetically by name of organization or agency.

Series III, Republican Party (#21-97), is divided into four sections: Weis speeches and articles, political correspondence, presidential campaigns, and other party functions and organizations. The first and third sections are arranged chronologically, the second and fourth by subject or organization, and chronologically within most of these categories. The series includes correspondence, memorabilia, songs, printed material, reports, lists, press releases, programs, invitations, etc.

Weis often participated in campaigns simultaneously with other political activities. Researchers interested in a particular period should therefore look in all four sections and in Series IV.

Series IV, House of Representatives (#98-427), makes up the bulk of the collection and consists mainly of correspondence. The processor assumed that the arrangement was that of Weis' congressional office and has preserved it as much as possible.

The series is divided into five sections. The first consists of Weis' letters (carbon copies) to constituents, other members of Congress, government departments, consulates, non-governmental organizations, and the Republican Party. The arrangement is chronological by year, and alphabetical by name of recipient within each year.

Section two includes correspondence about military academy appointments, immigration and naturalization problems, and requests for employment assistance. The arrangement is alphabetical by name of applicant in each category.

The third section is correspondence with the executive branch and is arranged alphabetically by name of department.

Section four concerns legislation and includes the following in the order listed: correspondence, arranged alphabetically by legislative issue; Congressional bills and related correspondence, arranged mainly by date of legislative filing (correspondence on a subject may precede the actual bill); Weis' voting record in 1961, arranged chronologically; Weis' remarks about Susan B. Anthony for the Congressional Record; House Committee on the District of Columbia resolution about Weis; and some office records, including a visitors' book, supply records, and telephone bills.

Many prominent politicians and a variety of organizations wrote to Weis. Not all are included in the added catalog entries; researchers should therefore refer to the index in the printed guide. Letters found grouped by subject or by individual were kept together and placed chronologically on the basis of the earliest item in each group, even though not all letters on a particular subject or with an individual were filed in this way by Weis' staff.

In the case of government and organizational publications that did not contain information about or by Jessica Weis, only the covers and/or title pages were retained and microfilmed.

Most clippings were discarded after microfilming.

BIOGRAPHY

Jessica ("Judy") Weis, Republican Party activist and member of the United States House of Representatives, was born July 8, 1901, in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Jessie (Martin) and Charles H. McCullough, Jr. After attending elementary school in Buffalo, New York, she went to Miss Wright's School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and Madame Rieffel's School in New York City. In 1921 she married Charles W. Weis, Jr., and moved to Rochester, New York, where she raised three children, joined the Junior League and various other charitable organizations, started the Chatterbox Club (amateur theatricals), and became increasingly active in the Republican Party. Jessica Weis always encouraged women to be active in politics, as party workers and as candidates for public office. She supported the Equal Rights Amendment and often participated in the annual Rochester celebration honoring Susan B. Anthony. Her busy political life is reflected in the following chronology.
  1. 1920s-early 1930s: Neighborhood canvassing, ringing doorbells, organizing women
  2. 1935: Appointed vice-chair of the Republican Citizens Finance Committee
  3. 1936: Organized motorcades to campaign for Alfred M. Landon
  4. 1937-1944: Member of Advisory Committee of National Federation of Women's Republican Clubs
  5. 1937-1952: Vice-chair of Monroe County Republican Committee
  6. 1938: Monroe County delegate to Republican Educational League Council of New York
  7. 1940: Member of Committee of 48, which notified Wendell Willkie of his nomination; Delegate-at-large from New York to Republican National Convention
  8. 1940-1942: President of National Federation of Women's Republican Clubs, addressed meetings in 30 states
  9. ca. 1940: Became a member of state Republican Executive Committee
  10. 1943-1958: Republican National Committeewoman from New York
  11. 1944: Delegate, and vice-chair of New York delegation, to Republican National Convention
  12. 1948: Associate manager of the Thomas Dewey/ Earl Warren campaign; Delegate, and vice-chair of New York delegation, to Republican National Convention; seconded Dewey's nomination
  13. 1952- : Member of Republican National Committee's Executive Committee; Delegate, and vice-chair of New York delegation, to the Republican National Convention; member of caucus that selected vice-presidential candidate
  14. 1953-1958: Appointed by President Eisenhower to Advisory Committee of Federal Civil Defense Administration
  15. 1954: Named a United States delegate to Tenth Assembly of Inter-American Commission of Women (unable to attend)
  16. 1955: Appointed to Committee on Arrangements and chair of Sub-committee on [1956] Convention Program Planning
  17. 1956: Subject of Arlene Francis NBC Home Show television series; Delegate, and vice-chair of New York delegation, to Republican National Convention
  18. 1958: Husband, Charles W. Weis, Jr., dies
  19. 1958-1962: Elected to United States House of Representatives
  20. 1960: Assigned to House Committee on Science and Astronautics
  21. 1962: Ill, does not run for third term
  22. 1963: Dies May 1 in Rochester, New York
More biographical information is available in this collection. See also Who Was Who in America (1961-1968), and A Minority of Members: Women in the U.S. Congress, by Hope Chamberlin (New York: Praeger, 1973).

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in four series:
  1. I. Personal and biographical, #1-13
  2. II. Non-party activities, #14-20
  3. III. Republican Party, #21-97
  4. IV. House of Representatives, #98-427

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 831, 1328, 74-343

These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library in 1964 by the estate of Jessica Weis, in 1968 by the University of Rochester Library, and in 1974 by Charles M. Weis, Jessica Weis' son.

Processing Information

Reprocessed: July 1992

By: Bert Hartry
Link to catalog
Title
Weis, Jessica, 1901-1963. Papers of Jessica Weis, 1922-1963: A Finding Aid
Author
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Sponsor
The collection was reprocessed and microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project.
EAD ID
sch00955

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future.

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