Preserving the Legacy of a Career in Congress
David Vitter was a member of the United States Congress for Louisiana from 1999 and 2017 (Representative from 1999 to 2005, Senator from 2005 to 2017). Throughout the course of his political career, Senator Vitter created a congressional collection of records, photographs, and other materials that documented key issues from the Senator’s time in office, such as Hurricane Katrina relief, his role on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and constituent relations in Louisiana. In anticipation of his retirement, Senator Vitter wished to prepare his congressional collection for donation to Tulane University.
Efficient Processing of a Congressional Collection
History Associates began by conducting a box level inventory of the Senator’s records, which the Office delivered to Tulane University for review. Tulane determined that it would take them several years to make the collection available to researchers given their current resourcing situation. However, Senator Vitter wished to make his collection available to the public as soon as possible following his retirement. Through the support of an endowment to fund immediate processing, Senator Vitter’s office turned to History Associates for help.
Aided by our box level inventory, our team quickly weeded, organized, rehoused, described, and preserved the Senator’s 157 linear feet of records at our processing lab in Rockville, MD. We standardized the organization of the records according to the Library of Congress record types so that researchers could use a familiar process for finding congressional records. Throughout this engagement, we collaborated with the teams from both Senator Vitter’s Office and Tulane University to ensure agreement and satisfaction of all stakeholders.
Expedited Access for Future Researchers
We fulfilled the desire of Senator Vitter to offer quick user accessibility to his collection, while preserving and describing the collection according to professional best practice to ensure consistent integration into Tulane’s current systems.
Upon completion of History Associates’ processing work, the fully organized and rehoused collection of Senator Vitter’s papers arrived at Tulane University. In February 2017 – just one month after the collection’s arrival – the University opened the Senator David Vitter papers to researchers and other members of the public.
“The Vitter collection arrived at Tulane fully processed and described,” said Leon Miller, head of the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) at Tulane. “Without the help of History Associates, it might have taken years – rather than weeks – to make these papers available to the public.” You can view the finding aid here.
Preserve Your Legacy
We can help. Since 2002, we have provided quality congressional archival services to Members of Congress, serving more than 40 United States Senators and Representatives from both parties.
Call us at (301) 279-9697 or contact us online to discuss your project.