MS 546 - Delbert L. Latta Congressional Papers
|MS 546 - Delbert L. Latta Congressional Papers
The Congressional Papers of Delbert Leroy Latta, Republican Congressman from the Ohio Fifth District, consists of over 255 linear feet of correspondence, subject and committee files, clippings, press releases, and publications covering Latta's political career from 1959 through 1989, including the period of the Vietnamese Conflict and Watergate.
The collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections through the cooperation of Delbert Latta between August and December 1988. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The preliminary processing and inventory to the collection was prepared by Renate W. Prescott, a graduate student intern, with the final register completed by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in 1998. An addition was incorporated in 2012.
Delbert Leroy Latta was born on March 5, 1920 in the Wood County, Ohio town of Weston. Attending public school in North Baltimore, he graduated in 1938 from High School in McComb, Ohio. He attended Findlay College from 1938 to 1940, and got his LL.B degree in 1943 and an A.B. in 1945, both from Ohio Northern University in Ada.
During the period prior to World War II, from 1938 to 1941, Latta served in the Ohio National Guard and the United States Army, Thirty-Seventh Division, and was in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1942 and 1943.
He began his legal career with the practice of law in Bowling Green, Ohio, having been admitted to the bar in 1944. He served in the Ohio State Senate for three terms from 1953 to 1958, and then was elected to the 86th Congress on November 4, 1958, serving for fourteen terms until January 3, 1989.
During his tenure in Congress he was a member of the House Rules Committee, the House Budget Committee, where he was the ranking minority member, and served three terms as a member of the House Agriculture Committee. In addition, he was appointed to the Select Committee on Export Control of the 87th Congress; was a member of the Battle of Lake Erie Sesquicentennial Celebration Commission during the 88th Congress; and served on the Select Committee on Standards and Conduct of the 89th Congress. In his Party activities he was a member of the Republican Task Force on Agriculture, 89th Congress; appointed to the House Republican Policy Committee of the 92nd Congress; on the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee during the 93rd Congress; member of the Special Republican Legislative Program Task Force of the 94th Congress; was Chairman of the Ohio Republican Congressional Delegation of the 94th Congress; served as a Delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1968, 1972 and 1976. As a representative of the United States he was the U.S. Delegate to the Interparliamentary Union in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1973 and to the North Atlantic Assembly in England in 1974.
After Latta's Congressional career, he returned to his home in Bowling Green, Ohio, and was appointed to serve on the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees, with his term running from May 17, 1992 until May 16, 2001. He died on May 12, 2016, in Bowling Green.
|Scope and Content
The Delbert Latta Congressional Collection is a good representation of the political life of the Republican 5th U.S. Congressional District of Bowling Green for nearly 30 years from 1959 through 1989. Although some years are missing, the collection reflects not only constituents' views on certain issues, it also is a fairly accurate reflection of how Congressman Latta served his people.
These letters , which form the largest part of the collection, offer a rare insight into how the public generally felt about matters which affected them directly, such as Agriculture, concerns about aging (Social Security), and wider national issues such as the Vietnam War, Foreign Policy matters (immigration, the Iranian hostage situation, OPEC), Abortion, and Prayer in Schools.
Interestingly, Congressman Latta's response to issues in which he disagreed with the constituents view were sidestepped. For example, if someone wrote him a letter in favor of abortion or ERA, he would thank the person for the letter and perhaps add when the legislation was to come before the House. He very rarely wrote a letter in which he directly stated he disagreed with the constituent. When he answered an anti-ERA letter, he then answered that "like you, I am against the amendment." This was a very different kind of response compared to Lud Ashley who often stated boldly, "I couldn't agree with you less, and here's why." Then he would outline why he was for or against a particular piece of legislation.
In comparison with the Democrat, Thomas Ludlow Ashley Congressional Collection (MS-159), the researcher will find both collections invaluable to take the "pulse" of Northwest Ohioans for roughly the same time period. The researcher will be able to compare how each congressman reacted to issues which became important enough to prompt people to write to their congressman. The letters studied collectively also afford insight into the congressmen themselves and how each decided to address the constituent's concerns/needs.
Additional series in the collection document the day to day activities of a Member of Congress, with subject files providing the background information needed to make decisions and respond to the needs of the constituents, procedural and legal documents required in the activities of committee and legislative work, and public relations materials informing the public of actions and projects.
CORRESPONDENCE - YELLOW FILES
CORRESPONDENCE - GENERAL FILES
CORRESPONDENCE - DEPARTMENTAL FILES
CORRESPONDENCE - LEGISLATIVE FILES
VOTING RECORDS & CONGRESSIONAL RECORD VOLUMES
PRESS FILES - NEWSCLIPPINGS
PRESS FILES - TOPICAL
CORPS OF ENGINEERS FILES
POST OFFICE LISTINGS
BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY
RAILROAD REORGANIZATION PLAN
GRACE COMMISSION REPORTS ON COST CONTROL
COMMITTEE SUBJECT FILES
COMMITTEE SUBJECT FILES - BUDGET COMMITTEE
D.L.L. BILLS, 90TH-98TH CONGRESS
D.L.L. RESOLUTIONS & EXTENSION OF REMARKS
D.L.L. CONGRESSIONAL RECORD REMARKS
NIXON, WATERGATE, AND IMPEACHMENT FILES