Cornelius E. Gallagher Collection

1953-1972 (bulk: 1963-1972)

48.25 cubic feet

portrait of Neil Gallagher

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Biographical Sketch of the Creator of the Collection

Cornelius Edward "Neil" Gallagher was born on March 2, 1921, in Bayonne, New Jersey. During World War II he commanded an infantry rifle company in General George Patton's Third Army in Europe. He received his bachelor's degree in 1946 from John Marshall College and in 1948 his LL. B. from John Marshall Law School. After admission to the bar in 1949, Gallagher practiced law in Bayonne. He began his political career with election to the Hudson County (N. J.) Board of Freeholders in 1953 and appointment to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority in 1956. He was a prominent figure in New Jersey politics and was selected as a delegate to the 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968 Democratic National Conventions.

In 1958 Gallagher was elected as the representative of New Jersey's Thirteenth District in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he served from 1959-1973. During his fourteen years in the House, Gallagher was a member of the Foreign Affairs and Government and Operations committees and at times chaired the following subcommittees: Asian and Pacific Affairs, International Organizations and Movements, and Invasion of Privacy.

Gallagher had a variety of causes and interests while in Congress. He especially made a name for himself on privacy issues and was particularly concerned about government invasion of privacy. In 1963 Gallagher proposed a study of lie detector tests used by federal agencies with hearings on the topic being held the following year. Gallagher's Invasion of Privacy Subcommittee held hearings on a proposed National Data Center in 1966 to ensure "that the Government computers do not provide the means by which federal officials can intrude improperly into our lives." An attempt at creating a Select Committee on Privacy, Human Values, and Democratic Institutions failed in 1971. He advocated a civilian review board in 1972 to "cleanse and purge" FBI files following the death of J. Edgar Hoover.

Gallagher focused his energies on various topics in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1969 his International Movements and Organizations Subcommittee held hearings on the military's dumping of poison gas in the ocean. In the same year he also introduced a "pusher" bill, which proposed to make it illegal to transport narcotics across state lines and for adults to sell drugs to minors. In a debate over drug legislation in 1970 he submitted a "no-flush" amendment making it a crime in Washington, D.C., to own a building with indoor plumbing by which one could flush illicit substances, which was a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to the "no-knock" amendment. The congressman also proposed legislation concerning cancer research and treatment. In addition, Gallagher served on the Canada/U.S. Interparliamentary Group while in office. As chair of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, Gallagher held an interest in the war in Vietnam.

In 1968, Life magazine linked Gallagher to reputed Mafia figures, including Joseph Zicarelli and Harold Koningsberg. Although the House Ethics Committee did not investigate because it found no proof of violation of the House rules of ethics, the federal government pursued the case. In 1972, Gallagher pleaded guilty to tax evasion and perjury after an indictment on charges of perjury and conspiracy to hide kickbacks was handed down on April 7 of the same year. Earlier in 1972 he had lost the Democratic primary. Later Gallagher became vice president of Baron/Canning International.

Scope and Content of the Collection

The Cornelius E. Gallagher Collection contains 48.25 cubic feet of papers from his years in Congress. Dates covered are 1953-1972, but the bulk of the collection does not include the congressman's first two terms in office. Records contained in the collection are those of legislation, press releases, speeches, clippings, correspondence, and Congressional Record excerpts, along with New Jersey, departmental, and personal files. Included also in the collection is a small map series and a photograph collection.

The Gallagher Collection had been housed by the National Archives and Records Administration at the Washington National Records Center during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984 these papers were acquired by the Carl Albert Center.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following is a detailed listing of series, boxes, folders, and documents that can be found in the Gallagher collection.

Series 1: Legislative, 1958-1972

The legislative series comprises 26.25 cubic feet. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic. Included here are congressional reports and hearings, reference material, and correspondence with constituents and colleagues. The legislative series includes Gallagher's bills, as well as bills of other legislators. Among the topics represented are poison gas, foreign trade, school prayer, tax reform, voting, and air traffic control. There is also a large quantity of documents that exist from his involvement on the Foreign Affairs Committee, including folders on foreign aid, the United Nations, disarmament, national security policy, and international movements and organizations. In addition, Vietnam and the Canada/Interparliamentary Group are represented.

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Series 2: Press Releases/Speeches, 1960-1972

This series of 6.25 cubic feet contains not only releases and statements, but also excerpts from the Congressional Record and constituent correspondence about the subject of the release. Materials are arranged chronologically by the date of the release or speech. Among the subjects are poison gas, the "pusher" bill, pollution, privacy, cancer, and Vietnam.

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Series 3: New Jersey, 1959-1972

The New Jersey series of 5.5 cubic feet contains information the congressman gathered about his state and district, particularly the cities of Bayonne, Jersey City, Elizabeth, and Linden. These materials cover the entire 1959-1972 period. Topics include federal projects (housing, flood control, urban development, harbors), industry, and city and state government. The materials are arranged alphabetically by location name.

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Series 4: General, 1958-1972

This series comprises 4.5 cubic feet and is arranged alphabetically by topic. Much of the series includes materials regarding Gallagher's campaigns. Also included are biographical sketches of Democratic congressional candidates from New Jersey, the Committee of 100 Testimonial Dinner, invitations, correspondence with constituents and colleagues, appointments, the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, and the Wilton Park Conference held in England. Campaign documents in the series contain materials related to John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, Lyndon B. Johnson's bid for the presidency, and the inauguration of Richard M. Nixon.

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Series 5: Departmental, 1958-1972

Comprised of 1.25 cubic feet and arranged alphabetically by department name, the departmental series includes materials encompassing fallout shelters, Environmental Protection Agency news releases, the Cuban Refugee Program, cancer treatment drugs, education, the Scientology Institute in Washington, the Sussex Nine Corporation, and wiretapping. Also contained within the series is information on New Jersey state grants; the Peace Corps; the Geneva Disarmament Conference; Cambodian, Korean, and Vietnam prisoners of war; Sports International; the White House Conference on Aging; and the White House Conference on Children and Youth.

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Series 6: Personal, 1959-1970

This series contains .5 cubic feet and consists mainly of items from Gallagher's personal life, including birthday and greeting cards, membership materials from various organizations, correspondence concerning his views on various issues, and information on real estate in the Washington, D.C. area. The materials are arranged alphabetically within the series and chronologically in each folder.

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Series 7: Clippings, 1961-1972

The clippings series contains .25 cubic feet and is arranged alphabetically. Topics covered include Ellis Island/Liberty Island, cancer, John F. Kennedy Boulevard, the Meadowlands, pollution, privacy, railroads, and Vietnam. Included also are UPI releases, most of which make reference to Gallagher.

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Series 8: Correspondence, 1959-1972

The correspondence series comprises 2.75 cubic feet of the collection. Materials are arranged alphabetically by last name and chronologically within each folder. Only VIP names and names which appear at least five times are shown on the descriptive inventory. Both personal names as well as names of businesses and organizations are included.

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Series 9: Case Files, 1953-1972

This series of one cubic foot is organized alphabetically by subject and consists of correspondence from citizens residing in Gallagher's congressional district. Some materials are also from veterans and businesses.

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Series 10: Map Series, 1959-1970

The map series consists of 10 maps that include mass and rapid transit systems and proposals. Included is a tract map of Caven Point, a United States Army Reserve Center at Jersey City. A folder-title inventory exists for the collection.

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For more information on the archival holdings, please contact the Carl Albert Center.

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