Josh B. Lee Collection

1911-1972 (bulk: 1928-1966)

11.5 cubic feet

portrait of Josh Lee

Biographical Sketch of the Creator of the Collection

Josh Lee was born in 1892 in Childersburg, Alabama, and moved with his family to southern Oklahoma when he was three years old. He was educated in Baptist schools and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1917, where as a senior he won the National Oratorical Council prize. The next autumn, Lee joined the University of Oklahoma as an instructor in public speaking. He received the MA degree in political science from Columbia University in 1925, and an LLB degree from Cumberland Law School in Tennessee in 1926.

A Democrat, Lee represented Oklahoma's Fifth District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1935-1937. In 1936, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. As a congressman, Lee served on the Civil Service, Education, Pensions, and World War Veterans' Legislation Committees. As a senator, he served on the Commerce, Education and Labor, Irrigation and Reclamation, Military Affairs, and Public Lands and Surveys Committees.

Lee was a strong supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. Surprisingly in 1942, Lee was defeated in his Senate reelection bid by Edward H. Moore, an anti-New Deal Democrat, who had been nominated by the Republican Party. Lee had aroused the ire of beer forces with a proposed rider to a bill lowering the draft to prevent the sales of intoxicating liquor in the area of army camps. The beer forces campaigned for Moore, but the "drys" did not march for Lee. In 1943, President Roosevelt appointed Lee to an unexpired term on the Civil Aeronautics Board. He later served two additional six-year terms. In 1955, Lee returned to Norman, Oklahoma, to practice law. He died in Norman on August 10, 1967.

Scope and Content of the Collection

The Josh Lee Collection is a small collection of 11.5 cubic feet. It consists of correspondence, speeches, programs, clippings, and publications. The collection is organized into five series: speaking engagements and speeches; official correspondence; personal correspondence; resource material; and scrapbooks.

The speaking engagements and speeches series covers the years 1916-1966 and includes undated speeches as well. Because the audiences of the speaking engagements were so diverse-from high school commencement exercises to the chambers of Congress-the topics of the speeches are varied.

Aviation is the focus of the official correspondence series (1925-1967). Topics include aeronautical law, safety standards, and employment. This series also has information on politics and job appointments. The personal correspondence series (1914-1972) includes materials relating to Josh Lee's business and family life. There is also correspondence with political figures, such as Carl Albert and Claude Pepper.

The resource material series (1911-1967) contains magazine articles written by or about Lee; Civil Aeronautics Board cases and additional correspondence; biographical information; campaign material; clippings; newsletters; pamphlets; programs; and miscellaneous items. The scrapbook series (1933-1965) has correspondence, information on Lee's Senate years, his defeat for reelection to the Senate in 1942, the Civil Aeronautics Board, speaking engagements, clippings, magazine articles, and other miscellaneous material. Some of the scrapbooks include clippings from the Congressional Record.

A folder-level inventory contains more detailed information on the Lee Collection. It can be accessed through the box list below.

Box 1
Box 2
Box 3
Box 4
Box 5
Box 6
Box 7
Box 8
Box 9

Researchers are also directed to the Josh Lee Photo Collection. For more information on the archival holdings, please contact the Carl Albert Center.

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