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Herbert R. O'Conor and Herbert R. O'Conor, Jr. correspondence collection

Identifier: SC-006

Scope and Contents

The Herbert R. O'Conor and Herbert R. O'Conor, Jr. collection consists of letters written by prominent public officials to Herbert R. O’Conor and his son, Herbert R. O'Conor, Jr., from 1940 to 1970. The collection also includes a series of documents written by notable political, literary, and religious figures from 1781-1924.

Herbert O’Conor, Sr. served as Governor of Maryland (1939-1947) and as U.S. Senator from Maryland for one term (1947-1953). There are a few letters from Presidents Roosevelt and Truman while he was governor, but the majority of the letters are from Senate colleagues and federal officials he worked with while in the Senate. The material dating O'Conor's Senate term is the most detailed, including more than incoming letters, and gives some insight into O’Conor’s Senate activities, especially his committee work. As a member of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, O’Conor was involved in investigating shipments of goods to Communist China that might be used to support North Korea (1950-1952). O’Conor was also involved in the release of American journalist William N. Oatis imprisoned in Czechoslovakia (1951) and the collection includes letters and statements issued by O’Conor. There is a lengthy letter (1952) from the Secretary of Defense office rebutting claims by columnist Drew Pearson about the department’s budget.

O’Conor served on the Judiciary Committee’s Internal Security Subcommittee, and in 1952 was involved in investigating U.S. citizens employed by the U.N. who might have had sympathies with the Communist Party. There are statements by O’Conor as well as letters from the U.N. Secretary General Trygve Lie and Secretary of State Dean Acheson. There are follow up letters in 1954 from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge.

After he left the Senate, in 1953, O’Conor took a position as Washington counsel to the American Maritime Institute, and many of the letters after 1953 are addressed to him at that office. These are letters from elected officials (most from the Senate) thanking him for letters of congratulation on elections, condolences for a loss, or for sending reading material. Frequent correspondents include J. Edgar Hoover, Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy with some from Richard Nixon, Joseph McCarthy, Sam Rayburn, and John Marshall Butler. During this period, O’Conor was chair of the American Bar Association’s Special Committee on Communist Tactics, Strategy and Objectives and while there are letters referring to the completion of the report, the letters do not give details of the work. In 1955 O’Conor submitted a brief on behalf of the American Bar Association’s case, Communist Party of the United States v. Subversive Activities Control Board. Letters congratulating him on this are in the 1956 file.

Herbert O’Conor, Jr. held several offices in which he received letters from public officials. He was the Maryland state Democratic Party chair during the elections of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Some of the letters are thanks for election assistance, others relate to subsequent encounters. He served as the Maryland state banking commissioner from 1963-1967 and received letters from congressmen and several Presidents. Many date from 1967 when O’Conor sent senators a statement on the Truth in Lending bill. O’Conor was part of the U.S. delegation to the 22nd United Nations General Assembly, developing a friendship with Arthur Goldberg. In 1969, Goldberg sent his draft of a speech on International Education Year. There are also letters from Secretary General U Thant and Secretary of State Dean Rusk. In 1969, his term on the Commission on Consumer Finance ended and President Nixon sent a letter concerning his replacement. In 1963, O’Conor asked Harry Truman to autograph a ticket for the Democrats for “VICTORY” Dinner, 1958, at which Truman was the guest speaker. Truman’s reply and the autographed ticket are included.


  • Creation: 1781-1970
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1940-1970


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is located at the Loyola Notre Dame Library. Contact Archives and Special Collections for more information.

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Herbert R. O'Conor and Herbert R. O'Conor, Jr. correspondence collection is the physical property of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Notre Dame Library. Copyright, except in cases where material has passed into the public domain, belongs to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Biographical / Historical

Herbert Romulus O'Conor (November 17, 1896 – March 4, 1960) was born in Baltimore in a three-story row house on Homewood Avenue on November 17, 1896, the fourth son of James P. and Mary (Galvin) O’Conor. He received his early education at St. Paul’s Parochial School and at Loyola High School, and from there, he went on to Loyola College where he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1917.

Shortly thereafter, he entered the University of Maryland Law School, from which he received his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1920. During his law school days and for a short time thereafter, O’Conor worked as a reporter for the Evening Sun, covering police headquarters. On November 24, 1920, he married Eugenia Byrnes of Baltimore. They had five children: sons Herbert R. Jr., Eugene F., James P., and Robert, and daughter Mary Patricia O’Conor.

In 1921, he accepted an appointment as Assistant State's Attorney for Baltimore City, the start of a career that included service as State's Attorney of Baltimore City, Attorney General of Maryland, and two terms as Governor of Maryland. O'Conor was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1946, and served as Senator from 1947-1953. O'Conor later served as a labor consultant to the City of Baltimore and the general counsel to the American Merchant Marine Institute. He died in 1960.

Herbert R. O'Conor, Jr. was born in Baltimore and raised in Guilford and Annapolis, the son of Herbert Romulus and Eugenia Byrnes O'Conor. The eldest of four children, O'Conor graduated in 1939 from Loyola High School and earned his bachelor's degree in 1943 from Loyola College. During World War II, Mr. O'Conor enlisted in the Army and served in the adjutant general's department in Europe and the Pacific. He attained the rank of captain.

After returning to Baltimore, he graduated in 1949 from the University of Maryland School of Law. He began practicing with his father in the early 1950s, and specialized in hospital, banking and real estate law. He had been an assistant city solicitor for Baltimore in the mid-1950s and was a state banking commissioner from 1963 to 1967. He practiced law for years in the Fidelity Building with Casmir M. Zacharski Jr., and later joined the firm of Venable, Baetjer, Howard and Civiletti, from which he retired in 1995. Active in politics, Mr. O'Conor had served as state Democratic chairman during the presidential campaigns of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Appointed by the latter to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations in the mid-1960s, Mr. O'Conor became interested in world hunger. He later served for many years as director of the Maryland Committee for UNICEF and had been a member of the board of its U.S. committee. O'Conor died in 2003 at the age of 81.


"Herbert R. O'Conor," Archives of Maryland Biographical Series, Maryland State Archives. Website accessed 2018 October 5.

Rasmussen, Frederick N. “Herbert R. O'Conor Jr., 81, Lawyer, Humanitarian.” Baltimore Sun, 10 Dec. 2003, Website accessed 2018 October 5.


.47 Linear Feet (1 legal document box)

Language of Materials



The Herbert R. O'Conor and Herbert R. O'Conor, Jr. collection consists of letters written by prominent public officials to Herbert R. O’Conor and his son, Herbert R. O'Conor, Jr., from 1940 to 1970. The collection also includes a series of documents written by notable political, literary, and religious figures from 1781-1924. Herbert R. O'Conor served as Governor of Maryland (1939-1947) and as U.S. Senator from Maryland for one term (1947-1953). Herbert R. O'Conor, Jr. served in several statewide and national public service positions, including Maryland State Democratic Party Chair and U.S. delegate to the 22nd United Nations General Assembly.


The collection consists of three series. The letters are arranged chronologically within each series.

Series 1: Incoming Letters of Herbert O’Conor, 1940-1960. Series 2: Incoming Letters of Herbert O’Conor, Jr. 1952-1970. Series 3: Political, Literary, Religious Autographs, 1781-1924.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to Loyola College by Herbert R. O'Conor, Jr. in 1971, and transferred to the archives in 1992. The letters appear to have been culled from the papers of Herbert R. O’Conor and his son Herbert Jr., for their autograph value. Items written by Maryland politicians in the 18th and 19th century may have been purchased by the O'Conors.

Container List

This is a list of the prominent individuals whose correspondence can be found in the collection. Copies of outgoing letters or O’Conor writings are not listed, but are arranged chronologically within the series.

Series 1 Dean Acheson (1952) Jose Ma. de Areilza (1956) Alben W. Barkley (1956) J. Glenn Beall (1954) Charles E. Bennett (1953) Daniel B. Brewster (1958) Herbert Brownell (1954) Louis Francis Budenz (1955) John Marshall Butler (1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957) Harry F. Byrd (1954, 1956) Emanuel Celler (1950, 1953, 1958) A.J. Cicognani (1954, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960) Clyde Doyle (1953) Milton S. Eisenhower (1957) Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (1956) George H. Fallon (1955 James A. Farley (1954) J. Edgar Hoover (1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958) Hubert H. Humphrey (1956, 1958) Lyndon B. Johnson (1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959) Estes Kefauver (1953, 1955, 1958) John F. Kennedy (1956, 1957, 1959) Robert F. Kennedy (1955) Trygve Lie (1952) Henry Cabot Lodge (1954, 1957) Russell B. Long (1954) Douglas MacArthur (1944) Pat McCarran (1952, 1953, 1954, 1958) Joseph R. McCarthy (1953, 1955, 1957) Warren G. Magnuson (1959) Felix Morley (1955) Wayne Morse (1956) Richard Nixon (1958, 1959, 1960) John O. Pastore (1957) Sam Rayburn (1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960) William P. Rogers (1957, 1958) Franklin D. Roosevelt (1940-1941) Richard B. Russell (1955, 1956) Leverett Saltonstall (1944) 1946, 1947) John Sparkman (1967) Francis Cardinal Spellman (1956, 1957) Stuart Symington (1959) J. Millard Tawes (1953) Harry S. Truman (1945)

Series 2 Spiro T. Agnew (1967) Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr. (1953) Daniel B. Brewster (1962, 1963, 1965, 1968) John Connally (1964) George H. Fallon (1960 James A. Farley (1962) Samuel N. Friedel (1965) J. W. Fulbright (1965) Arthur J. Goldberg (1967, 1968, 1969) Louis L. Goldstein (1962, 1963) J. Edgar Hoover (1960) Harry R. Hughes (1962) Hubert H. Humphrey (1964, 1965, 1968, 1969) Lyndon B. Johnson (1960, 1962, 1964, 1968) Nicholas deB. Katzenbach (1967) John F. Kennedy (1960, 1961) Robert F. Kennedy (1962, 1963, 1964) Estes Kefauver (1960) Clarence D. Long (1966, 1970) Theodore R. McKeldin (1952 Warren G. Magnuson (1965) Charles McC. Mathias, Jr. (1953, 1969) Walter F. Mondale (1967) Edmund S. Muskie (1967) Richard Nixon (1969) William Proxmire (1967, 1968) William P. Rogers (1969) Dean Rusk (1967) Lawrence J. Shehan (1963, 1964, 1965 Sargent Shriver (1963, 1965) Carlton R. Sickles (1963, 1966 Adlai E. Stevenson (1963) J. Millard Tawes (1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1967 U Thant (1967) John G. Tower (1967) Joseph D. Tydings (1964, 1967, 1969) Harry S. Truman (1963) Earl Warren (1967 Byron R. White (1964)

Series 3 1781 James Brice to Col. Samuel Smith. Re: cloth for officers’ uniforms [1789-91] Michael Jenifer Stone to brother. Re: sale of Negroes; difficult travel from Philadelphia; Congress dealing with national debt and regulating militia; society in Baltimore, New York; trimming for cloak 1791 Pope Pius VII: pen and ink portrait and statement in Italian 1797 Dewitt Clinton and John McKesson law partnership agreement 1798 Luther Martin to ? re: legal opinion 1810 Samuel Smith to John Eager Howard re: application for aid from Society of Cincinnati 1813 Timothy Pickering to James McHenry re: reminiscences on their acquaintance 1826 Charles Carroll of Carrollton to Richard Riker re: medal sent to him on the completion of the Erie Canal 1846 Reverdy Johnson to William A. Bradley 1875 Cl. O’Conor to James R. Cox re: thanks for a letter 1898 James Cardinal Gibbons to Walter M. Newman re: request for an autograph 1923, 1924 G.K. Chesterton to “Dear Sir” re: G.K.C.’s Weekly (3 letters) n.d. G.K. Chesterton to M. Davray re: starting a paper

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2018 by Bria Langston and Jenny Kinniff.

Guide to the Herbert R. O'Conor and Herbert R. O'Conor, Jr. correspondence collection
Bria Langston and Jenny Kinniff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Loyola Notre Dame Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

200 Winston Avenue
Baltimore MD 21212