Scope and Contents
Papers of Harley M. Kilgore, U.S. Senator from West Virginia. Includes typescripts, clippings, printed materials, and correspondence regarding U.S. Senate voting and campaigning; the Senate Judiciary Committee; correspondence with Federal government agencies, various individuals, and West Virginia state agencies; Senate legislation on a variety of topics, including appropriation, education, health, and housing; various West Virginia subjects and individuals; Kilgore's speeches, press releases, and radio broadcasts; and other topics.
Series 1. Political File [boxes 1-6], 1946-1952, undated
Series 2. Senate Judiciary Committee Papers and Other Senate Committees [boxes 7-9], 1949-1954, undated
Series 3. Correspondence with Federal Government Agencies [boxes 10-17], 1954–1956
Series 4. Legislative Files (Topical) [boxes 18-60], 1944–1955
Series 5. Legislative Files (Numerical) [boxes 61-69], 1949, 1953-1956
Series 6. General Correspondence [boxes 70-80], ca. 1927-1953
Series 7. General Correspondence with West Virginia State Agencies [boxes 81-82], undated
Series 8. West Virginia Matters (Topical) [boxes 83-87], 1948-1949, undated
Series 9. West Virginia Matters (Name File) [boxes 88-91], undated
Series 10. Speech File and Other Writings, Releases, etc. [boxes 92-107], 1941–1956
Series 11. Democratic Party Campaign Materials [boxes 108-109], 1952
Series 12. Coal Mine Problems [boxes 110-111], undated
Series 13. Post-War German Problems [boxes 112-116], 1944-1945, undated
Series 14. Department of Justice Patent Policy Survey [box 117], undated
Series 15. Miscellaneous Printed Materials [boxes 118-120], 1945, undated
Series 16. Clippings [boxes 121-123], 1946-1956, undated
Series 17. Senator's Constituent Lists, 1952 Campaign [boxes 124-129], 1952
Series 18. Senator's Voting Record, 80th-84th Congresses [boxes 130-132], 1947–1956
Series 19. Senator's Committee Work Books [box 133], undated
Series 20. Scrapbooks [boxes 134-145], 1941-1954, undated
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
No special access restriction applies.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center.
Biographical / Historical
Harley Martin Kilgore (January 11, 1893 - February 28, 1956) was born in Brown, West Virginia, to Quimby and Laura Martin Kilgore. He received his LL.B. from West Virginia University in 1914 and was admitted to the bar the same year.
He taught school in Hancock, West Virginia in 1914 and 1915. Also in 1915, he organized the first high school in Raleigh County, WV, and served as principal. He established his law practice in Beckley, WV in 1916. During World War I, he served in the infantry from 1917 and was discharged as a captain in 1920. Kilgore married Lois Elaine Lilly in Huntington, WV on May 10, 1921. That same year, he helped organize the West Virginia National Guard, and was promoted to major and appointed commander of 2nd Battalion the following year. He also served as Beckley city recorder in 1922. His son, Robert Martin Kilgore, was born in 1924. His daughter, Elinor Stuart Kilgore, was born in 1926.
In 1932, Kilgore was assigned to the state headquarters of the National Guard. He was elected judge of the Raleigh County criminal court from 1933 to 1940 on the Democratic ticket. In 1940, he was elected to the U.S. Senate with support from the Neely faction of the Democratic Party, and won reelection in 1946 and 1952. Also in 1940, he was placed on active military duty as judge advocate for West Virginia's Selective Service system until he entered the Senate. A member of the U.S. Senate from 1941 until his death, Kilgore served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program. In October 1942, he became chair of the Subcommittee on War Mobilization of the Military Affairs Committee (also known as the Kilgore Committee).
In 1948, Kilgore served as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention, where he was an outspoken supporter of Harry S. Truman. He retired from the West Virginia National Guard as a lieutenant colonel in 1953. He died in 1956 at age 63 at Bethesda Naval Hospital, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
57.7 Linear Feet (Summary: 57 ft. 8 in. (130 document cases, 5 in.); (4 small flat storage boxes, 3 in.); (8 large flat storage boxes, 3 in.); (4 scrapbooks, 6 in. total))