McGovern Library Archives
1200 W. University Ave.
Mitchell, SD 57301
Monday - Friday
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The Case Papers at Dakota Wesleyan University comprise two hundred fifty linear feet of records. They were an essential resource for Richard Chenoweth's "Francis Case: A Political Biography" South Dakota Historical Collections 39 (1978). This excellent biography is a useful point of entry for anyone who intends to use the papers for historical research.
Case estimated that one-half of his staff's time was devoted to constituent services, and the collection includes thousands of letters to and from individuals and extensive correspondence with federal agencies on their behalf. Prominent among Case's constituents were American Indians, and he served them sincerely and well. He tried several times to achieve compensation for the victims of Wounded Knee, and he usually had an American Indian on his staff. His papers include some twelve linear feet of correspondence with and about Indians. Much of this is indexed by personal names.
Following the death of Senator Case in 1962, his heirs presented the collection of his papers and books to the Friends of the Middle Border in Mitchell, South Dakota, to be preserved and used "in connection with Dakota Wesleyan University... to continue the ideas and ideals of Francis Case that popular government and cultural civilization start at the grass roots with the people."
These papers, which document extensively and in considerable detail the services of Francis Case to the State and the Nation, are presently housed in the Layne Memorial Library on the Wesleyan campus in Mitchell. They comprise 190 steel file drawers 35 standard transfer cases, totaling some 250 linear feet of manuscript and related material. With the exception of the military service academies, case files relating to veterans, the notebooks of his personal secretary, and his personal political correspondence, 1936-62--all papers covered by this inventory will be open for research use subject to regulations to be announced by the Friends of the Middle Border. Inquiries concerning access to the Case Papers should be addressed to the Executive Secretary of the Friends of the Middle Border,
This inventory identifies the major series of papers that make up the Case Collection and describes in varying detail their organization, date spans, quantity, and subject content. To the extent possible the order of the papers is that which was given to the materials by Senator Case and his staff. Hence, a basic knowledge of the organization of Congress, especially of its committee system, and of the legislative history of the period 1936-62, will be helpful to those wishing to make research use of them. The papers can be most effectively used in conjunction with the Congressional Record, especially the indexes thereto, and the House and Senate hearings, documents and reports for those years. There are no personal name indexes to the Case papers.
Series titles or entries in the inventory appear in upper-case type, and are numbered serially on the left margin. The numbers found at the right margin indicate the file drawer or drawers in which individual series or segments thereof will be found.
Francis H. Case was born in
During World War I Francis Case served in the United States Marine Corps, and was long a member of the Marine Corps Reserve. In 1926, he married Myrle Graves, of
From 1922 to 1942 Mr. Case edited newspapers in
Mr. Case served as a member of the State Regents of Education in
Francis Case's legislative record during his 25 years in Congress was identified with water conservation, economies in Government, an effective national defense system, and modern highway development. His resolution, adopted in 1939-40 by the House Committee on Flood Control, produced the studies which led to the authorization of the Missouri River Flood Control Act of 1944. His subsequent efforts in this area obtained initial funds for
Other projects which reflect his effort on behalf of the State include the Sioux, Vermillion, and
While in the House of Representatives he fought vigorously against "back-door spending", a form of government financing through Treasury borrowing rather than through direct congressional appropriations. He introduced the first legislative proposal for selling farm surpluses to foreign countries in exchange for foreign currencies, thus anticipating the Food for Peace Program. He worked successfully for the right of national suffrage for the citizens of the
In the Senate, Francis Case pioneered legislation leading to the Saline Water Acts of 1952-55, which authorized research into ways of converting brackish inland water and sea water into fresh water. The Desalinization Plant at
As a member of the House of Representatives he served on the Irrigation, Mines, Indian Affairs, and Appropriations Committees; on the Select Committees on Phosphate Investigations and on Foreign Aid and on the Joint Congressional Committee on Aviation Policy. While in the Senate, he served on the Public Works, Armed Services, and Appropriations Committees; on the Select Committees on Natural Resources and the Special Committee to Study Censure (of Sen. McCarthy). In 1960 he was appointed to the Senate Committee on Preparedness.
Explore the collection using the Case Collection Finding Aid.
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