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Berkley Bedell papers

 Collection
Identifier: RS 21/7/29

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

This collection (circa 1960s-1986) documents Bedell's unsuccessful 1972 Congressional campaign and his ensuing Congressional career (1975-1986). Materials include briefing books; clippings; correspondence to and from constituents, fellow politicians, and other interests; legislation pamphlets; issue summaries; newsletters; photographs and negatives; reports; slides; speeches and floor statements; visitors' books; and voting records. Materials are often grouped by subject, administrative use, or legislative bill or issue. This collection has been minimally processed, so materials are identified by box number, not by individual folder number.



Series 1, Administrative and legislative materials, contains administrative and legal materials produced by the office of Congressman Bedell during his ten-year legislative career. Materials include campaign files, legislative files for individual bills, meeting materials, memorandums, project files, research, reports, and subject files. Individual bill files often contain the specific bill and hearings transcripts, and may also include an indication of Bedell's vote.



Series 2, Correspondence, contains correspondence with constituents, fellow members of Congress, and administrative files related to office correspondence. The bulk of constituent correspondence is incoming, though form letters and form letter drafts that were sent to constituents are present. Letters are generally sorted by subject and may be labeled with either the topic or with a code that correlates to a specific subject or piece of legislation. Forms that record telephone interactions with constituents are mixed in with correspondence. Correspondence with congressional colleagues is mostly comprised of "dear colleague" letters, which are form letters that promote proposed legislation. Form letters sent in response to constituents are sometimes referred to as "robos" in administrative files and memorandums.



Series 3, Press materials, contains files of news clippings, press releases, campaign and Congressional office newsletters, and floor statements and speeches given by Bedell that may have been reported in the press. Clippings often relate to current news events, particularly in Iowa, in addition to reporting on Bedell.

Dates

  • circa 1960s-1986

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives

Biography/Profile

Berkley Warren Bedell was born in Spirit Lake, Iowa, on March 5, 1921. In high school, he began selling hand-tied fishing flies, a venture that turned into the Berkley Fly Company. Upon Bedell's graduation from high school in 1939, he had several employees and had moved the business out of his family home to a local storefront.



Bedell attended Iowa State University briefly (1940-1942) before joining the United States Army (1942-1945) where he served as first lieutenant and flight trainer. In 1945, he returned to Spirit Lake and started Berkley and Company, a business focused on cable wire leaders and later developed a number of other fishing equipment including fishing line, reels, bait, and rods. Berkley and Company was a large employer that expanded internationally in the 1970s.



Bedell served on the Spirit Lake Board of Education (1957-1962) before he ran, unsuccessfully, as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in 1972 against incumbent Wiley Mayne. In 1974, he defeated Mayne and served in the 94th through 99th Congresses (1975-1987). His interests included agriculture, commerce, and foreign relations. During his tenure, Bedell chaired the House Committee on Agriculture's Subcommittee on Department Operations, Research, and Foreign Agriculture and served on the House's Small Business Committee.



Bedell did not run for reelection in 1986 due to a severe case of Lyme disease and was soon after diagnosed with prostate cancer. As a result, he founded the Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine and pursued involvement with a number of organizations involved with Lyme disease and alternative medicine, including the Lyme Disease Foundation and the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine. From January 2013 to January 2014, Bedell self-published a book Revenue Matters on his blog, BerkleyBedellBlog.com.



Bedell married the former Elinor Healy in 1943 and together they raised three children. In 1998, the Bedells gifted 80 acres on Lake Okoboji to the state of Iowa that is now Elinor Bedell State Park.



Sources



"History." Berkley. http://www.berkley-fishing.com/History/Berkley-history,default,pg.html



"Bedell, Berkley Warren, (1921 - )." Biographical Dictionary of the U.S. Congress

Extent

162.2 Linear Feet (124 record cartons, 2 document boxes, 1 half-document box)

Abstract

Berkley Warren Bedell, a native of Spirit Lake, Iowa, was a six-time Democratic Congressman (1975-1987) from Iowa's sixth district. Bedell attended Iowa State University briefly (1940-1942) before joining the United States Army (1942-1945) where he served as first lieutenant and flight trainer. In 1945, he returned to Spirit Lake and started Berkley and Company, an international fishing equipment business. In Congress, Bedell's interests included agriculture, commerce, and foreign relations. He chaired the House Committee on Agriculture's Subcommittee on Department Operations, Research, and Foreign Agriculture and served on the House's Small Business Committee. This collection (circa 1960s-1986) documents Bedell's unsuccessful 1972 Congressional campaign and his ensuing Congressional career. Materials include briefing books; clippings; correspondence; legislation pamphlets; issue summaries; newsletters; photographs and negatives; reports; slides; speeches and floor statements; visitors' books; and voting records.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into three series:

Series 1, Administrative and legislative materials, 1967-1986 (alphabetical)

Series 2, Constituent correspondence, 1974-1986 (alphabetical)

Series 3, Press materials, 1960s-1986 (chronological)

Physical Location

This collection is stored offsite. Please contact the Special Collections and University Archives at least 3 working days in advance.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

Title
RS 21/7/29. Berkley Bedell papers, circa 1960s-1986
Date
July 1, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Contact:
403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672