Professor of Political Science


Notes and background materials on interviews with Republican members of the U. S. House of Representatives concerning the selection of party leaders in 1965 and the subsequent performance of the leadership team during the 89th Congress. Most interviews focus on the contest for Minority Leader between Charles Halleck and Gerald Ford. Others concern Melvin Laird's election as Chairman of the Republican Conference over Peter Frelinghuysen, Les Arends' election as Minority Whip over Frelinghuysen, and the selection of John Rhodes and Charles Goodell as chairmen of the Republican Policy Committee and the Republican Planning and Research Committee respectively.

0.6 linear feet (ca. 1200 pages)

Robert L. Peabody (accession number 94-38)


Professor Peabody donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections. The copyrights of interviewees and the copyrights to materials written by other individuals or organizations are presumed to remain with them. Works prepared by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duties are in the public domain.

Prepared by William McNitt, August 1994
[s:\bin\findaid\peabody, robert - interviews.doc]


Robert L. Peabody

Dec. 23, 1931 - Born, Seattle, WA

1954 - B.A., University of Washington

1956 - M.A., University of Washington

1960 - Ph.D., Stanford University

1960-61 - Post-doctoral research fellow, Brookings Institution

1961-- Member of the faculty, Department of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University; participant, American Political Science Association Study of Congress; he has also received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the Ford Foundation and served as a congressional intern to the House Majority Whip.


Soon after suffering severe losses in the 1964 elections, Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives began discussing organizational and leadership changes. As a political scientist specializing in the study of Congress, Professor Robert Peabody of Johns Hopkins University became interested in studying these potential changes.

Beginning in late December 1964, Peabody conducted off-the-record interviews with many Republican members of Congress and a few of their staff members. Although he apparently did not tape any of these interviews, Peabody took brief notes during the discussions and then typed up more detailed summaries soon thereafter. The bulk of this collection consists of the typed interview notes, although some folders contain only handwritten notes and a few contain both the typed and handwritten versions. Peabody used some of these interview notes as source material for a scholarly article on the Ford-Halleck leadership contest. He published the article ("The Ford-Halleck Minority Leadership Contest, 1965") in 1966 as Number 40 of the Eagleton Institute Cases in Practical Politics and later reprinted it as a chapter in his book Leadership in Congress: Stability, Succession, and Change (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1976).

Many of the interviews focus on the successful campaign of Gerald R. Ford to unseat Charles Halleck as Minority Leader of the House. Ford had announced his challenge on December 18, 1964 and the brief, but intense, campaign ended with a 73-67 victory by Ford in the January 4, 1965 meeting of the Republican Conference (or general caucus). Some of the "Young Turks" who played key roles in Ford's campaign were Robert Griffin, Charles Goodell, and Donald Rumsfeld. Many interviews also contain information on Melvin Laird's contest with Peter Frelinghuysen to succeed Ford as Republican Conference Chairman. Laird won by a 77-62 margin in the Conference meeting on January 4.

In subsequent weeks, House Republicans faced other leadership contests. One of Ford's earliest acts as Minority Leader was to back Representative Peter Frelinghuysen in his campaign to replace the incumbent Minority Whip Les Arends. Arends prevailed in the January 14 voting, thereby handing Ford his first defeat. Ford-supporter Charles Goodell was a candidate to chair the Republican Policy Committee, but the emergence of John Rhodes as a candidate threatened another major leadership battle. This confrontation was avoided through the creation of a new Planning and Research Committee to do long-range policy planning. The Republican Conference named Rhodes chairman of the Policy Committee and Goodell chairman of the Planning and Research Committee. Many interviews discuss both the Whip contest and the long struggle over the Policy Committee, including frequent interviews with Goodell.

During the period in which the House Republicans were making these leadership decisions, Representative Al Quie was chairing a Committee on Organizational Structure. This committee examined the organization of the House Republicans and recommended changes. For instance, it recommended that members with leadership roles should not also serve as the ranking Republican on standing committees of the House. A small number of interviews, especially those with Quie, focus on the work of this committee and the ratification of its recommendations by the Republican Conference.

Peabody continued interviewing into April 1965 and conducted some further interviews in 1966. Although many of the later interviews touch on the 1965 leadership races, they focus on assessments of the work of the leaders since that time. Some include information on the handling of such issues as the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1966, and the Vietnamese War. Others concern the upcoming 1966 congressional elections.

When Professor Peabody donated this collection to the Ford Library, it was arranged in six folders, organized by topic. Interviews and background material appeared in each folder. As the topics overlapped and many interviews related to multiple subjects, archivists reorganized the interviews into a single chronological sequence during processing. See Appendix A for a list showing the original organization of the interviews.

Related Materials (August 1994)
The most important related collections are the Ford Scrapbooks and the Ford Congressional Papers. In the latter collection, see especially the folders labeled "Republican House Organization" in the General and Case File for 1964 and 1965 (Boxes A16 and A30). For information on the activities of the Republican House leaders in later years, see also the House of Representatives File in the Robert Hartmann Papers. In addition, many of the William Syers interviews concern Ford's work as Minority Leader.


Research Interview Notes, 1964-67.  (Boxes 1-2, 0.5 linear feet)
Peabody's notes on interviews with Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their staff members. Most of the interviews concern the selection of the Republican leadership team - Minority Leader, Minority Whip, Conference Chairman, and chairmen of the Republican Policy Committee and the Republican Planning and Research Committee. In addition, some early interviews focus on the work of the Committee on Organizational Structure and most of the later ones concern assessments of the work of the Republican leadership and the handling of such issues as the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1966, and the Vietnamese War. Key individuals whom Peabody interviewed multiple times are Charles Goodell, Robert Griffin, Melvin Laird (and his aide Bill Baroody), Don Rumsfeld, Al Quie, Robert Ellsworth, Bob Wilson, and Tom Curtis.

Arranged chronologically by date of the interview.

View container list for this series

Background File, 1961-66. (Box 2, 0.1 linear feet)
A small file of newspaper and magazine clippings, notes, publications, and some copies of documents concerning the selection of the Republican leadership in 1965, its subsequent activities, and the history of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.

Arranged chronologically into two folders, with a third folder containing the campaign committee history.

View container list for this series


Box 1 - Research Interview Notes

  • Dec. 29, 1964 - Robert Griffin Interview
  • Dec. 30, 1964 - Donald Rumsfeld Interview
  • Dec. 31, 1964 - Albert Quie Interview
  • Jan. 6, 1965 - Robert Griffin and Charles Goodell Interview (Conducted by Roger Mudd)
  • Jan. 6, 1965 - Melvin Laird Interview
  • Jan. 7, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Jan. 8, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Jan. 11, 1965 - John Anderson Interview
  • Jan. 11, 1965 - Alphonzo Bell Interview
  • Jan. 12, 1965 - Charles Mathias Interview
  • Jan. 13, 1965 - Chester Mize Interview
  • Jan. 13, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Jan. 14, 1965 - Thomas Curtis Interview
  • Jan. 14, 1965 - Robert Griffin Interview
  • Jan. 14, 1965 - House Whip Contest Notes
  • Jan. 14, 1965 - John Lindsay Interview
  • Jan. 14, 1965 - Fred Sontag Interview
  • Jan. 15, 1965 - Robert Griffin and Charles Goodell Interview
  • Jan. 18, 1965 - Robert Ellsworth Interview
  • Jan. 19, 1965 - Silvio Conte Interview
  • Jan. 19, 1965 - Glenard Lipscomb Interview
  • Jan. 22, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Jan. 22, 1965 - William Kendall Interview (Aide to Peter Frelinghuysen)
  • Jan. 25, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Jan. 26, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Jan. 26, 1965 - Brad Morse Interview
  • Jan. 26, 1965 - Richard Poff Interview
  • Jan. 27, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Jan. 27, 1965 - Rogers Morton Interview
  • Jan. 28, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Jan. 29, 1965 - William Baroody, Jr. Interview (Aide to Melvin Laird)
  • Feb. 1, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Feb. 1, 1965 - Catherine May Interview
  • Feb. 2, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Feb. 3, 1965 - Thomas Curtis Interview
  • Feb. 3, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Feb. 4, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Feb. 23, 1965 - Notes on Republican Conference Meeting on the Republican Policy Committee
  • Feb. 24, 1965 - Frank Fortune Interview (Reporter, Buffalo Evening News)
  • Feb. 24, 1965 - Melvin Laird Interview
  • Mar. ?, 1965 - John Anderson Interview
  • Mar. ?, 1965 - John Saylor Interview
  • Mar. 18, 1965 - Albert Quie Interview
  • Mar. 19, 1965 - Wisconsin Delegation Notes
  • Mar. 22, 1965 - John Byrnes Interview
  • Mar. 24, 1965 - Melvin Laird Interview
  • Mar. 30, 1965 - William Baroody, Jr. Interview (Aide to Melvin Laird)
  • Mar. 30, 1965 - Paul Findley Interview
  • Mar. 30, 1965 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Apr. 6, 1965 - William Pitts Interview (Aide to Les Arends)
  • Apr. 7, 1965 - James G. Fulton Interview
  • Apr. 7, 1965 - Bob Wilson Interview
  • Apr. 9, 1965 - Jim Martin Interview
  • Apr. 9, 1965 - Donald Rumsfeld Interview
  • Apr. 12, 1965 - William Cramer Interview
  • Apr. 13, 1965 - Melvin Laird Interview
  • Apr. 14, 1965 - Robert Ellsworth Interview
  • Jan. 25, 1966 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Jan. 26, 1966 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Mar. 10, 1966 - William Baroody, Jr. Interview (Aide to Melvin Laird)
  • Apr. 22, 1966 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Apr. 28, 1966 - Notes on Theodore Kupferman Speech to Young Republicans
  • May 2, 1966 - Bob Wilson Interview

Box 2 - Research Interview Notes

  • Aug. 1, 1966 - H. Allen Smith Interview
  • Aug. 3, 1966 - Silvio Conte Interview
  • Aug. 3, 1966 - Charles Goodell Interview
  • Aug. 5, 1966 - John Anderson Interview
  • Aug. 5, 1966 - Jack Edwards Interview
  • Aug. 5, 1966 - Donald Rumsfeld Interview
  • Aug. 9, 1966 - Albert Quie Interview
  • Oct. 15, 1966 - Notes on Republican Congressional Reorganization Plans
  • Nov. 2, 1966 - Robert Ellsworth Interview
  • Jan. 9, 1967 - House Republican Conference Meeting Notes
  • Feb. 27, 1967 - Henry H. Wilson Interview (White House Staff)

Box 2 (Continued) - Background File

  • Background Materials - Clippings, Notes, and Documents (1)-(2)
  • Republican Congressional Campaign Committee - History, 1966 (Publication)