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Press Release - Sen. Conrad Preserves His Papers at SHSND & GWU


August 21, 2012

Candace Smith

Kimberly Jondahl

U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad to Preserve His Papers with State Historical Society of North Dakota and the George Washington University

The Two Institutions Will Partner to Preserve the Legacy of His 26-Year Senate Career

BISMARCK, N.D. – U.S. Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), who has served 26 years in Congress, said Tuesday he plans to donate his papers to his alma mater, the George Washington University (GW), in Washington, D.C., with the understanding that major portions of the collection also will be available through the State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND) in Bismarck.

Conrad made the announcement at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck, joined by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, GW President Steven Knapp and Director of the SHSND Merl Paaverud.

“I am so pleased to have a great North Dakota institution working with my alma mater to preserve these records,” said Sen. Kent Conrad. “I know they will find innovative ways to make these documents available to everyone.”

GW and the Historical Society will join about 600 other publicly accessible research institutions across the country who hold such collections from individuals who served in the U.S. Senate.

“We are honored to join the State Historical Society of North Dakota in a unique partnership that will make Sen. Conrad’s papers available to scholars, students and the general public both in Washington, D.C., and here in the state he has so ably represented for so many years,” said George Washington President Steven Knapp.

The collection will include more than 600 records storage boxes or the equivalent of 600 linear feet of archival materials from his Senate offices in Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot and Washington, D.C., as well as documents from his years as Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and from his campaigns over the years. From documents used to help draft various Farm Bills over the years, correspondence with fellow U.S. Senators, charts he became famous for pioneering the use of in Budget Committee and Senate floor debates, and White House photos with U.S. Presidents with which he served, Conrad’s papers chronicle 26 years of public policy debates important to North Dakota and the nation.

“Sen. Conrad’s long history of service to our state will be preserved for future generations of North Dakotans and will chronicle his role, as well as North Dakota’s role, in shaping our country’s policies and legislation,” said Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley. “We thank him for making his papers accessible to scholars and the public.”

The head of the State Historical Society of North Dakota also noted the important role the Senator’s service has played in North Dakota history.

“Senator Conrad’s papers will be a very important addition to the public record, and the State Historical Society is very pleased to participate in this new partnership with the George Washington University,” said Merl Paaverud, director of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. “This is an exciting opportunity for us.”

Documents in the collection include hand written notes on legislative activities, staff files on a wide range of policy issues and constituent services and even campaign literature and memorabilia dating back to Conrad's first U.S. Senate campaign in 1986.

“Senator Conrad has been at the center of every major attempt to fix the federal budget for the last several decades,” said Steve Mandeville-Gamble, GW’s Associate Librarian for Collections and Scholarly Communications. “His collection will help historians in the decades to come understand the difficult choices, and behind the scenes negotiations that helped determine the nation's fiscal policies during one of the most critical periods on that front in the nation's history.”

In the heart of the nation's capital with additional programs in Virginia, the George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 130 countries.

For more information, including video and downloadable photos and collection materials, please visit:

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