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Inventory of the John N. Erlenborn Congressional Collection, 1965 - 1984


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Descriptive Summary
Repository: Benedictine University Library, Archives and Special Collections
Creator: Erlenborn, John N., 1927-2005.
Title: John N. Erlenborn Congressional Collection, 1965 - 1984
Language of Materials: Materials in English
Abstract: John N. Erlenborn represented the 14th Congressional district of Illinois in the United States Congress between 1965 and 1985 (89th to 98th Congresses). He retired after serving in the 98th U.S. Congress.

Collection consists of correspondence with constituents, transcripts of speeches, documentation of all committee work (particularly the Committee on Government Operations and the Committee on Education and Labor), bills introduced by Erlenborn, photographs, scrapbooks, and other ephemera.
Extent: 145 linear feet, 116 records center boxes

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Some personnel materials may be restricted.


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Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


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Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John N. Erlenborn Congressional Collection SC-101, Archives and Special Collections, Benedictine University, Lisle, IL, USA.


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Acquisitions Information

Received from John N. Erlenborn of Hinsdale, Ill. in 1984.


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Processing Information

Processed by Benn P. Joseph, December, 2006

Encoded by Benn P. Joseph, January, 2007


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Additional Descriptive Resources

Donor lists and inventories are available.


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Biographical Note

John Neal Erlenborn was born in Elmhurst, Ill. on February 8, 1927. After graduating from Immaculate Conception High School in Elmhurst, he briefly attended University of Notre Dame before enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He eventually obtained a law degree from Loyola University Law School in Chicago in 1949. After law school, Erlenborn practiced at a private law firm, and also acted as the assistant State's attorney, both in DuPage County, Ill., between 1950-1952. In 1957, he began serving as a State Representative for the 36th District (Springfield, Ill.). Here Erlenborn participated as the Chairman of several committees, including the House Governmental Economy Committee, the Special Committee to Investigate Rent Gouging, the Illinois Economy Bloc, and the Agriculture, Conservation, Insurance, Judiciary, and Elections and Reapportionment Committees.

In 1965, Erlenborn was elected by the 14th District of Illinois to serve as a GOP Representative in the 89th Congress. During his tenure in Congress, Erlenborn became known as "Mr. ERISA" for his consistent support of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which was passed in 1974 after six years of debate. In addition to his support of ERISA, Erlenborn was active on both the Committee on Government Operations and the Committee on Education and Labor, taking stances that favored the interests of business and management. He opposed bills to increase the minimum wage, fought the creation of consumer protection agencies and the Department of Education, and attempted to strip the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of any enforcement authority.

Erlenborn did not run for re-election in 1984, but remained very active in political affairs, especially those involving commerce, labor, and pensions. He was 78 and living in Warrenton, Virginia at the time of his death in 2005.


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Collection Overview

The collection documents most of John Neal Erlenborn's activities while he was a member of Congress, which runs from 1966 to 1984. Letters from constituents about various topics of debate are included, as well as notes and other information regarding public statements and speeches given by Erlenborn in various U.S. locations. During his time in office, Erlenborn was active on the Committee on Government Operations and Committee on Education and Labor, and to a lesser extent the Committee on Population and the National Commission on Student Financial Assistance. Most of his activity in championing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 can be found in series 3.3, but bills pertaining to specific aspects of ERISA can be found in 3.1 and 3.2, as can information on the ERISA oversight hearings after 1974.

The collection also includes bills introduced or initially sponsored by Erlenborn, including those introduced by committees. Bound hearings regarding these bills have been left according to the original order of the collection, in order to serve as a frame of reference. Scrapbooks have been left intact, and include mostly newspaper clippings and some correspondence and other ephemera. Of note are two letters from Gerald Ford as well as well as a document officially designating Erlenborn as the nominee for Republican candidate for Congress.

Photographs are organized by date and are mostly of visitors to Erlenborn's office, either in Illinois or Washington, D.C., but also included here are photographs of important Presidential and Congressional events. Gerald Ford, King Peter II of Yugoslavia, Richard Nixon, Helmut Schmidt, Orrin Hatch, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and the winners of various "Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow" competitions are some of the individuals appearing with Erlenborn in this series.

Erlenborn also received numerous trophies, plaques, and other items from various organizations, including labor unions, watchdog groups, and grade school classes, which are included in the collection.

Collection Arrangement

In most cases original order has been maintained. As a result of this, series 3 and 4 are arranged chronologically and by bill or resolution number; please consult with the archivist if you are interested in viewing materials on a particular subject and do not know their specific date or number.

1. Correspondence, 1969-1984
2. Statements, Speeches, and Remarks, 1969-1984
3. Committee Work, 1967-1984
4. Bills Introduced, 1966-1984
5. Press Releases and Publications, 1966-1984
6. Scrapbooks, 1965-1984
7. Photographs, 1966-1984

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Online Catalog Headings

These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online catalogs.

Black lung.
Bush, George, 1924-.
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-.
Coal mine accidents.
DuPage County (Ill.)--Economic conditions.
Freedom of Information Act.
Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Labor Unions.
Library of Congress.
Mine safety--Law and legislation.
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994.
Project Head Start (U.S.).
Reagan, Ronald.
Social Security Administration.
United States--Davis-Bacon Act.
United States--Department of Education.
United States--Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
United States--Foreign relations--Communist countries.
United States--Foreign relations--Middle East.
United States--Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
United States--National Historical Publications and Records Commission Appropriations and expenditures.
United States--National Labor Relations Board.
United States--National Security Directives.
United States--Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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Separated Items

Oversize scrapbooks containing newsclippings and some correspondence, as well as Congressional Memorial proceedings, trophies, political pins, stickers, plaques, memorial books, slides, film clips, souvenir plates, and "Lincoln Log".

Scrapbooks:
OS-SC-101-01: 1965
OS-SC-101-02: 1966
OS-SC-101-03: 1968-1969
OS-SC-101-04: 1969-1971

Related Collections

Constituent correspondence from DuPage and Will Counties concerning foreign policy and business and labor legislation in 1967-1968 held at the Illinois State Historical Library.

Detailed Description of the Collection











1. Correspondence, 1969-1984.
About 1,100 items.
Arrangement: alphabetical by topic, then chronological.
Professional and form letters from Erlenborn to constituents. Correspondence in this series consits chiefly of carbon copies of Erlenborn's replies; letters from constituents to Erlenborn are not included, except in letters concerning his retirement. Also included are analyses of letter-writing campaigns.
Box 1 Constituent correspondence, 1969-1980
Box 2 Constituent correspondence, 1980-1984
Box 3 Joint letters, mail analysis reports, and retirement correspondence, 1983-1984











2. Statements, Speeches, and Remarks, 1965-1984.
About 1,200 items.
Arrangement: speeches are chronological; statements, votes, and remarks are alphabetical by topic.
Transcripts, travel information, and notes of all Erlenborn's speeches are included here, as well as official statements and public remarks made while in office. Speeches are organized chronologically and folders are labeled with the speech title, location, and date. As Erlenborn's chief interests laid with economic groups and labor organizations, many of the speeches included here were given to labor unions and groups involved with pension policy reform. This is also true in the case of public statements and remarks.
Box 4 Statements: Agriculture-Government (A-G)
Box 5 Statements: Government-Welfare (G-W)
Box 6 Speeches, 1966-1970
Box 7 Speeches, 1971-1972
Box 8 Speeches, 1972-1973
Box 9 Speeches, 1974-1975
Box 10 Speeches, 1976-1977
Box 11 Speeches, 1978-1980
Box 12 Speeches, 1981
Box 13 Speeches, 1982
Box 14 Speeches, 1983
Box 15 Speeches, 1984
Box 16 Speeches, 1984
Box 17 Votes and Remarks, 1965-1972 (89th-91st Congresses)
Box 18 Votes and Remarks, 1973-1980 (92nd-94th Congresses)
Box 19 Votes and Remarks, 1973-1980 (95th-96th Congresses)
Box 20 Votes and Remarks, 1980-1984 (97th-98th Congresses)











3. Committee Work, 1967-1984.
About 3,800 items.
Arrangement: chronological, then by bill number.
Materials are broken down into five series. The first two subseries chronicle the activities of the Committee on Government Operations and the Committee on Education and Labor (and their subcommittees), the most active committees of which Erlenborn was a member. His activities on the Committee on Government Operations were mostly concerned with the Social Security Administration and government accountability in all forms, though he was also passionate about the Freedom of Information Act and was instrumental in passing the Privacy Act of 1974. When the Department of Education was established in 1978, Erlenborn voiced his objection to the DOE through both this committee and the Committee on Education and Labor. Erlenborn also championed causes involving youth employment, child nutrition, and standardized tests through the Committee on Education and Labor, but was best known for his links with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as his research contributing to the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act. Detailed accounts of the Kepone pesticide incident at Hopewell, Virginia, the Scotia Mine disaster of 1976, and the Hyden, Kentucky coal mine explosion of 1971 are included here.
The third subseries contains the majority of Erlenborn's ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) materials. Other ERISA materials are present in the series for the Committee on Education and Labor and can be found under the name of each individual bill. Erlenborn's activities on the Committee on Population are also found here, and deal mainly with family planning issues and adolescent pregnancy, and include drafts of the committee's proposed policies on population in the United States. Reports and studies from Erlenborn's brief participation in the National Commission for Student Financial Assistance are also found here.

3.1. Committee on Government Operations, 1967-1984.
About 1,100 items.
Box 21
Bound hearings, 1967-1968 (90th Congress)
Box 22
Bound hearings, 1967-1968 (90th Congress)
Box 23
Bound hearings, 1969-1970 (91st Congress)
Box 24
Bound hearings, 1969-1970 (91st Congress)
Box 25
Bound hearings, 1969-1970 (91st Congress)
Box 26
Bound hearings, 1971-1972 (92nd Congress)
Box 27
Bound hearings, 1971-1972 (92nd Congress)
Box 28
Bound hearings, 1971-1972 (92nd Congress)
Box 29
Consumer Protection Act, 1971-1978 (92nd-95th Congresses)
Box 30
Bound hearings, 1973-1974 (93rd Congress)
Box 31
Bound hearings, 1973-1974 (93rd Congress)
Box 32
Bound hearings, 1973-1974 (93rd Congress)
Box 33
Privacy Act and Reorganization Plans, 1973-1978 (93rd-95th Congresses)
Box 34
Consumer Protection Act, 1977-1978 (95th Congress)
Box 35
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 6972 - S. 991, 1977-1978 (95th Congress)
Box 36
Bound hearings, 1979-1980 (96th Congress)
Box 37
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files A-Z, 1979-1980 (96th Congress)
Box 38
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 2 - S.1945, 1979-1980 (96th Congresses)
Box 39
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files A-I, 1981-1982 (97th Congress)
Box 40
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files J-Z and H.R. 18 - H.R. 7173, 1981-1982 (97th Congress)
Box 41
Department of Education, 1981-1982 (97th Congress)
Box 42
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files A-S, 1983-1984 (98th Congress)
Box 43
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files T-Z and H.R. 616 - S. 1510, 1983-1984 (98th Congress)

3.2. Committee on Education and Labor, 1967-1984.
About 2,100 items.
Box 44
Bound hearings, 1967-1968 (90th Congress)
Box 45
Bound hearings, 1967-1968 (90th Congress)
Box 46
Bound hearings, 1969-1970 (91st Congress)
Box 47
Bound hearings, 1969-1970 (91st Congress)
Box 48
Bound hearings, 1971-1972 (92nd Congress)
Box 49
Bound hearings, 1971-1972 (92nd Congress)
Box 50
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files A-Z and H.R. 8 - H.R. 3117, 1971-1976 (92nd-94th Congresses)
Box 51
Bound hearings, 1973-1974 (93rd Congress)
Box 52
Bound hearings, 1973-1974 (93rd Congress)
Box 53
Bound hearings, 1973-1974 (93rd Congress)
Box 54
Bound hearings, 1973-1974 (93rd Congress)
Box 55
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 5900 - H.R. 13555, 1975-1976 (94th Congress)
Box 56
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files A-Z and H.R. 15 - H.R. 50, 1977-1978 (95th Congress)
Box 57
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 77 - H.R. 4250, 1977-1978 (95th Congress)
Box 58
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 4287 - H.R. 6774, 1977-1978 (95th Congress)
Box 59
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 7328 - H.R. 12452, 1977-1978 (95th Congress)
Box 60
Bound hearings, 1979-1980 (96th Congress)
Box 61
Bound hearings, 1979-1980 (96th Congress)
Box 62
Bound hearings, 1979-1980 (96th Congress)
Box 63
Bound hearings, 1979-1980 (96th Congress)
Box 64
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files A-Z and H.R. 4 - H.R. 3904, 1979-1980 (96th Congress)
Box 65
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 3904 - H.R. 6692, 1979-1980 (96th Congress)
Box 66
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 6704 - S.Con.Res. 91, 1979-1980 (96th Congress)
Box 67
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files A-I, 1981-1982 (97th Congress)
Box 68
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files J-S, 1981-1982 (97th Congress)
Box 69
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files S-Z and H.R. 25 - H.R. 5320, 1981-1982 (97th Congress)
Box 70
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 5320 - S. 3113, 1981-1982 (97th Congress)
Box 71
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files A-C, 1983-1984 (98th Congress)
Box 72
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files C-J, 1983-1984 (98th Congress)
Box 73
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files J-S, 1983-1984 (98th Congress)
Box 74
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files S-Z and H.R. 7 - H.R. 1035, 1983-1984 (98th Congress)
Box 75
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 1036 - H.R. 3829, 1983-1984 (98th Congress)
Box 76
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 4056 - H.R. 5609, 1983-1984 (98th Congress)
Box 77
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: H.R. 5620 - S. 2723, 1983-1984 (98th Congress)

3.3. Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 1972-1985.
About 300 items.
Box 78
ERISA: Amendments, Correspondence, Statements, and Reorganization Plan #4, 1972-74 (92nd-93rd Congresses)
Box 79
ERISA: Subject Files A-H, 1975-1985 (94th-98th Congresses)
Box 80
ERISA: Subject Files I-Z, 1975-1985 (94th-98th Congresses)

3.4. Committee on Population, 1978-1979.
About 200 items.
Box 81
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files A-P, 1978-1979 (95th-96th Congresses)
Box 82
Bills and Subcommittee Information Files: Subject Files R-Z, 1978-1979 (95th-96th Congresses)

3.5. National Commission on Student Financial Assistance, 1982-1983.
About 70 items.
Box 83
Reports, Memos, and Publications, 1982-1983 (97th-98th Congresses)











4. Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1967-1984.
About 1,200 items.
Arrangement: chronological, then by bill number.
This series contains all bills and resolutions introduced by Erlenborn, including those he sponsored. Always a defender of the working class, Erlenborn was instrumental in passing the Equal Employment Act of 1971, and participated with the National Labor Relations Board to pass the Employee Bill of Rights. He also worked to increase safety in the coal mining industry. Other bills and resolutions Erlenborn was involved with include the Freedom of Information Act, the Head Start Program, and various issues regarding adult education and immigration reform.
This series chiefly containts committee prints, explanations of bills, journal articles, and other official documents, as well as sporadic correspondence and notes taken by Erlenborn and his staff.
Box 84 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1967-1970 (90th-91st Congresses)
Box 85 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1971-1974 (92nd-93rd Congresses)
Box 86 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1973-1974: H.R. 3462 - H.R. 7462 (93rd Congress)
Box 87 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1973-1974: H.R. 7463 - H.Res. 1144 (93rd Congress)
Box 88 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1975-1976: H.R. 1528 - H.R. 10114 (94th Congress)
Box 89 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1975-1976: H.R. 10616 - H.Res. 1544 (94th Congress)
Box 90 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1977-1978: H.R. 2325 - H.R. 8289 (95th Congress)
Box 91 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1977-1978: H.R. 8310 - H.Res. 195 (95th Congress)
Box 92 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1977-1978: H.Res. 198 - H.J.Res. 1017 (95th Congress)
Box 93 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1979-1980: H.R. 13 - H.R. 4204 (96th Congress)
Box 94 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1979-1980: H.R. 4345 - H.R. 6525 (96th Congress)
Box 95 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1979-1980: H.R. 6692 - H.Res. 729 (96th Congress)
Box 96 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1981-1982: H.R. 4 - H.R. 1034 (97th Congress)
Box 97 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1981-1982: H.R. 1053 - H.R. 4334 (97th Congress)
Box 98 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1981-1982: H.R. 4387 - H.R. 5872 (97th Congress)
Box 99 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1981-1982: H.R. 5897 - H.J.Res. 538 (97th Congress)
Box 100 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1983-1984: H.R. 42 - H.R. 1510 (98th Congress)
Box 101 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1983-1984: H.R. 1904 - H.R. 2565 (98th Congress)
Box 102 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1983-1984: H.R. 2597 - H.R. 3747 (98th Congress)
Box 103 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1983-1984: H.R. 3751 - H.R. 5277 (98th Congress)
Box 104 Erlenborn-introduced Bills, 1983-1984: H.R. 5324 - H.J.Res. 632 and Republican Jobs Task Force files (98th Congress)











5. Press Releases and Publications, 1965-1984.
About 900 items.
Arrangement: chronological.
Press releases are organized chronologically by year, and are generated by Erlenborn's office every few days between 1965 and 1984. They report on current congressional topics with which Erlenborn is involved and their effect on his constituency. These press releases are actually presented as newsletters, and were supplied to newspapers and key figures in DuPage and Will counties during Erlenborn's tenure in office.
Publications are organized chronologically and include articles authored by Erlenborn for the Congressional Record, findings and information reports on various topics, and pamphlets. Reports of several public questionnaires are also included.
Box 105 Press Releases, 1965-1973
Box 106 Press Releases, 1974-1979
Box 107 Press Releases, 1980-1984
Box 108 Publications, 1966-1984











6. Scrapbooks, 1965-1984.
12 volumes.
Arrangement: chronological.
Scrapbooks are intact volumes and each typically covers one year. They contain mostly newspaper articles concerning Erlenborn and some sporadic correspondence.
Box 109 Scrapbooks, 1965 and 1973-1976
Box 110 Scrapbooks, 1977-1979
Box 111 Scrapbooks, 1980-1981
Box 112 Scrapbooks, 1982-1984











7. Photographs, 1966-1984.
About 500 items.
Arrangement: chronological.
Photographs taken in this series are mostly of Erlenborn with constituents, either on the steps of the capitol building or at his office in Washington D.C., or at his office in Illinois. Also included here are photographs of important Presidential and Congressional events, as well as of Erlenborn with individuals such as Gerald Ford, King Peter II of Yugoslavia, Richard Nixon, Helmut Schmidt, Orrin Hatch, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and the winners of various "Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow" competitions in the 1960s and 1970s.
Box 113 Photographs, 1966-1975
Box 114 Photographs, 1976-1984