Editor’s Note: Jessica Hills, a graduate student at Auburn, completed our annual Schuyler L. and Yvonne Moore Internship this summer. She processed part of the Congressman Robert “Bob” Inglis Papers. We asked her to reflect on her internship and what she learned this summer. Here’s what she had to say:
Before beginning my internship, I knew nothing about Congressman Bob Inglis. The short biographical study I did before I began to process the collection was a start, but I really came to know him after I began to wade through his congressional papers. Congressman Inglis first ran for Congress in 1992. He served the fourth district from 1993 until 1998, when he ran against Senator Hollings for the Senate. After a six-year absence from public office, Inglis returned to Congress in 2005 after Senator Jim DeMint vacated the fourth district seat. Congressman Inglis remained in office until he lost his primary election in 2010. Congressman Inglis was a truly dedicated public servant.
In general, it was interesting to me was how much I could learn about Congressman Inglis simply by processing his papers. Processing the personal and public papers of someone can offer fascinating insights into their life. Seeing what was kept and in what quantities can shed some light onto what a specific person considered important. For instance, from Congressman Inglis’ files I could tell there was a clear emphasis on alternative energies during his second tenure in office. Because he was an elected official, the Inglis boxes included his documents relating to his campaigns, committees assignments and correspondence with his constituents, which there was a lot of! To me, the amount of correspondence with his constituents was an example of his true dedication to his duty as a public servant.
The most interesting thing I discovered during this process was the two versions of Congressman Inglis. During both of his tenures in office, Congressman Inglis represented his district to the best of his ability, but during his six-year absence, he seems to have had a change in priorities. During his first tenure in office, Congressman Inglis served on the Judiciary committee during President Clinton’s impeachment trial and he was one of the loudest voices calling for President Clinton’s resignation. During his second tenure in office, he was more interested in bipartisanship and working with Democrats, and eventually President Obama.
Although I was unable to process his entire collection, I learned a great deal about Congressman Inglis. It was an honor to work on his collection; he was a truly dedicated public servant.