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Butler Derrick papers

Butler Derrick represented South Carolina's Third District in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1995. At his retirement, he donated his congressional papers, along with campaign records and memorabilia, to the University. Derrick's decision not to seek an eleventh term in Congress shocked and saddened associates and constituents. Speaker Tom Foley notedó"Butler Derrick is a true leader, a man of principal and integrity. When the public thinks of Congress, I'd be proud if they thought of Butler Derrick because he was a member of the House in the finest sense of the word." John Spratt saidó"He was a mentor and advisor...it's a definite loss to the state and to individual members of the delegation, because, regardless of party, Butler was always willing to help us. Butler was closer to being in the leadership than any South Carolinian in the delegation this century." Analysts described him as the leadership's key link to the moderate and conservative Democratic wing. He himself saidó"Power in a legislative body is not just conferred on you; it's years and years of building relationships, where people know you stand by your word."

Congressional collections such as the Derrick papers comprise a remarkably rich resource for the student of government and politics in an era of rapid and constant change. The Congressman's lengthy tenure in office, the breadth of his leadership, and his disciplined focus upon substantive issues combine to make the Derrick papers a particularly valuable resource. Together with those of William Jennings Bryan Dorn, Butler Derrick's papers provide a unique political, economic and social picture of South Carolina's Third District from 1948 to 1994.

As Derrick closed his Washington and three district offices, approximately four hundred fifty linear feet of material, an estimated eight hundred fifty thousand items, documenting his ten terms in the House and campaigns for public office, were transferred to the South Caroliniana Library. In addition to paper records, the Derrick papers include film, photographs, audio and video tapes, and computer files. Records created in his public capacity as a member of Congress include legislative files regarding bills or issues before Congress, press releases, speeches, and district project files. Series created in his private capacity will include campaign records and future accessions documenting his activities since leaving Congress. Processing of the congressional papers will be a labor intensive project, and it is not known when the collection may be opened to research.

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