A small but rich addition to the papers of Robert T. Ashmore (1904-1989) has been received. Ashmore represented South Carolina's Fourth District in the United States House of Representatives between 1953 and 1969. The additional materials consist chiefly of letters written to Ashmore's wife and daughter, speeches, photographs, and campaign materials.|
|Finding Aid available to previous acquisition (1930-1990)|
of Robert T. Ashmore Papers.
Ashmore's letters reflect some private expressions of the pressures and frustrations of public service. "I'm still mad because I didn't get home this weekend and for July 4th. It was foolish to put so much mark on the docket for this time [season,] but the dumb leadership is trying to force Fed. Aid to Education, Civil Rights, etc. to a vote before we adjourn," he complained on 1 July 1956. "Just a few lines to let you know I expect to be home next weekend for Memorial Day," he wrote on 26 May 1957, "...but keep it quiet as I don't want to make any speeches."
Two campaign speeches from 1954, as Ashmore sought reelection to Congress after having won a special election to fulfill the unexpired term of Joseph Bryson, relate the Congressman's pride in his work in the House and for the District. "I have constantly worked and voted to eliminate waste and extravagance in Federal Spending, and, as most of you know, I have vigorously opposed the policy of trying to win foreign friends with the American taxpayers dollar," he wrote on 2 June 1954. Notes for another speech conclude with what surely was a favorite joke-A man's mother-in-law dies in California. The undertaker there wires the son-in-law in South Carolina asking how he wants the body handled. "Shall I embalm her, cremate her, or bury her?" The son-in-law responds immediately, "Do all three; take no chances" (4 March 1968).
Also included is the text of his press release announcing his decision in 1968 not to seek another term in the House. "I have been continuously engaged in public service since 1930....It has not only been a great privilege but the highest honor of my life to have been the beneficiary of the confidence, trust, and faith of the voters on so many occasions....I am announcing my retirement at this time so that the people of the Fourth District may have more than ample time to consider and choose my successor....When I entered Congress in June 1953, we were engaged in the Korean War, then came the Cold War, the Cuban Crisis, the advent of the Space Age, and the Viet Nam War. Each of these will probably be known as a land-mark in the history of mankind. Such events have not only been exciting but turbulent and dangerous....I have seen too many people, and particularly Members of Congress, postpone retirement until it was too late to enjoy a few years during the twilight of life. This I want to avoid."
A number of photographs include two believed to have been taken in Greenville and showing President Lyndon B. Johnson on a campaign whistlestop with Ashmore and South Carolina's senior senator, Olin D. Johnston. In addition to holding Ashmore's papers, Modern Political Collections also holds the papers of his predecessor, Joseph Bryson, and successor, James R. Mann.