The Claude Pepper Library was established in 1985 as the official repository for the Pepper Collection, a unique and multi-faceted collection of manuscripts, photographs, audio/video recordings, and memorabilia by and about U.S. Congressman Claude Pepper (1900-1989).
Claude Pepper was a devoted public servant who served over 40 years in public office first as a Member of the Florida House of Representatives (1929-1930), than as a U.S. Senator (1936-1950), and then as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1962-1989). Early in his career, Pepper was a progressive minded liberal who sponsored legislation to promote equal rights, civil rights, workers' rights and the Lend-Lease Act. During and after World War II, Pepper became a driving force for the establishment of the National Institutes of Health, a system of government-sponsored medical research facilities.
Much later in his life and career, he gained international fame as an advocate of elder's rights, health care, and for strengthening and protecting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other government sponsored programs on behalf of millions of Americans.
Prior to his death, Pepper donated the bulk of his vast collection of official and personal papers to the Florida State University. It was his express wish that his collection to be made available to researchers and scholars.
The Pepper Collection is especially valuable to researchers who are conducting research in 20th century policy studies, diplomacy, international affairs, and American history. Topic strengths within the collection include Aging, Civil Rights, Crime, Drug Prevention, Health Care, Law, Lend-Lease, McCarthyism, Social Security, U.S. Foreign and Domestic Policy, Vietnam, Watergate, Welfare, Worker's Rights, and World War II. Online guides and finding aids are available.
The library also houses the Askew Collection, an archival collection of manuscripts, photographs, audio/video recordings, and memorabilia collected by Florida Governor Reubin Askew. Askew was the 37th governor of the State of Florida (1971-1979) who also served as U.S. Trade Ambassador for three years during the Carter Administration. He ran for President in 1984 and he campaigned for U.S. Senator in 1988. The Askew Collection includes Askew's personal correspondence, campaign papers, photographs, and memorabilia. Online finding aids are being developed as this collection is being processed.
The Pepper and Askew Collections are accessible to researchers 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday. See our Location and Hours for more information about visiting the Pepper Library.
Image: Claude Pepper giving a speech during his time as a U.S. Senator. c.a. 1936