Jerry Udell Political Papers

Staff Member to Senator Birch Bayh and Congressman Lee Hamilton

Biographical Note:

Jerry G. Udell discovered his passion for government and politics in his last year as an undergraduate at Hanover College in the wake of the election of President John F.Kennedy. He was hired by Birch Bayh's Senate office as the first intern to join the new senator's staff in January 1963. He assisted with legislative work and answering the ever-increasing load of constituent mail, but his political and people skills quickly became evident, and he was asked to assist Lee Hamilton in his 1966 re-election campaign. Udell became a mainstay of the Bayh Political Department, handling the southern half of the state in his 1968 re-election campaign, setting up the Indianapolis office, and then heading up the Political Department in the Washington, DC office. During Bayh's bid for the 1972 Presidential nomination, Udell handled six upper Midwestern states, work that led to his being asked to join the staff of Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) in 1973, the year before Gravel faced a difficult re-election campaign, a position from which Udell not only made Gravel's victory possible but became intimately involved in S. Res. 60, the crucial bill reorganizing Senate committee staff allocations that broke the monopoly of seniority held largely by southern conservative Democrats.

The Collection (2 linear feet):

The papers selected by Udell for this collection give unique insights into the internal processes of the Bayh and Hamilton campaigns and the workings of the Bayh senatorial office. Many are photocopies of originals still held by Udell that will eventually join the collection. The Udell campaign manuals document the period of transformation from personal "shoe-leather" door-to-door campaigns by candidates to more strategically planned campaigns based heavily on volunteers and an increasing attention to fund-raising, use of mass media, and demographics. The campaign buttons span the campaigns of Bayh and Hamilton from 1962 to 1980. Six large posters given by Udell have been transferred to the Political Posters Collection, MPP 12. One is from Lee Hamilton's 1966 campaign, and five are from Bayh's 1968 campaign, one of them advertising a birthday fund-raising extravaganza with Hollywood personalities.

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Status of the Collection:

A detailed online finding aid is available.

Researcher Access:

Prior arrangement is required for use of the Udell collection because materials must be retrieved from offsite storage.  For further information, contact Kate Cruikshank, Political Papers Specialist, cruiksha@indiana.edu, 812-856-4601.