Archives and Special Collections receives all congressional records from Representative John Yarmuth

By Jill Scoggins

Retiring U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth announced Dec. 15 he is donating his congressional papers to University Archives and Special Collections at the University of Louisville. The new collection includes working drafts of legislation he sponsored, correspondence, recorded interviews and a multitude of other materials that trace his congressional record.

Older man with glasses in red golf shirt and blue blazer standing at a podium giving a speech

Yarmuth represents Kentucky’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now in his eighth term, he has served as Chairman of the House Budget Committee since 2019.

Yarmuth has been recognized for his work to improve education, expand access to affordable health care and for his leadership in enacting the American Rescue Plan, legislation that responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the U.S. economy.

“At its core, everything I’ve done in Congress has been about serving the Louisville community, so I can think of no final act more fitting than turning over this historical record to our flagship university,” Yarmuth said. “In the hands of University of Louisville’s students, faculty and staff, I’m hopeful that my work will continue to serve the community for generations to come.”

“For 16 years, John Yarmuth worked tirelessly to represent the interests of the people of the Third District including the University of Louisville,” said UofL Interim President Lori Stewart Gonzalez. “We are thrilled that the documentation of this service will be housed at the University of Louisville for future researchers to draw upon. As he closes out his congressional service, we thank him both for his work on behalf of our district and for this priceless gift to future generations of students, faculty and scholars to be archived at UofL.”

“We are extremely honored to add Rep. Yarmuth’s papers to University Archives and Special Collections,” said Carrie Daniels, UofL university archivist and director of archives and special collections. “His collection represents a wide-ranging documentation of key events over the past 16 years.”

The collection comprises both digital and paper materials, including documentation that traces Yarmuth’s time in the House of Representatives. Included are working drafts of legislation he sponsored, correspondence, recorded interviews and a multitude of other materials that trace his Congressional record. University of Louisville archivist Heather Fox worked closely with the House Archivist at the U.S. House of Representatives to prepare the transfer.

Yarmuth’s contributions to UofL include serving as a visiting professor for several semesters. The Yarmuth family also established the Yarmuth Book Award endowment in 1987 in honor of his father Stanley Yarmuth that awards a book, chosen by a UofL committee, to qualifying high school juniors throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Throughout his tenure in the House, Yarmuth has sponsored legislation or otherwise secured funding that supports research and other programs at UofL. Most recently, in September, he secured $750,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education to launch the Robotics and Additive Manufacturing Pathways to SUCCESS program aimed at preparing workers for the automated workplaces of the future that involve collaborative human-machine interfaces and 3D printing.

Born and raised in Louisville, Yarmuth graduated from Atherton High School and Yale University. He and his wife, Cathy, have one son, Aaron; daughter-in-law Sarah, and grandsons J.D. and Rory. His retirement from the U.S. House was effective Jan. 2, 2023.

Charles Anderson Papers Highlight African-American Legacy in U.S. Law and Legislation

A recent summer afternoon in the 4th floor offices of Archives and Special Collections in Ekstrom Library, Archivist Tom Owen dug into two large boxes filled with photos, scrapbooks, legal files, news clippings and other items belonging to one of Louisville’s most important African American leaders of the 20th Century.

The brimming boxes were donated to the UofL Archives by the children of Charles W. Anderson, Jr., the first African American to serve in the Kentucky Legislature, and the first in the South since the Reconstruction era in the late 1800s. A lawyer educated at Kentucky State College and Wilberforce and Howard universities, Anderson was elected as a Republican representative from Louisville in November 1935 at age 28 and served six terms until 1946. He died in a train-car accident in 1960 at the age of 53.


University of Louisville Libraries Archivist Tom Owen reviews stacks of literature and documents belonging to Charles W. Anderson.

While in office he achieved a number of legislative milestones, including the Anderson-Mayer State Aid Act, which offered $7,500 annually to African American students to attend out-of-state colleges. The fund was necessitated by Kentucky’s Day Law, which mandated separate white and black educational facilities, meaning that only one college in the state, Kentucky State College in Frankfort, could accept African American applicants. Because Kentucky State’s curriculum was limited, many African Americans seeking graduate degrees and specialized programs were forced to go out-of-state.

Anderson passed additional legislation aimed at expanding educational opportunities for Kentucky African Americans, including one for improving public school facilities and another providing a $100 education and travel stipend for each black student forced to travel outside his or her county to attend segregated schools.  Most famously, he fought to combat lynching in Kentucky and worked vigorously to successfully repeal the state’s public hanging law.

Anderson passed legislation . . . providing a $100 education and travel stipend for each black student forced to travel outside his or her county to attend segregated schools.

Owen said his expectations for the Anderson papers were far exceeded by the items he discovered in the boxes.

“Often with papers from political leaders we find mostly Who’s Who type publications that can be obtained elsewhere, but here we found mostly one-of-a-kind files, brochures, and photos unique to Anderson. So that’s great.”

His children, Victoria Anderson Pinderhughes, who lives in New York City, and Charles W. Anderson, III, of Detroit, sought a home for preserving their father’s important legacy and memorabilia. Happily, Victoria had maintained contact with childhood friends in Louisville who recommended UofL as the most trusted repository.

What’s next for the Charles W. Anderson Jr. Papers?  Owen noted that before the public can access the collection he will organize the files into “series” such as clipping scrapbooks (eight), manuscripts, photos (dozens), legislative issues, legal records, and condolences sent at the time of Anderson’s death. Then he’ll rebox and refile them in acid-free containers and prepare a finding aide to guide users of the collection. Eventually, the papers will be exhibited in ASC’s galleries in the lower level of Ekstrom Library.

Now available: Charles W. Jr. and Victoria McCall Anderson papers finding aid.