The Claude Pepper Collection was donated by Congressman Pepper to the Florida State University Libraries in 1979. Subsequent donations were made during the 1980s, and additional materials were acquired following his death in 1989. Initially, the Pepper Collection was housed at Dodd Hall on the Florida State University campus but was relocated in 1998 to a new state-of-the-art archival space located on the first floor of the Claude Pepper Center Building. Containing over two million pages, the collection includes his official correspondence, speeches, legislative, committee, and campaign files. In addition, there are files of his personal correspondence, speeches, photographs, recordings, and memorabilia. Also included are the personal papers, photographs, recordings, and memorabilia of his wife, Mildred Irene Webster Pepper. Mrs. Pepper always took a deep interest in public affairs and in helping her husband in his political career. She vigorously supported medical research, urban beautification, conservation, and actively participated in charitable and humanitarian organizations. There are also personal papers of the Pepper/Webster family, largely consisting of correspondence from parents, brothers, sisters, and other family members.
These materials document the political and personal life of one of the most politically active individuals throughout most of this century, and in terms of size, content, and national significance, they have been compared to prestigious presidential collections, including the Papers of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In addition to its value to historical research, these materials will enable current policy makers to build upon Claude Pepper's achievements as they continue to focus on his unfinished work. Because of his noteworthy legacy, it is vital that the Claude Pepper Collection should always be accessible and preserved for future generations of scholars and researchers.
The Pepper Collection consists of the congressional and personal papers, photographs, recordings, and memorabilia accumulated by Congressman Pepper during his long political career. The Pepper Collection, given its size and topical coverage, is a resource of enduring national significance. The Pepper Library also includes the papers of Mildred Webster Pepper, his wife.
Personal letters from Winston Churchill, Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and John F. Kennedy are among the treasures to be found here. The photographs include many individuals of historical significance, such as Pope Paul VI, Albert Einstein, and Martin Luther King, Jr. There are also recordings of such political notables as Lyndon Johnson, Tip O'Neill, and Hubert Humphrey.
The Pepper Collection not only documents the career of one of the most politically active individuals of this century, it reflects the changes that have taken place in every area of American life. It contains a wealth of material on a variety of topics. Research using the Pepper Collection has focused on topics as diverse as the World War II "Mother's Movement,", American Indian land claims, national health care, Social Security, the Vietnamese conflict, and organized labor. Currently, the collection is being digitized to provide researchers with the opportunity to study his collection from anywhere around the world.
A large part of the Claude Pepper Photograph Collection is now available in the FSU Digital Library.
For more information about the collection, please consult the online finding aid or contact the Pepper Library at (850) 644-9305.