Brannan, Charles F. Papers

Dates: 1913-2001

Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, 1944-1948; Secretary of Agriculture, 1948-1953

The papers of Charles F. Brannan primarily document his career in the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1935 to 1953, including his service as Secretary of Agriculture during the Truman administration. Brannan is best known for the Brannan Plan, a 1949 proposal that would have provided federal support for farm income while allowing the prices of perishable agricultural commodities to be determined by market forces. The collection includes Brannan's appointment books from 1948 to 1953; a large subject file documenting his work as Assistant Secretary and Secretary of Agriculture; a file of speeches and public statements covering the period from 1944 to 1987; and material concerning Brannan's association with the Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]

ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 35 linear feet, 10 linear inches (about 65,600 pages)
Access: Open.
Copyright: Charles F. Brannan's copyright interest in his papers has been retained by his heirs. Documents prepared by employees of the U.S. government in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. Copyright interest in other documents in this collection presumably remains with the writers of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Dennis E. Bilger and Randy Sowell (1996, 2003); Jan Davis and David Clark (2013).


[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1903, August 23

 

Born, Denver, Colorado

1929

 

LL.B., University of Denver

1932

 

Married Eda Seltzer

1935-37

 

Assistant Regional Attorney, Resettlement Administration, Denver, Colorado

1937-41

 

Regional Attorney, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Agriculture

1941-44

 

Regional Director, Farm Security Administration, for the states of Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming

1944

 

Served briefly as Assistant Administrator, Farm Security Administration, Washington, D.C.

1944-48

 

Assistant Secretary of Agriculture

1948-53

 

Secretary of Agriculture

1949

 

Legislative proposals embodying the "Brannan Plan" sent to Congress

c. 1953-90

 

General Counsel, National Farmers Union

1992, July 2

 

Died, Denver, Colorado

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Charles F. Brannan document the career of the man most prominently identified with the agricultural policies of the Truman administration. As Secretary of Agriculture from 1948 to 1953, Brannan was responsible for ideas and initiatives that sought to transform the relationship between American farmers and the federal government.

The papers of Charles F. Brannan consist of six series: an Appointment Books and Telephone Logs File; a Subject File; a Speech File; a Harry S. Truman Library File; a Public Addresses File; and a General File. The Appointment Books and Telephone Logs File contains Brannan's appointment books for each of his years as Secretary of Agriculture (1948-1953), along with daily lists of his appointments and annual indexes. The file also contains telephone logs, consisting of brief memoranda of telephone conversations and messages for Brannan, covering the period from October 1951 to October 1952..

The Subject File contains extensive documentation of the activities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under Brannan's leadership. Included is material on the operations of the various subordinate offices and agencies of the USDA, such as the Production and Marketing Administration, the Soil Conservation Service, the Commodity Credit Corporation, and the Solicitor's Office. The subjects addressed range from price supports to meat rationing to the Agricultural Research Administration's efforts to combat foot-and-mouth disease. Also documented are USDA contacts with the White House, with other federal departments and agencies, with agricultural organizations, and with Congress on such issues as the departmental budget and proposed farm legislation. Two large portions of the file deal with the controversial Brannan Plan and with USDA water programs. Brannan's involvement in politics is reflected in materials on the 1948, 1950, and 1952 campaigns; his personal correspondence and financial records are filed under his own name and in the folder "Personal Through 1952." Other topics covered in the Subject File include USDA personnel matters, foreign agricultural policy, and family farming. Although the bulk of the material in the file is from the 1944-53 period, a few items date from before Brannan's arrival in Washington in 1944, and some relate to his work with the National Farmers Union after his resignation as Secretary of Agriculture in 1953.

The Speech File contains drafts of speeches delivered by Brannan from 1944 to around 1984, along with related correspondence and newspaper clippings, speech notes, background material, public statements, press releases, and speeches delivered by others (including Mrs. Brannan). Most of this material is from the 1944-1953 period, with a good portion of it relating to Brannan's active role in the 1948 campaign. The file also includes Brannan's speeches from the years after the Truman presidency, when he was associated with the National Farmers Union and became a vocal critic of the agricultural policies of the Eisenhower administration under his successor as Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson.

The Harry S. Truman Library File documents primarily Brannan's service as vice president of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs, a private organization that supports the activities of the Truman Library. Some of the material in the series documents Brannan's private interests and his continuing concern with agricultural policy during the decades after the Truman presidency. Also included is a transcript of a 1981 interview of Brannan by Professor Monte Poen. The Public Addresses series contains bound volumes of addresses given by Brannan from 1948-1951.

The General File is an accretion that was added to the collection in 2003 and in 2013. It contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, photos, reports speeches and speech drafts, and other materials primarily pertaining to Brannan's service in the Department of Agriculture and his relationship with Mr. Truman after the end of the Truman administration in 1953. In addition to correspondence between the former Agriculture Secretary and the former President, the series includes other correspondence and printed material relating to Truman, as well as information about Brannan's involvement with the Harry S. Truman Library, Inc. (the organization that raised funds to build the Truman Library from 1953 to 1957) and, subsequently, with the Truman Library Institute. The General File also contains material concerning the 1952 campaign and correspondence between Brannan and such prominent Democrats as Adlai E. Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Hubert H. Humphrey.

Other files and collections at the Truman Library contain further information on Charles Brannan and agricultural policy during the Truman years. These include Official File 1 (Department of Agriculture); President's Personal File 3906 (Charles F. Brannan); the President's Secretary's Files (Political, General, Subject, Historical, and Chronological Name Files); the Confidential File; the Post-Presidential Papers (Name File); and the papers of Clinton Anderson, Stanley Andrews, Clarence J. McCormick, Wesley McCune, and Herbert J. Waters. Columbia University's Oral History Collection includes a transcript of an oral history interview with Brannan. Additional material relating to Brannan can be found in the records of the National Farmers Union at the University and in Clinton Anderson's congressional papers at the Library of Congress.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.

 

Series

1-3

  APPOINTMENT BOOKS AND TELEPHONE LOGS FILE, 1948-1953
Appointment books and lists of daily appointments for Brannan's years as Secretary of Agriculture, with yearly indexes to appointments and memoranda of telephone conversations for the 1951-52 period. Arranged in chronological order.

4-60

  SUBJECT FILE, 1933-1988 (Bulk Date Span: 1944-1953)
Correspondence, memoranda, reports, press releases, speeches and speech drafts, newspaper clippings, printed material, drafts of legislation, and other materials pertaining primarily to Brannan's service in the Department of Agriculture and also to his subsequent career as a lawyer and policy advocate specializing in agricultural affairs. Topics covered include the Brannan Plan; farm problems; water programs; the policies and functions of the Agriculture Department; political campaign activities; foreign agricultural policy; and Brannan's relationship with the National Farmers Union and other agricultural organizations. Most of the material dates from Brannan's years in Washington, from 1944 to 1953. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

61-67

  SPEECH FILE, 1944-1987
Speeches and speech drafts, public statements, correspondence, newspaper clippings, speech notes, and other materials relating to Charles F. Brannan's service in the Department of Agriculture from 1944 to 1953, and to his career following his government service. Includes speeches and background material used in the 1948 campaign. Arranged according to type of material, and thereunder chronologically.

68-69

  HARRY S. TRUMAN LIBRARY FILE, 1955-2001
Correspondence, speeches, newspaper clippings and printed material relating to Brannan's association with the Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs and to other aspects of his career following his government service. Arranged by subject.

70-74

  PUBLIC ADDRESSES, 1948-1951
Bound volumes of addresses given by Charles F. Brannan. Arranged chronologically.

70-71

  GENERAL FILE, 1913-1990
Correspondence, newspaper clippings, photos, reports, speeches, and other items documenting Brannan's service in the Department of Agriculture, his relationship with former President Truman, his involvement with the Truman Library, and his association with prominent Democrats. Arranged alphabetically by subject.
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FOLDER TITLE LIST

APPOINTMENT BOOKS AND TELEPHONE LOGS FILE, 1948-1953

Box 1

  • Appointment Book--1948
  • Secretary's Appointments by Days--1948
  • Secretary's Appointments, Alphabetized--1948
  • Appointment Book--1949
  • Secretary's Appointments by Days--1949
  • Secretary's Appointments, Alphabetized--1949

Box 2

  • Appointment Book--1950
  • Secretary's Appointments by Days--1950
  • Secretary's Appointments, Alphabetized--1950
  • Appointment Book--1951
  • Secretary's Appointments by Days--1951
  • Secretary's Appointments, Alphabetized--1951

Box 3

  • Appointment Book--1952
  • Secretary's Appointments by Days--1952
  • Secretary's Appointments, Alphabetized--1952
  • Appointment Book--1953
  • Telephone Logs--October 20, 1951 to May 12, 1952
  • Telephone Logs--December 13, 1951 to January 31, 1952
  • Telephone Logs--February 1, 1952 to May 28, 1952
  • Telephone Logs--June 2, 1952 to October 29, 1952

SUBJECT FILE, 1933-1988 (Bulk Date Span: 1944-1953)

Box 4

  • Abstracts--Other [summary of editorial comment on Brannan Plan and farm policy]
  • Acre, 160 Ru