Edwards, India Papers

Dates: 1932-1990; Bulk Date Span: 1948-1952

Associate Director, Women's Division, 1947-48, Executive Director, Women's Division, 1948-50, and Vice Chairman, 1950-56, Democratic National Committee

The India Edwards Papers relate primarily to her involvement with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), specifically during the years she served as executive director of the women's division (1948-50) and later as vice-chair of the main DNC (1950-56). The collection consists mainly of speeches, correspondence, and clippings concerning Edwards' activities and Democratic politics in general. Edwards's commitment to women's involvement in politics and her efforts to secure Federal posts for women are documented throughout the collection.

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

ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 4.4 linear feet (approximately 8,800 pages in 11 manuscript containers).
Access: Open.
Copyright: India Edwards donated her literary property rights in all of her writings in this collection, and in other collections deposited at the Truman Library, to the United States government. Documents created by U.S. government officials in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. Copyright interest in other writings in this collection is assumed to remain with the authors of the documents or their heirs.
Processed by: Amy Williams, Sharie Simon, and Janice Davis (2002).

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1895, June 16

 

Born, Chicago, IL to John A. and India H. (Thomas) Gillespie

1918-36

 

Society editor, Chicago Tribune

1920, March 6

 

Married John F. Moffett, two children: John Holbrook Moffett and India Moffett Williams (divorced 1937)

1936-42

 

Woman's page editor, Chicago Tribune

1942, June 16

 

Married Herbert Threlkeld Edwards and moved to Washington, DC

1943

 

Son, John Holbrook Moffett, killed in World War II

1944

 

Volunteer, Women's Division, Democratic National Committee (DNC)

1945-47

 

Executive Secretary, Women's Division, DNC

1947-48

 

Associate Director, Women's Division, DNC

1948-50

 

Executive Director, Women's Division, DNC

1948

 

Accompanied President Truman on Whistlestop Campaign

1950-56

 

Vice-chairman, DNC

1951

 

Delegate to the World Health Organization

1952

 

Placed in nomination for Vice President of the United States at the Democratic National Convention

1956

 

Resigned as Vice-chairman of the DNC to become the campaign director in Averell Harriman's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination

1957-59

 

Director, Washington office of the New York State Department of Commerce

1960s

 

President, Girls Club of America, Inc.

1964-66

 

Consultant, Department of Labor

1977

 

Published memoirs, Pulling No Punches: Memoirs of a Woman in Politics

1977, June 24

 

Husband, Herbert T. Edwards, died

1979

 

Daughter, India Moffett Williams, died

1990, January 17

 

Died at age 94, Sebastopol, California

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

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The India Edwards Papers relate primarily to her involvement with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), specifically during the years she served as executive director of the women's division (1948-50) and later as vice-chair of the main DNC (1950-56). The collection consists mainly of speeches, correspondence, and clippings concerning Edwards' political activities and Democratic politics in general. Edwards's commitment to women's involvement in politics and her efforts to secure Federal posts for women are evident throughout the collection. A brief list of the women Edwards assisted in securing Federal posts includes Perle Mesta (Minister to Luxembourg), Frieda Hennock (1st female Federal Communications Commissioner), Georgia Neese Clark (Treasurer of the United States), and Eugenie Anderson (1st female United States ambassador, Ambassador to Denmark).

The collection is divided into three series. The Subject File, the first series, is the most valuable part of the collection in terms of original material. Located here are correspondence, radio scripts, invitations, memoranda, draft articles and speeches, DNC Women's Division financial records, handwritten notes, and other items documenting Edwards' work within the DNC. Her efforts and sometimes her frustrations are evident in the correspondence, as well as her strong working relationship with President Truman. Topics within this file include divisions within the DNC between the "regular" and women's division of the organization, public health care, the 1948 Presidential campaign during which Edwards accompanied Truman on one of his Whistlestop trips, appearances by Edwards, the integration of the women's division into the full DNC party operations in 1952 by then-chair Stephen Mitchell, and the placement of Edwards's name in nomination for vice president of the United States at the 1952 Democratic National Convention. One note of interest is the large of amount of highly complimentary correspondence to Edwards in the collection without the usual balance of negative mail. Given her rather prominent position and her activism for women's rights, it is unlikely she never received any negative feedback for her work; more likely, she did not preserve such correspondence. Prominent correspondents with Edwards include Harry S. Truman, Robert Hannegan, Howard McGrath, Hubert Humphrey, Anna Rosenberg, Adlai Stevenson, and Averell Harriman. The series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

The second series, the Speech File, is composed of draft and final copies of speeches, and scattered research notes. The vast majority of the speeches were by Edwards although there are a small number that were given by other women in the DNC. The focus of most of the speeches is raising the political awareness and activity of women and women's responsibility in politics. Edwards spoke primarily to women's groups around the country pushing the need to "get out the vote," to get women registered and voting. There are campaign speeches, several from the 1948 and 1950 elections, discussing the Democratic platform and supporting the candidates in the state in which she was speaking. Other speech subjects include the United Nations Charter, the Truman Administration's agriculture plan (Brannan Plan), the Korean War, social security, President Truman's health care program, Joseph McCarthy and Communism, and the accomplishments of the Truman administration and the Democratic Party overall. The Speech File is arranged chronologically.

The third and final series is the Publications File. This file consists of newspaper clippings documenting Edwards' involvement in politics, Democratic Party activities and candidates, and politics in general from 1944-1969. There is a small amount of other printed material including magazines, political pamphlets, menus, 1953 inaugural material, and annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner programs. This series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Other relevant material at the Truman Library includes two oral history interviews with India Edwards (oral history interviews #112 and #239). Correspondence between Edwards and President Truman, and related documents, can be found in the following series of the Harry S. Truman Papers: the Political File and the Chronological Name File of the President Secretary's Files, and in the Name File of the Post-Presidential Files. Other relevant collections at the Truman Library include the papers of Frieda Hennock, Willa Mae Roberts, and Stephen Mitchell, and the Records of the Democratic National Committee.

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