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April 4, 2007

Papers of Former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger Are Donated to the Library of Congress

The papers of former Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger have been given to the Library of Congress by his widow, Jane Weinberger, in a ceremony held today at the Library. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington accepted the gift from Caspar Weinberger Jr. on behalf of his mother.

Under a 1987 deposit agreement, the Weinberger Papers began arriving at the Library in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with a final segment arriving in 2005. Ownership and control over access to the papers was retained by Caspar Weinberger during his lifetime. In November 2006, eight months after Weinberger’s death on March 28, 2006, his wife gave the papers to the Library under an instrument of gift. Under this agreement, Mrs. Weinberger and her son and daughter will control access to the papers during their lifetime. Requests for access to the papers are evaluated by the family on request.

The papers, comprising nearly 500,000 items, cover Weinberger’s life (1917-2006), with the bulk of the items concentrated in the period from 1951 to 1991. His early interest in politics is demonstrated by scrapbooks and other items he kept about national affairs during his time as a student at San Francisco Polytechnic High School in the 1930s. His commencement oration on the nobility of politics (texts of which survive among his childhood materials) anticipated his first run for public office as a Republican candidate for the California State Assembly in 1952. He was elected to represent the San Francisco Bay area, and his three consecutive terms in Sacramento are meticulously recorded.

Weinberger’s papers shed light on the policies of the Nixon, Ford and Reagan presidential administrations in which he served as secretary of health, education, and welfare (19731975) and secretary of defense (19811987). Files related to his service as secretary of defense consist mainly of photocopies of original items that are classified government documents and are not accessible to the general public. He also served as director of the Office of Management and Budget (1972-1973). Sections of the Weinberger Papers, which were on deposit at the Library, were subpoenaed by the special prosecutor during the Iran-Contra investigation. They were returned to the Library at the conclusion of the investigation.

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PR 07-063
ISSN 0731-3527

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