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Charles E. Grassley Papers

Identifier: MsC-30

Scope and Contents

Nearly all of the papers in this collection relate to Senator Grassley's public life. Documentation is fullest for his years of service in the United States House and Senate; the Iowa General Assembly years are less fully documented. Documentation consists of constituent correspondence, case files, subject files, committee files, agency reports, congressional documents of all sorts, clippings and other secondary publications, and newsletters. Throughout his career, Senator Grassley has shown a strong interest in nearly all kinds of education from the primary level through professional schools. Consequently, nearly all sections of his papers relating to education are especially rich in detail and coverage. Of special note is the material relating to education from his years in the Iowa General Assembly.

Senator Grassley has also shown a consistent interest in agriculture. Materials relating to farm chemical application, soil conservation, tax issues as they relate to farmers, livestock production, and commodity exports are present. Issues relating to senior citizens have been a special interest of Senator Grassley since he has been in the United States Congress. These issues include social security, pensions, medical care, and housing. On several occasions, Senator Grassley attracted national attention with his criticism of congressional pay raises and military procurement procedures. Researchers may find files relating to these topics of interest Local historians may find valuable information about Iowa towns and counties especially as it relates to public works and federal involvement in local issues.

Included in the Grassley papers are several boxes of material which were apparently passed on to Grassley by his Iowa Third Congressional District predecessor, H. R. Gross. This material details public works measures which were considered and, in some cases, actually planned and developed in the Third District. Of special interest are reports, correspondence, clippings, photographs, maps, and other documentation relating to floods and flood control measures in the Waterloo metropolitan area.

Please see the attached PDF inventory for a more detailed list of the collection's contents.


  • 1948-1980


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English

Conditions Governing Access

Senator Grassley intends that his papers be made available to researchers as soon as possible. However, in his deed of gift he also recognizes that access to some material must be restricted because of its sensitive or confidential nature. This material includes:

  • Material specifically authorized and properly classified by the United States government to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.
  • Material whose revelation might prejudice the conduct of foreign relations of the United States or which could adversely affect the security of the United States.
  • Material of a personal or sensitive nature.
  • Material whose disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; Material whose disclosure would constitute libel;
  • Material relating to the personal, family, and confidential business affairs of Mr. Grassley and other persons referred to in the papers;
  • Material containing statements made by or to Mr. Grassley in confidence;
  • Material which relates to law enforcement investigations, appointment to office, or other personnel matters and which also directly affects individual privacy.
These restrictions affect many parts of the collection. On a practical basis, however, these provisions have their greatest effect on access to casefiles and constituent correspondence. Consequently, case files and both sides of most constituent correspondence are currently closed to research. From time to time, Special Collections staff will review restricted material to see if it can be opened to research.

Most unrestricted material may be photocopied. However, Senator Grassley retains copyright to his material for his lifetime and the lifetime of his wife. Copyright then will pass to UNI.

General Use, Reproduction, and Copyright Policies

Many items housed in the Rod Library Special Collections & University Archives, including unpublished images and manuscripts, may be protected by copyright, publication rights, trademarks, or model release rights which the library does not own and for which the library cannot grant permission or licensing. Materials currently under copyright are usually still available for research and limited reproduction under Fair Use laws. However, it is the sole responsibility of the patron to determine whether or not their use of a given material falls within Fair Use guidelines and to obtain permission for said use from the rightful copyright owner. If you are unsure where to begin, please consult the Copyright LibGuide. Please note that it is not the library's responsibility to locate or contact copyright holders for a patron, and neither the library nor library employees are responsible for copyright violations of the materials to which they facilitate research access.

Please see our full General Use and Service Policies for more information.

Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code ยง 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Ernest Grassley was born in New Hartford, Iowa, on September 17, 1933. He was one of five children of Louis A. and Ruth C. Grassley. He graduated from New Hartford Community High School in 1951. He received a bachelor's degree in 1955 and a master's degree in 1956 from Iowa State Teachers College (later the University of Northern Iowa) in Cedar Falls. Mr. Grassley farmed near New Hartford and worked for the Rath Packing Company in Waterloo. He was elected to the House of the Iowa General Assembly from Butler County in 1958. He served in the Iowa House until 1974 when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from the Iowa Third district. He was re-elected in 1976 and 1978. In 1980 he was elected to the United States Senate; he was re-elected in 1986, 1992, 1998, 2004, and 2010. Senator Grassley married Barbara Ann Speicher in 1954. They have five children.


310 Linear Feet (248 boxes)


Senator Grassley's office filing system divides material into broad categories such as political, agency, legislative, and general. Within these broad categories material tends to be arranged chronologically within subject divisions. Correspondence, clippings, documents, and other material related to a particular issue or subject are frequently found within the same folder. Senator Grassley and his staff have occasionally added handwritten notes or draft responses to this material. Because the overall filing system of the papers was apparent when they arrived in the Library, the files as they are currently arranged should closely resemble the way they appeared when they were in active use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

In the early 1980s, Senator Charles E. Grassley decided to give papers documenting his public life to the UNI Library. After he and Director of Library Services Donald O. Rod signed a formal deed of gift in 1986, Senator Grassley sent three shipments of papers to the library: one small shipment of material that had been stored in Iowa and two large shipments from the Washington, D. C., area. The small shipment, consisting of just a few boxes, and the first of the larger shipments, comprised of about 190 cartons, have been completely processed, sorted, arranged, and described. The second shipment of about 100 boxes has also been processed, sorted, and arranged, but still needs fuller description and finding aids.

Processing Information

Linear feet count updated on August 9, 2017. Note on access changed by Jaycie Vos, 2019.

Charles E. Grassley Papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collection Repository