Guide to the Kenneth R. Harding Collection

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0885
Creators:
Harding, Kenneth R.
Politics and Reform, Division of, NMAH, SI.
Dates:
circa 1924-1981.
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
2 Cubic feet
6 boxes
Repository:

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
This collection primarily documents Kenneth R. Harding's work as an executive at the Democratic National Congressional Committee and in the position of Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives. The collection includes photographs of politicians and foreign dignitaries, programs, printed materials, scrapbooks, correspondence, and campaign memorabilia. Materials are arranged in four series.
Series 1: Professional, 1924-1981, undated, contains pamphlets, records, correspondence, and photographs documenting Harding's work with the Democratic National Congressional Committee and as the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives. Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject.
Series 2: Elections, 1937-1978, undated, contains printed documents and statistical analyses for various locations and election cycles. Much of this was probably collected during Harding's work with the Democratic National Congressional Committee. Materials are arranged chronologically.
Series 3: Photographs, 1949-1980s, contains photographs of various figures, including United States presidents and foreign and domestic dignitaries. Most date from the period in which Harding worked as Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives. Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject.
Series 4: Clippings, 1956-1981, contains newspaper clippings. Although some mention Harding directly, many do not. Materials are arranged chronologically.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into four series.
Series 1: Professional Materials, 1924-1981, undated
Series 2: Elections, 1937-1978, undated
Series 3: Photographs, 1949-1980s
Series 4: Newspaper Clippings, 1956-1981

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Kenneth R. Harding was born in Medina, New York, to Victor Hunt Harding and Edith Falk Harding on March 28, 1914. Having foregone an undergraduate degree, Harding moved straight into law school, receiving his J.D. in 1937 from The George Washington University Law School. Shortly after finishing law school, in 1938, he married his first wife, Jane Wedderburn Harding.
In 1938, Harding took a position as a bank examiner in San Francisco, California. In the years before World War II, however, he was drawn away from that work to serve with the United States Navy. After this period and a 10-year stretch in the Air Force Reserve, he retired with the rank of colonel.
After retiring from military service, Harding transitioned into political work. Following in the footsteps of his father, a political science professor at Stanford University and former regional campaign manager for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harding took a position at the Democratic National Congressional Committee, of which his father was Chief Executive. In the aftermath of his father's death, he was, having worked with the Committee for eight years, promoted to Chief Executive. In this position, which he held from 1954-1972, he distinguished himself as a leader in the Democratic campaign effort. With a reputation for knowing the situation of almost any race, he was responsible for distributing funds to candidates to support their election efforts. He served during the tenure of four House Speakers. During this time, he also took up work as the Assistant Sergeant at Arms for the House of Representatives, his father having held a similar post for two brief periods.
Upon election to the position of House Sergeant at Arms (on October 1, 1972), Harding stepped away from his role at the Democratic National Congressional Committee. In his new position, he served as the chief officer responsible for the maintenance and security of the House side of the Capitol Building and all House office buildings, serving, ex officio, as co-chief of the Capitol Police. In this role, he worked to ban self-guided tours of the Capitol Building and to prohibit vendors from setting up near the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Concurrent with these duties, he was also responsible for maintaining the decorum of the House of Representatives, greeting officials upon arrival and escorting them to the appropriate chambers. In this role, he met and worked with a large number of national and international politicians and heads of state, including the presidents in office during his tenure.
Upon retirement in February of 1980, he moved to Ormund Beach, Florida. He passed away in 2007.

Administration
Processing Information
Collection was processed by Kevin DeVries, intern, 2019; supervised by Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, archivist, 2019.
Author
Kevin DeVries
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Harding to the Daytona Beach Community College in 1980. In 1998 the College returned the collection to the donor because of space reasons. Harding then donated the collection to the Division of Political History, National Museum of American History. The Division transferred the archival portion of the collection to the Archives Center in 2005.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Preferred Citation
Kenneth R. Harding Collection, circa 1924-1981, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Politicians Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Elections Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 1950-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Presidents -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Programs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Political campaigns Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Democratic National Congressional Committee. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Democratic National Convention (1932 : Chicago, Ill.). Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Politics and Reform, Division of, NMAH, SI. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Democratic National Committee. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Congress. House Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives