Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Matthew J. Connelly Papers

Dates: 1945-1953.

Appointments Secretary to the President, 1945-1953

The papers of Matthew J. Connelly primarily consist of notes of President Truman’s Cabinet meetings and scrapbooks that document the Truman administration and Connelly’s role as the Appointments Secretary.

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


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 2 linear feet, 7 linear inches (about 4,800 pages).
Access: Open, with the exception of the shorthand notes, which are closed for national security reasons.
Copyright: The Truman Library has received no donation of copyright from Matthew J. Connelly or his heirs. Documents created by U.S. government employees in the course of their official duties are in the public domain.
Processed by: Erwin J. Mueller (1977); Randy Sowell (2004); Lucia Flaim, David Clark (2008).


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1907 (November 19) Born, Clinton, Massachusetts
1930 Graduated from Fordham University
1930-1933 Worked as a stockbroker in New York City
1933-1938 Worked with federal relief agencies in Boston and Washington, D.C.
1939 Member of the staff of the Appropriations Committee, U.S. House of Representatives
1940 Member of the staff of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Campaign Expenditures
1941-1944 Member of the staff of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program (the Truman Committee)
1945 (January to April) Executive Secretary to the Vice President
1945-1953 Appointments Secretary to the President
1955 Indicted for accepting oil royalties and conspiring to defraud the government (later convicted and served a six-month prison sentence in 1960)
1962 Granted a full and unconditional pardon by President John F. Kennedy
1976 (July 10) Died, Oak Park, Illinois

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


COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Matthew J. Connelly primarily consist of notes of President Truman’s Cabinet meetings and scrapbooks that document the Truman administration and Connelly’s role as the Appointments Secretary.

As Appointments Secretary to the President, Connelly took brief notes summarizing discussions at almost all of the Cabinet meetings held during this period. Included in the collection are his original longhand notes as well as typed versions that were prepared by the White House staff or by the staff of former President Truman. The collection also contains meeting agendas, a few memoranda relating to topics discussed at the meetings, and other items.

The typed versions of the notes closely approximate the handwritten originals, except for some paraphrases and omissions. The longhand notes occasionally contain inaccurate or incomplete information concerning the dates of the Cabinet meetings, and these errors were corrected by the personnel who prepared the typed versions. Connelly's handwriting is somewhat difficult to decipher, but a comparison of the typed and handwritten versions may be useful to researchers. The notes are generally very brief, summarizing in only a few sentences the statements made by the participants. From 1946 on, they tend to be less detailed than the notes on earlier Cabinet meetings. The topics discussed at the meetings included a wide range of political, legislative, and foreign policy issues. The Cabinet usually met every week when the President was in Washington, but the meetings increased in frequency following the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950.

Connelly's papers comprise five series. The first series, Notes on Cabinet Meetings I, contains summaries of discussions at forty Cabinet meetings held from August 1945 to September 1946, along with agendas for most of the meetings. These summaries were apparently prepared by Connelly or other members of the White House staff, using Connelly's handwritten notes. A few memoranda from Cabinet members and other officials relating to postwar issues are filed with the summaries of some of the earlier Truman Cabinet meetings. A list of the Cabinet meetings held during Truman's presidency is also included in this series. This entire series is digitized and can be browsed through the folder title list.

The second series, Notes on Cabinet Meetings II, contains summaries of discussions at Cabinet meetings held from May 1946 to January 1953. These summaries were prepared around 1954 by the staff of former President Truman as research material for Truman's Memoirs. Connelly provided Truman's staff with access to his handwritten notes at the request of the former President. For some of the Cabinet meetings held between May and September of 1946, typed versions of the notes can be found in both the first and the second series. This entire series is digitized and can be browsed through the folder title list.

The third series, Notes on Cabinet Meetings-Handwritten, contains Connelly's original longhand notes, as preserved in twenty notebooks dated from August 17, 1945 to January 9, 1953. The fourth series in the collection contains two notebooks filled with untranslated shorthand entries, and some presidential travel logs.

The fifth series, the Scrapbook File, consists of scrapbooks covering the period of 1945-1953. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, photographs, speeches, invitations, memorandums, correspondence, itineraries and printed materials documenting the Truman administration and Connelly’s role in it during those years.

Other materials at the Truman Library relating to Matthew J. Connelly include the Matthew J. Connelly Files, which are part of the Staff Member and Office Files of the Harry S. Truman Papers, and the Library's oral history interview with Connelly.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.
Series
1
NOTES ON CABINET MEETINGS I, 1945-1946
Typed versions-apparently prepared by the White House staff-of handwritten notes made by Connelly at Cabinet meetings, agendas, a list of meetings, and memoranda on postwar issues. Arranged chronologically. This entire series is digitized and can be browsed below.
1-2
NOTES ON CABINET MEETINGS II, 1946-1953
Typed versions-apparently prepared by former President Truman's staff-of handwritten notes made by Connelly at Cabinet meetings. Arranged chronologically. This entire series is digitized and can be browsed below.
2-3
NOTES ON CABINET MEETINGS-HANDWRITTEN, 1945-1953
Handwritten notes made by Connelly at Cabinet meetings. Arranged chronologically.
3
SHORTHAND NOTEBOOKS AND PRESIDENTIAL TRIP LOGS, 1947-1952
Two notebooks containing shorthand entries, and printed logs of the President's trips. Arranged alphabetically.
3-5
SCRAPBOOK FILE, 1945-1953
Newspaper clippings, photographs, speeches, invitations, memorandums, correspondence, itineraries and printed materials. Arranged chronologically.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1

Box 2
  • August 17, 1945-September 7, 1945 [September 28, 1945]
  • October 12, 1945-February 15, 1946
  • February 1, 1946-May 10, 1946
  • May 17, 1946-October 25, 1946
  • November 8, 1946-July 11, 1947
  • January 31, 1947-August 8, 1947
Box 3
  • December 12, 1947
  • July 18, 1947-December 19, 1947; January 9, 1948; January 23, 1948
  • January 16, 1948-July 2, 1948
  • July 23, 1948-March 24, 1949
  • April 1, 1949-September 16, 1949
  • October 14, 1949-April 28, 1950
  • May 5, 1950-July 28, 1950
  • August 1, 1950-November 3, 1950
  • November 14, 1950-January 19, 1951
  • January 22, 1951-March 26, 1951
  • March 1951-May 28, 1951
  • June 4, 1951-August 31, 1951
  • September 14, 1951-February 15, 1952 [January 16, 1953]
  • February 29, 1952-January 9, 1953
  • Cabinet
  • Friday [?]
  • Presidential Trip Logs-8-31 to 9-20-47, 2-20 to 3-5-48, 11-7 to 11-21-48, 3-6 to 3-19-50, 3-12 to 4-10-50, 10-11 to 10-18-50, 3-2 to 3-22-51, 3-7 to 3-27-52
  • April 1, 1945-December 31, 1945—Volume I
      [1 of 3]
Box 4
      [2 of 3]
      [3 of 3]
  • January 1, 1946-December 31, 1946—Volume II
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • January 1, 1947-December 31, 1947—Volume III
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
Box 5
  • January 1, 1948-December 31, 1948—Volume IV
  • January 1, 1949-December 31, 1949—Volume V
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • January 1, 1950-December 31, 1950—Volume VI
  • January 1, 1951-December 31, 1951—Volume VII
  • January 1, 1952—January 20, 1953—Volume VIII
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]

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