Stuart F. Feldman papers
Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Stuart Franklin Feldman (January 20, 1937-July 11, 2010) was a lawyer, lobbyist, and social activist who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Israel and Mildred Feldman. He was a long-term advocate for veterans’ education, healthcare, and employment programs.
He attended Cheltenham High School and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1958 with a BA in economics. Shortly after receiving his law degree in 1961 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Feldman moved to Washington DC to serve as the staff attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission in the Division of Corporation Finance and the Office of General Counsel (1961-1963). In 1963 he worked as the attorney for President Kennedy’s Appalachian Study Commission. He designed and drafted key parts of the legislation which would later become the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965, a multi-billion dollar federal-state effort designed to assist the economic redevelopment of Appalachia. He continued to work for the commission until 1967 when he became director of the Legislative Affairs Division in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the United States Department of Transportation. He remained in that position for two years. Feldman was also the executive director for the Committee for Public Advocacy (1976-1977) and played a key role in obtaining the passage of the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Act of 1976.
Feldman served as a Vietnam veterans advocate for education and job opportunities (1969-1979). As a program designer and lobbyist, he was responsible for the creation of several amendments to the G.I. Bill for Education, as well as Health, Education, and Welfare and Labor Department legislation that created education and employment opportunities for veterans. He helped found the Council of Vietnam Veterans which later became the Vietnam Veterans of America. In 1969 Feldman helped organize “Hope for Education," a veterans' initiative which involved comedian Bob Hope (1903-2003). As part of the initiative, a team of college admissions staff and astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) accompanied Hope during his United Service Organizations (USO) Christmas show in Vietnam. During the show Hope and his team helped inform military servicemen of their G.I Bill education benefits, and in less than two weeks 50,000 servicemen filed college or technical school admission applications.
Feldman left the federal government in the early 1970s and became a lobbyist for the United States Conference of Mayors, while continuing to work for veteran’s benefits. During the 1980s and 1990s, he worked as a legislative consultant to the House Rules Committee chairman and as an independent lawyer practicing in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Beginning in 1984, Feldman focused much of his lobbying efforts on the creation of a museum dedicated solely to the U.S. Constitution to be established in Philadelphia. His essay and proposal before the “We the People 200” commission for the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution was one of the earliest propositions for such an institution. These efforts culminated in the Constitution Heritage Act of 1988, establishing the museum as the National Constitution Center at the Independence National Historical Park. Feldman served on the board of the museum for seventeen years and was present at the grand opening in 2003.
Feldman also lent his lobbying efforts and talents to the establishment of a memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington. His original proposal advocated for the words of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to be carved in stone at the base of the Reflecting Pool near the Lincoln memorial. Ultimately it was decided to construct the memorial on the northwest shore of the Tidal Basin, though Feldman did not live to see the project completed.
In addition to the above efforts, Feldman’s later years were occupied by various local and national projects including education and election reform, urban revitalization, and historic preservation. Feldman was also a prolific writer and over the course of his career produced numerous essays, op-ed articles, and television pilots, as well as several chapter drafts for a book recounting his role in securing benefits for Vietnam veterans. Few of these materials were ever published although several of his op-ed pieces appeared in national newspapers.
Feldman died aged seventy-three from complications of multiple myeloma.
The Stuart F. Feldman papers date from 1937 to 2011 and includes writings, correspondence, printed matter, typed and handwritten notes, pamphlets, a few photographs, and one audio tape. The collection documents Feldman’s professional career from his years as a consultant in Washington, D. C. to his turn towards legal and socially minded work in Philadelphia. The collection is a rich resource for those studying twentieth century history generally, and in particular, the plight of veterans after the Vietnam War, the history of Philadelphia's National Constitution Center, and the creation of national memorials such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D. C. While the papers provide in-depth coverage of Feldman's many jobs, there is little in the collection that documents his personal life save for some scattered correspondence and a short series of daily journals (Box 86, folders 1-2). The collection is arranged into rough chronological order and there may be duplicate copies of some material throughout the collection.
The collection has been divided into three series, two of which have been divided further into multiple subseries. The first series, Washington, D. C. papers, includes records on Feldman's initiatives for Vietnam veterans, his work with CSX Railroad, as well as his essays, writings, and proposals for a television sitcom and a Harry S. Truman television documentary series. Notable items in this series include papers related to the G.I. Bill education benefits for Vietnam veterans, specifically the “Hope for Education” initiative (Box 6, Folder 6) and the split-jobs and employment programs (Box 4, Folder 5 and Box 5, Folders 1-5), as Feldman played an instrumental role in pushing for these programs.
The second series, Philadelphia papers, contains material relating to Feldman’s work in and writings about the Philadelphia area. These materials include correspondence, articles, essays, notes, and notes that cover Feldman's involvement with the National Constitution Center, the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, and G.I. Bill Alumni Association. This series also contains papers on Feldman's role as a lobbyist and his participate in electoral policies, including the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign, elections and lobbying. There are also items on education and miscellaneous local and national issues.
Both the first and second series contains assortments of printed matter and miscellaneous papers. Some of these materials have only been roughly sorted and there may be some overlap between materials in each series.
The third and final series, Writings, highlights Feldman's aptitude for putting his thoughts on any number of topics on paper, whether for professional articles and op-ed pieces or for personal reflection and contemplation. This series contains various drafts and copies of Feldman’s prolific essays and proposals, as well as numerous journals and notebooks he kept throughout his career and planning material for a manuscript titled "Why Doesn't Somebody Do Something?" about his role in securing benefits for Vietnam veterans during the 1960s and 1970s.
The collection is divided into three series, the first two of which contains several subseries, as follows.
Series 1. Washington D.C. papers, 1947-2010; Boxes 1-25, Volume 1
Subseries 1.a. Veterans programs, 1947-1949, 1966-1981; Boxes 1-11, Volume 1
Subseries 1.b. Transportation/CSX Railroad, 1967-1993; Boxes 11-12
Subseries 1.c. Foreign relations, 1975-2001; Boxes 12-13
Subseries 1.d. Advocacy and legal work, 1962-1993; Boxes 13-18
Subseries 1.e. National issues, 1961-1992; Boxes 18-19
Subseries 1.f. Printed matter, 1962-2010; Boxes 19-23
Subseries 1.g. Miscellaneous, 1958-2010; Boxes 23-25
Series II. Philadelphia papers, 1937-2010; Boxes 26-75 and 88, Volume 2
Subseries 2.a. National Constitution Center, 1986-2010; Boxes 26-36 and 88
Subseries 2.b. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, 1983-2010; Boxes 37-39
Subseries 2.c. GI Bill Alumni Association, 1949, 1968-2010; Boxes 39-42
Subseries 2.d. Elections and lobbying, 1976, 1992-2009; Boxes 42-43
Subseries 2.e. Education, 1963-2010; Boxes 43-46
Subseries 2.f. Local issues, 1937, 1976-2009; Boxes 47-52, Volume 2
Subseries 2.g. National issues, 1962-2010; Boxes 52-59
Subseries 2.h. Printed matter, circa 1980-circa 2000; Boxes 59-69
Subseries 2.i. Miscellaneous, 1969-2011; Boxes 70-75
Series III. Writings and essays, 1951-2010; Boxes 75-87
Subseries 3.a. Book planning, 1969-2010; Boxes 75-80
Subseries 3.b. Essays and proposals, 1951, 1961-2010; Boxes 80-85
Subseries 3.c. Journals and notebooks, 1959-1964, 1971, 1995-2008; Boxes 86-87
Collection deposited by Christina L. Sterner, 2014.
Because Feldman constantly referred to his past work throughout his career and made many photocopies of his articles, writings, and source materials, there is considerable overlap between papers in all three series of this collection. Though some initial weeding of duplicates was completed, they could not all be culled and discarded due to time restraints, and many duplicate papers remain in the collection.
Included with the collection but not inventoried is an old computer hard drive, which is restricted from use. Once its contents can be accessed, any material that can be made available from it will be added to the collection.
- CSX Transportation (firm).
- National Constitution Center (U.S.)--Management.
- National Constitution Center (U.S.).
- Advocacy organizations--Philadelphia--20th century
- Affirmative action programs--Government policy--United States--History--20th century
- Built environment--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--20th century
- Business and manufacturing--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--20th century
- Business mergers and acquisitions--20th century
- Business--History--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--20th century
- City planning and development--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--20th century
- City planning--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--20th century
- Consumer activism--20th century
- Lawyers--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--20th century
- Museums--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--20th century
- Pennsylvania--Politics and government--20th century
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--City government--20th century
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--Politics and government--20th century
- Politics and government--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--20th century
- United States--Politics and government--20th century
- Veterans--Education--Government policy--United States
- Veterans--Education--United States--Costs
- Veterans--Education--United States--Evaluation
- Veterans--Education--United States--History--20th century
- Veterans--Education--United States
- Veterans--Employment--United States--Evaluation
- Veterans--Employment--United States--History--20th century
- Veterans--Employment--United States--Law and legislation
- Veterans--Employment--United States
- Veterans--United States--Social conditions--20th century
- Veterans--United States
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--Economic conditions--20th century.
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--Politics and government--20th century.
- United States. Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.
- United States. Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998.
- United States. Veterans Employment Service.
- United States. Veterans' Education and Employment Assistance Act of 1976.
- United States. Veterans' Education Appeals Board.
- United States. Veterans' Educational Assistance Amendments of 1991.
- United States. Veterans' Employment, Training, and Counseling Amendments of 1988.
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Diane Biunno, Megan Evans, and Cary Hutto
- Finding Aid Date
- ; 2014.
- Processing made possible by a generous donation from members and friends of the Feldman family.
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
Material in this subseries dates from 1947 to 1949 and 1966 to 1981, and it is arranged in rough chronological order. It includes printed matter, correspondence, notes, papers, writings, one audio tape, and one volume. Together these items documents education, employment, and health benefits for Vietnam veterans. Notable papers include those related to the G.I. Bill education benefits for Vietnam veterans, specifically the “Hope for Education” initiative (Box 6, Folder 6), the split-jobs and employment programs (Box 4, Folder 5 and Box 5, Folders 1-5), the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Box 8, Folder 4), and Appalachian Vietnam Veterans (Box 7, Folders 1-2). The audio tape in the subseries contains a program on issues related to the psychological readjustment of Vietnam veterans (Box 8, Folder 3), and the volume (Volume 1) is titled Source Material on the Vietnam Era Veteran.
In this subseries, researchers will find material that documents Feldman’s work as a consultant with CSX Railroad and the United States Department of Transportation. The papers date from 1975 to 2001, with the bulk of materials ranging from 1990 to 1994, and are arranged into rough chronological order. Within the files are printed matter, correspondence, notes, papers, and miscellaneous writings.
Most of the papers in this subseries highlight Feldman's efforts to either improve or shed light on America's relationships with Russia, Eastern Europe, and Iraq from 1990 to 1992. Some of these materials concern aid to Russia and Eastern Europe, while others concern war and conflict with Iraq (Box 13, Folders 3-5). Papers here are arranged into rough chronological order and include printed matter, correspondence, notes, and writings.
Feldman developed a number of interests over the course of his career, and the papers in this subseries demonstrate the breadth of causes he worked on or supported during the first half of his career. Some of the subjects covered include educations, energy, automobile safety, defense, housing, trade, and banking. This subseries also contains papers from Feldman's work with the Appalachian Development Act (Box 14, Folders 2-3), the 1976 Bicentennial celebration (Box 14, Folder 16), and National Performance Review of 1993 (Box 18, Folder 1). Comprising the papers are printed matter, correspondence, notes, papers, and writings.
Papers on the Iran Contra affair (Box 19, Folders 1-5) and nuclear arms race between the United States and the former Soviet Union during the 1980s (Box 18, Folder 5) comprise the bulk of this subseries. While Feldman was not directly involved in these events, he was called upon to offer his opinions on them. Therefore the bulk of the papers consist of Feldman's essays, writings, and op-ed pieces. This subseries also contains some material on national education issues, as well as printed matter and a folder of correspondence.
This subseries includes a large number of newspaper and magazine clippings collected by Feldman that have been roughly sorted by topic and then chronologically. Rough groupings include politics, the American economy and the economies of other countries, business, healthcare, and domestic events. Feldman also clipped political cartoons, a small collection of which can be found in here (Box 23, Folder 4).
Though this is a small subseries, it's among the collection's richest in Feldman's personal papers from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. Here researchers will find a notebook Feldman kept as a University of Pennsylvania law student (Box 23, Folder 5), a series of personal notes (Box 24), resumes, correspondence, and ephemera.
This subseries contains materials regarding the founding, planning, and management of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Feldman’s essay and proposal to the We the People 200 commission for the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution was one of the earliest proposals for a museum solely dedicated to the United States Constitution. Feldman remained an instrumental and influential proponent of the museum from the early 90s until his death, even serving on the board of trustees. The materials in this subseries reflect his involvement with the museum, containing correspondence, notes, clippings, essays and commentary, meeting minutes, and some promotional material and other ephemera. This subseries is particularly rich in documenting the early conflicts and struggles in launching the museum. There is significant cross-over with this subseries and Series III. The subseries begins with materials grouped into the categories of Administrative materials, Formative Documents, and Notes and Research, after which the rest of the subseries is arranged chronologically.
The materials found in this subseries relate to Felman’s involvement in and promotion of establishing a memorial to Dr. King on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. These materials include correspondence, articles, essays, and commentary written by Stuart Feldman and others. The subseries is arranged chronologically.
This subseries contains material pertaining to Feldman’s efforts at launching a national education initiative in which former G.I. Bill users promoted and sponsored education for disadvantaged children. While the Association never really took off, Feldman spoke to numerous correspondents about the idea and promoted it where he could. The materials in this subseries consist of correspondence, essays, articles, clippings, notes, and commentary written by Stuart Feldman and others. The subseries is arranged chronologically.
The materials found here largely consist of Feldman’s commentary regarding certain elections as well as his thoughts on the merits of lobbying. This subseries contains correspondence, essays, notes, and clippings, including a compilation of suggestions sent to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. The subseries is arranged chronologically.
This subseries contains material regarding Feldman’s ideas and commentary on education reform, both locally and nationally. The materials consist of correspondence, essays, articles, notes, and clippings. There is significant crossover between this subseries and Series III. The subseries is arranged chronologically.
This subseries contains materials on a wide variety of topics pertaining to the Philadelphia region, including local government and economics, revitalization, historical preservation, and cultural life. The subseries holds particularly rich documentation of the architectural preservation of Rittenhouse Square, including Feldman’s involvement in legal proceedings to prevent the demolition of historic buildings and construction of high-rise apartments. The subseries is arranged with a run of materials grouped as Rittenhouse Square and Revitalizations at the front, followed by a straight chronological arrangement.
This subseries consists of materials regarding national affairs and events, including correspondence, essays and articles written by Feldman and others, clippings, and notes. There is significant crossover in this subseries with materials in Series III. Most of the subseries is arranged chronologically, with a grouping of chronologically arranged essays and commentary at the front.
Comprising this subseries is a sizeable collection of clippings, both originals and photocopies, that were found in the Feldman papers. Though the clippings have been placed into folders in each box, they remain unsorted. The majority of clippings are from newspapers and magazines, date from the 1980s to the 2000s, and generally cover subjects that fall in line with Feldman's general interest in current affairs.
This subseries contains a wide variety of materials on a number of subjects that do not fit easily into other subseries. Some of the materials include personal correspondence, contact lists, resumes, financial documents, personal health documents, and other essays and commentary. Of particular interest to researchers may be correspondence and commentary regarding journalist Russell Byers’ murder and legacy. A selection of Byers’ opinion columns from the Philadelphia Daily News is also included. Following several folders of correspondence and a grouping on Byers, the remainder of this subseries is arranged chronologically.
This subseries contains chapter drafts, excerpts, summaries, notes, and correspondence regarding Feldman’s proposed book about his experiences lobbying for veterans benefits during the Johnson and Nixon presidential administrations. While his book was never published, researchers interested in veterans affairs, particularly during the Vietnam era, will find this subseries particularly helpful. The subseries is arranged chronologically.
This subseries contains numerous essays and proposals authored by Stuart Feldman during his career. The material covers a wide variety of topics including education reform, presidential criticism, the National Constitution Center, foreign relations, national security, and transportation. Please note that there is significant overlap in materials within this series between Series I (Subseries a and b) and Series II (Subseries a-b and d-g).
This subseries consists of a number of journals and notebooks that Feldman kept throughout his career. These writings contain personal anecdotes as well as notes and itineraries regarding Feldman’s various commitments. Of particular interest to researchers may be Feldman’s journal dating from the early days of his career as part of the Appalachian Regional Commission during the Kennedy administration. This subseries is arranged chronologically.