Adlai Stevenson 1952 presidential campaign speeches
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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
Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (1900-1965) was born in Los Angeles, California, on February 5, 1900 to Lewis G. Stevenson and Helen Davis Stevenson. He was raised in Bloomington, Illinois, where his family had long been involved in politics, most notably his paternal grandfather, Adlai E. Stevenson, who had served as vice president of the United States during President Grover Cleveland's second term (1893-1897) and was William Jennings Bryan's running mate in 1900.
Stevenson was educated at Choate and Princeton University, and earned a JD from Northwestern University in 1926. He practiced law in Illinois in the 1920s and 1930s, before becoming a special assistant to Secretary of the Navy Henry Knox during World War II. After the war, Stevenson was appointed as special assistant in the State Department, working to organize the newly formed United Nations. In 1948, Stevenson decided to pursue political office, running for governor of Illinois. Stevenson won the election.
In 1952, Chicago served as the host for both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the first to be televised. During the 1952 Democratic primary, President Harry Truman withdrew from the race amid a decrease in popularity, leaving Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver as the delegate leader coming into the convention. President Truman and other Democratic leaders did not like Kefauver, in part because of a series of committee hearings on organized crime chaired by Kefauver, which revealed some ties between organized crime and Democratic political machines. Though initially reluctant, prefering to run for reelection for governor, the Illinois delegation to the convention drafted Stevenson to run for presdient, and he won on the third ballot. Stevenson, and his running mate Alabama Senator John Sparkman lost in the general election to Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower and running mate Richard Nixon.
Stevenson ran for president again in 1956, winning the nomination, but losing a second time to Eisenhower. He did not run in 1960, and was appointed as United Nations ambassador by President John F. Kennedy, a position he held until his death.
Adapted from Collection Creator Biography, Adlai E. Stevenson Papers; Public policy papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library https://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/MC124#collhist.
The Adlai Stevenson 1952 presidential campaign speeches includes transcripts of 56 speeches documenting Stevenson's presidential campaign from the start of the Democratic National Convention on July 21, 1952, to the Saturday before the general election, November 1.
The transcriptions of 56 speeches given by Stevenson during the Presidential election season of 1952, beginning with his welcoming address to the Democratic National Convention on July 21, when he was speaking as governor of the host state of Illinois and before he was drafted as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. The second speech here begins: "I accept your nomination and your program. I should have preferred to hear those words uttered by a stronger, wiser, better man than myself." Fifty-four more speeches follow, all issued as news releases and most on Stevenson Campaign Headquarters letterhead. The final speech was given on November 1 (Election Day was November 4).
As a chronological record of Stevenson's entire first run for president, this collection of photo-reproductions provides a window into 1950s presidential politics.
Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons (6 inches)
Processed and encoded by John D. M. Caldwell, March 2021.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2021 March 4
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec