Preserving "A Fair Chance For a Free People" - Karl E. Mundt


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The Karl E. Mundt Historical and Educational Foundation located on the campus of Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota is a resource for researchers offering efficiency and service for its original treasure of material. The late Senator Karl E. Mundt (1900-1974) made history in his career in the Congress of the United States from his first swearing-in on Tuesday, January 3, 1939 until his disabling stroke on Sunday, November 22, 1969. The reader needs to be aware that 1948 was a dividing year in Mundt's career when he moved from the House to the Senate.

The Archives, preserved on the Garden Floor of the Karl E. Mundt Library, offer all the private and public manuscripts, letters, memorabilia, and artifacts relating to the life of and public service of Mundt. Mundt's life experiences as a scholar at Carleton College and Columbia University, as a teacher and superintendent at Bryant High School at Bryant, South Dakota, as chairman of the Speech Department and social science instructor at Eastern State Normal School (now Dakota State University), and as a businessman taught him respect for careful preservation of historical material.

President Richard M. Nixon dedicated the building housing the Karl E. Mundt Library and the Foundation on June 3, 1969. Two million documents have been cataloged and microfilmed. Memorabilia is on display. The furniture and pictures from his senatorial office are in a glass- enclosed area. A small auditorium seating 150 people is used for seminars, classes, receptions, art displays, and pubic meetings. A comfortable research room will seat 30 people.

The high points of Mundt's career in Congress can be perused in the Washington Post, August 17, 1974 and the Washington Star, August 17, 1974. These articles are printed in the Congressional record. The Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress gives a brief biography of Mundt. A biography of Karl E. Mundt, A Fair Chance for a Free People, by Scott Heidepriem was published by Karl E. Mundt Historical and Educational Foundation and printed by Leader Printing Company, Madison, South Dakota in 1988.

The sole purpose of this inventory is as a useful resource for scholars and researchers. The complete index of the collection is available at the Foundation and is incorporated in each section of this document. The microfilm file is available through interlibrary loan. The APPENDIX of this inventory lists Congressional assignments of Mundt. The archives for these assignments are an in- depth primary source. The goal was to describe the collection with thoroughness. Names indexed were authenticated by use of the Biographical Dictionaries Master Index and from signatures on original documents. General subject sources were taken from the Library of Congress Subject Headings Index and from the original file folder heading. The Foundation wishes to encourage researchers of all ages and of all levels of interest to use the collection.

Pauline Teagarden

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© Karl E. Mundt Historical & Educational Foundation and Archives, All rights reserved. Karl Mundt Library and Learning Commons
Dakota State University
820 N. Washington, Madison, SD 57042
Phone: (605) 256-5203