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Washington State University Libraries
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Pullman, WA 99164-5610 USA
(509) 335-6691

Cage 655
Thomas S. Foley
Congressional Papers, 1964-1997

Congressional papers of Thomas S. Foley, Member of the United States House of Representative for the Fifth District of the state of Washington from 1965 through 1994, were donated to the Washington State University Libraries in 1995. Further materials were transferred in 1997 by the Former Speaker's Office in Spokane. Papers were processed between mid-1995 and early 1998. Employees of the University Libraries who participated in inventory and processing of the papers and in compilation of the guide were: Mary Kay Duffié, Robert Hadlow, Jean Johnson, April O'Riley, Liza Rognas, Lawrence Stark, Scott Stratton, Debra Sutphen, JoséVargas, Anna Vogt, and Baodi Zhou.

Number of Containers ----- 480
Linear feet of Shelf Space ----- 550


Thomas S. Foley was born at Spokane, Washington, in 1929. He practiced law and worked for the Spokane County Prosecutor from 1957 to 1961, following his education at the University of Washington. From 1961 through 1964 he was on the staff of the Interior Committee of the United States Senate, a position he was introduced to by Senator Henry Jackson. In 1964, Foley won election as the Representative for Washington's Fifth District. Between then and 1994 he won fourteen more elections, ultimately serving in Congress for thirty years. He left Congress after the election of 1994, in which he was unsuccessful.

Foley became Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in 1974, Majority Whip in 1981, Majority Leader in 1987 and Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1989. He also held other Democratic Party leadership posts in the party caucus and its Steering and Policy Committee. In 1997, he was appointed United States Ambassador to Japan.


The congressional papers of Thomas S. Foley are arranged, so near as possible, following the original filing practices of the Congressman's offices in Washington DC and in Spokane.

Papers consist of correspondence, enclosures, and reports concerned with the Congressman's legislative efforts. Also included are significant quantities of press and public statement materials, including a news-clipping file and many audio and video recordings of the Congressman. Papers concerned with election campaigns are included. Materials concerning the various leadership posts held by Congressman Foley are likewise found among the papers.

The papers are arranged in nine series, further subdivided into numerous subseries. Within the respective series and subseries, folders are arranged in a variety of ways. In several instances, folders are ordered by Congress, that is the 89th, 90th and so on, and then alphabetized thereunder. In other instances, alphabetical or chronological sequences cover longer periods of time.

The nine record series are Legislative Files, General Correspondence and Subject Files, Office and Personal Files, House and Party Leadership, Government Departments and Agencies, Election Campaigns, District Office, Press Files, and Media Materials. The Congressman's Office employed the practice of filing based on general guidelines, and thus papers relative to a given subject may be found filed with more than one of the record series.

Descriptive abstracts of the nine record series are presented at the beginning of the following guide, where they also serve as a table of contents to the guide. Similar abstracts are also presented in the detailed list of folders that constitutes the container list, or body, of the guide.

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