13 linear feet
The Michener collection consists almost totally of correspondence accumulated while Michener served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Although the collection dates from 1898 to 1955, the great bulk of it dates from 1904 to 1934, years when Michener practiced law, served as a county prosecutor, then went off to Congress. The files relate exclusively to the politics of being a congressman, the job of staying in touch with constituents, responding to their concerns, thanking them when they offer support, etc. During each election year, Michener sent out hundreds of form letters. Such correspondence included notes enclosed with nominating petitions; brief notes which accompanied signed petitions; acknowledgments of the signed petitions; letters to newspapers asking them to print enclosed advertisements; letters enclosing campaign cards; form letters urging support at the primary; letters of congratulation; Michener's acknowledgment of congratulations; letters to people from various towns asking them to phone in the election returns; thank you notes to those who phoned in the returns; and so forth. Examples of each type of these form letters have been included in the collection though the bulk of materials has been reduced.
The collection is particularly valuable for material on grass-roots Republican politics, the methods and means by which an individual sought election to Congress and then maintained that position through several successive terms. Michener's correspondence is particularly heavy during election years. Some of the issues discussed by him relate to prohibition in Michigan, the influence of the Ku-Klux-Klan in the 1924 election, and the problems confronting veterans of the Spanish-American War and World War I. The collection is less valuable for the work that Michener did while in Congress. There are few files relating to legislative activities.