Wednesday, September 18, 2013

George (Buddy) Darden Papers Now Open

The Russell Library is pleased to announce that the George W. (Buddy) Darden Papers are now open for research.

Congressman Darden represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1995. A graduate of the University of Georgia and the University of Georgia Law School, Darden served as assistant district attorney and later as district attorney of Cobb County, Georgia, before being elected as a Democrat to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1980. After serving two years in the State House, Darden sought higher office. Following the death of U.S. Representative Larry McDonald of Georgia’s 7th district, Darden ran for and was elected to the U.S. House in a special election held in 1983. Darden served six terms.

Darden pays a visit to the troops, circa 1989.

During his tenure in Congress, Darden served on the House Armed Services, Ethics, and Appropriations Committees as well as the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Darden and his colleagues faced several major issues including the Persian Gulf War and the rise in military spending. Darden’s legislative record reflects his work to benefit the State of Georgia, such as his support for the Dobbins Air Force Base, and his efforts, along with fellow Georgia Congressman Ed Jenkins, to save jobs at Lockheed’s Marietta, Georgia, facility.

Darden, standing in front of a P-3 Orion, addresses workers at 
Lockheed’s Marietta, Georgia, facility, circa 1993.
A moderate Democrat, Darden strived to represent his constituents’ interests in national issues, such as healthcare reform. Always one to keep local issues in mind, he sponsored a bill to relocate a highway that would have affected the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, located in northwest Georgia.

In 1994, Darden lost his re-election bid to Republican candidate Bob Barr. Following his time in office, President Clinton appointed Darden to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. After Clinton’s presidency, Darden began doing work for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Darden was unsuccessful in his 2002 run for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House. He is currently a partner with the law firm McKenna, Long & Aldridge.

Chronicling the political career of Congressman Darden, the papers, totaling 290 linear feet of records, offer deep insight into the issues that mattered to Georgians during the 1980s and 1990s. Letters from Darden’s constituents (Series I: Constituent Services) touch on a multitude of topics, including Medicare, Social Security, taxes, gun control, and, to a lesser extent, abortion, the environment, the Iran-Contra scandal, labor and trade regulations, and the military. Legislative files (Series II: Legislative) document his committee service and his work on impending legislation. Other files provide a fuller picture of Darden’s career and interests. Series III: Speeches and Press, for example, is critical to understanding Darden as a politician and public figure through his remarks delivered at events, on the House floor and on other occasions and how the media covered the congressman. Additional records include Series IV: Political, Series V: Personal, Series VI: Office, Series VII: Photographs, and Series VIII: Artifacts

The Russell Library is open for research from 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday through Friday (with the exception of University of Georgia holidays). For more information on this and other collections call (706) 542-5788, email, or visit

Post by Adriane Hanson, Processing and Electronic Records Archivist, Russell Library

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