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James H. Scheuer Papers

Identifier: SFHL-RG6-R3-001

Scope and Contents

The Scheuer Papers are organized in six series: 1. Legislative Work; 2. Organizations and Conferences; 3. Other Writings; 4. Correspondence; 5. Office Documents; and 6. Secondary Works about James Scheuer.

The heart of the collection lies in the first two series which document Scheuer's achievements in his many years as a Congressman and as a elder statesman in non-governmental organizations. The four other series, especially Series 6, provide background information. Series 6 includes newspaper clippings and scrapbooks of clippings that have been copied onto acid-free paper. Series 3 includes some handwritten notes taken by Scheuer during a meeting with President Anwar el-Sadat in 1976.

Much of the material in this collection represents the public side of Scheuer's career rather than personal papers. Series 4, Correspondence, does include some letters from other members of Congress that go beyond standard congratulations, invitations, and recommendations. Series 5 gives some hint about what it took to run a Representative's office, especially in the few detailed staff memos that survived.

Each series is arranged in chronological order, with a few exceptions in Series 5, Office Documents.


  • Creation: 1957-1995


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Physical Access Note

All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Archives staff at at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Biographical / Historical

James H. Scheuer was born February 6, 1920, in New York City, the son of Simon H. and Helen Rose Scheuer. He attended Swarthmore College, graduating in 1942. He continued his education at Harvard University' s Graduate School of Business Administration, earning a degree in Industrial Relations in 1943 and then received his L.L.B. degree from Columbia University Law School in 1948. He married Emily Malino, an accomplished interior designer, in 1948, and they had four children: Laura Lee (Swarthmore '73), Elizabeth Helen (Swarthmore '75), James Jr., and John William.

Scheuer had a wide range of interests and talents. He was the New York City harmonica champion as a young man, and throughout his career he continued to entertain and impress his constituency and his peers with his ability to play anything from Bach to Sousa marches. In 1943-45, he served as a flight instructor in the U.S. Army. He followed that with a job as an economist for the U.S. Foreign Economic Administration in the critical postwar years. Then came stints as a member of the legal staff for the Office of Price Stabilization (1951-53) and as president of the Citizen's Housing and Planning Council of New York City (1972-74). Scheuer also wrote a book, To Walk the Streets Safely, published by Doubleday in 1969.

Serving as a Congressman ensured Scheuer the varied, challenging career that seemed to suit him best. Scheuer was first elected to the 89th Congress in November 1964 and was reelected most years through the 102nd Congress, when he retired from the House. He faced his stiffest opposition in his unsuccessful bid for a seat in the 93rd Congress, and he was periodically challenged by redistricting maneuvers that altered the groups of people he was to represent. A solution was to switch districts before the districts were switched. At different times, Scheuer represented the 21st Congressional District, the 11th (Brooklyn-Queens) and the 8th (Queens-Bronx-Nassau County).

Evidence of Scheuer's deep concern for the world's people and environment is apparent throughout the collection. At the national level, he introduced bills such as the Maternal and Child Health Bill (H.R. 14822) and proposed amendments to the National Electric Vehicle Act (H.R. 1538) and held hearings on teenage pregnancy. Scheuer also operated at the global level, participating in international organizations and committees, including the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the Global Committee of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, and the Global Survival Conference. His contribution as founding President of the United States arm of the Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) is particularly well-documented in this collection.

Scheuer retired from the House in 1992 and then accepted a post as United States Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) shortly thereafter. After a stint in London serving that office, he retired, and he and his wife returned to Washington, D.C. James Scheuer died August 30, 2005.


4.17 linear ft. (10 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection contains the papers of Representative James H. Scheuer (1920-2005), Democrat from New York, Swarthmore College Class of 1942. It documents his long career as a politician and public servant. His early interests in housing and urban planning soon broadened to encompass the diverse needs of his constituents in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Both in the House and in external committee work, Scheuer was actively involved in issues relating to the environment and the quality of life for people throughout the world. The papers are supplemented by a large collection of photographs (SPA 80).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of James H. Scheuer, 1997

Gift of Emily M. Scheuer, 2004

Gift of George S. Kopp, 2006

Separated Materials

Photographs: Framed photographs were removed from the frames, and photos, contact sheets, and negatives were cataloged as SPA 80. See the finding aid for that collection for more details.

United States Government Documents were offered to McCabe Library, and they retained two items: Maternal and Child Health Care Act (94th Congress Second Session on H.R. 12937 and H.R. 14309) 2 bound volumes of the Hearings before the Select Committee on Population, (95th Congress).

Books were added to McCabe Library Special Collections: Scheuer, James H. To Walk the Streets Safely. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co.; 1969. Yallop, David A. In God's Name: An Investigation Into the Murder of Pope John Paul I. New York: Bantam Books; 1984. - Yallop, David A. In God's Name. London: Jonathan Cape; 1984. Glazer, Myron Peretz and Penina Migdal Glazer. The Whistleblowers. New York: Basic Books; 1989. Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1971. U.S.G.P.O.; 1971 (Scheuer's personalized copy).

Artifacts were added to the FHL relics database: Gavel, with gavel stand, inscribed, "Gavel used on February 6, 1986, 66th Birthday of Jim Scheuer" and signed "Thomas P. O'Neill Jr., Speaker" (1030a) Plaque from the "many admiring members" of Scheuer's staff, 1964-1992 (1 030b) Medal commemorating the "Fifth U.S. -Japan Parliamentary Committee Meeting June 15-16, 1987" (1030c) Medal from the Beijing Center of Communication and Education for Family Planning (1030d) Crystal flower bowl inscribed, "The Hon. Jim Scheuer, U.S. Director, EBRD 1995-95 In Appreciation for his work in cleaning up the environment in Eastern Europe. IIEC and his many friends. September 11, 1995 (1030e) "Swap Reagan" button (1030t) Medal awarded to Scheuer by the Sierra Club for being a "Clean Air Champion" (1030g) ". Name plate for "James H. Scheuer, New York" (1030h)

Audio-visual materials have been cataloged separately in the FHL collections: Reel-to-reel tape of the United States Information Service in Kenya containing an interview with Scheuer in Nairobi conducted by Michael Ngwalla, USIS and a VOA interview with Scheuer, conducted by VOA correspondent Bob Chancellor, dated October 1, 1976 Reel-to-reel tape of the National Association of Broadcasters containing two thirty second public service announcements by Emily Scheuer, dated June 1987. One is anti-drug and the other concerns the bicentennial. Video by Murray Bruce Productions called "The Gathering" of The Global Forum in Moscow, dated December 1990

Oversize graphic materials are housed in a folder in the RG6 section of oversize storage: Certificate of Award presented to Scheuer and The City and Suburban Homes Company from The Urban League of Greater New York "for its effective work in furthering the Urban League goal of equal economic opportunity in housing and for the outstanding example it has set at the Hillside Houses in integrated living," dated May 3, 1954 Certificate commemorating the signing of the Education Bill (H. R. 2362) on April 11, 1965. Inscribed, "To James Scheuer -with appreciation for your commitment to education, Lyndon B. Johnson" Page from Roll Call- The Newspaper of Capitol Hill, featuring Scheuer's exhibit of "modern techniques in the war against crime," dated May 11, 1967 International-Herald Tribune with story of Scheuer's expulsion from the Soviet Union on front page, dated January 15-16, 1972 Planned Parenthood poster featuring Scheuer superimposed between a couple sitting up in bed, with the heading, "The decision to have a baby could soon be between you, your husband, and your congressman," dated 1982 (3 copies) Article from IBM's Directions magazine featuring Scheuer on illiteracy, matted with the original portrait used to illustrate the piece, dated February 1988 Certificate of Appreciation to Scheuer from the National Archives World War II Commemorative Committee, dated April 2, 1990 Scheuer Re-election poster celebrating his "25 years of service" Original political cartoon by Rick Striner

Processing Information

The original order of the Scheuer Papers has not been preserved. After consultation with the Curator of the Friends Historical Library about what types of material ought to be included in the collection, the Scheuers deposited twenty boxes. This included approximately three boxes of papers, fourteen boxes of photographs (some of them framed), one box of government documents, one box of books including multiple copies of In God's Name and The Whistleblowers, and a box of awards and other artifacts. The boxes also held 2 reel-to-reel tapes and one video. Materials were sorted into these different categories, and duplicates, of which there were many, were removed. The Papers were organized into six series. All other materials were cataloged and stored separately (see below).

Finding aid for James H. Scheuer Papers, 1957-1995
Finding Aid Prepared by FHL staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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