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John V. Beamer collection

Identifier: L517

Scope and Contents

This collection principally consists of papers related to John V. Beamer's career in U.S. Congress from 1951 to 1959 and includes correspondence regarding legislation and political issues from constituents and colleagues, national associations, labor unions, Indiana newspapers, colleges and universities, and businesses in his district; speeches, newsletters, and press releases; copies of the Congressional Record; newspaper clippings; campaign records, printing plates, and publicity material; documents regarding legislation introduced by Beamer, including H.R. 2830 to provide benefits to postal employees from proceeds of vending machines in post offices (1952-1954), H.R. 5298 to amend section 1 of the Natural Gas Act (1953-1954), and H.Con. Res. 318 to establish an International Court of Habeas Corpus (1958); correspondence and documents regarding flood control in the Upper Wabash River basin (1948-1959) and traffic safety (1954-1961); documents regarding S. 497, the River and Harbor-Flood Act of 1957; and newspaper clippings (in Spanish and Portuguese) and photographs from his trips with the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee to South and Central America in 1951 and Spain in 1954. Also included is correspondence and documents regarding the Indiana General Assembly (1947-1951); Beamer's post-congressional work on campaigns and lobbying activities (1959-1964); anticommunism documents (1946-1974); and phonographic records of radio broadcasts (1952-1958) and two films of unknown subject content (circa 1956-1958).

The collection also has several oversize items, including a print from the Delta Electric Company of Marion, Indiana (1951); a two-sided broadside issued by the Rank and File Members of Labor Unions for Ike of Murphysboro, Illinois with "Highway to One Union!" on one side and "Ike Will Stop Bossism...He is for the Rank and File" on the second side (circa 1952); an honor roll certificate given to Beamer for distinguished service by the Government Employee Council of the Federation of Labor (July 21, 1954); a certificate appointing Beamer to the National Selective Service Appeal Board and signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower (March 23, 1960); and several maps regarding the Upper Wabash River basin, including a reservoir survey map by the Indiana Flood Control and Water Resources Commission (September 1, 1948), a U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention map (November 17, 1955), maps noting flooded areas of Portland, Indiana (1957), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineer maps regarding the proposed Mississinewa, Salamonie, and Huntington reservoirs (1955) (OBD052).

Other items of note within the collection include a copy of the Indiana Department of Commerce and Public Relations pamphlet, "Where Ever You Are in Indiana You're Close to Something You Won't Want to Miss!" (circa 1955); A donation request from the Townsend Club No. 1 of Reading, Pennsylvania sent with a small palm-size fabric apron (circa 1955); Elwood, Indiana Centennial Celebration souvenir wooden nickels along with Beamer's speech on June 28, 1952; 1954 campaign photograph with President Dwight D. Eisenhower; a photograph of Beamer and Vickie Poor, a young constituent from Marion, Indiana, sent with a letter she wrote on November 7, 1958; a telegram from NAACP lobbyist, Clarence Mitchell, thanking Beamer for his support on H.R. 7304 (July 26, 1954); a long telegram from Dick (Richard) Nixon regarding the last two weeks of campaigning (October 19, 1958); correspondence from a large number of governors and attorneys general regarding J. Res. 221 and Public Law 85-684, legislation that granted congressional consent for interstate compacts on highway safety (1957-1961); and photographs of John V. and Letha Beamer; Shepard J. Crumpacker, Jr.; Charles Halleck; Ralph Harvey; and F. Jay Nimtz (circa 1950).


  • 1910-1974


Language of Materials

Some materials in Spanish and Portuguese.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

John Valentine Beamer was a manufacturer, farmer, and legislator from Wabash, Indiana. He was born November 17, 1896 on a farm in Wabash County to Jacob and Rosa Beamer. He graduated from Roann High School in 1914 and received his B.A. degree from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana in 1918. Beamer served as a private first class in the U.S. Army's field artillery during World War I. He married Letha Urschel (1895-1986) on June 30, 1928 and they had two children.

Prior to his political career, Beamer was active in the manufacture of baking powder and rock wool insulation and owned and managed several farms in Wabash County. A Republican, he served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1949 to 1950. He was elected United States representative from Indiana's 5th Congressional District in November, 1950 and served four terms (1951-1959). While in Congress, he served on the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee. After losing his bid for a fifth term in the 1958 election, Beamer remained involved in politics, helping with local elections and lobbying Congress. John V. Beamer died at the age of 67 on September 8, 1964 and was buried in Falls Cemetery in Wabash.


Items in the collection. "John Valentine Beamer." Find a Grave Memorial. Accessed May 8, 2024.


7 Cubic Feet (15 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 extra-large oversize folder)


This collection is arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Political correspondence and papers, 1915-1964

Series 2: Speeches, press releases, and newsletters, 1939-1964

Series 3: Campaign papers, 1947-1963

Series 4: Political papers, 1936-1961

Subseries 4.1: Indiana General Assembly papers, 1941-1951 Subseries 4.2: Congressional papers, 1936-1961 Subseries 4.3: Anti-communism papers, 1946-1974 Subseries 4.4: Audiovisual materials, circa 1952-1958

Series 5: Personal papers, 1910-1964

Subseries 5.1: Post-congressional papers, 1910-1964 Subseries 5.2: Family papers, circa 1915-1964

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Letha Beamer in 1964/11/25 and 1965/05/05 and from John V. Beamer, Jr. on 1986/12/04.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 2005 by Jennifer Duplaga. Collection was reprocessed by Laura Eliason in April 2018. Audiovisual and realia material procesesd 2024/05/08 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2018/04/09 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid revised 2021/12/01 by Lauren Patton; 2024/05/08 by Brittany Kropf.
John V. Beamer collection
Under Revision
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.