Finding Aid for the Norris Poulson Papers, 1938-1976

Processed by Patricia Sue Webb, compiled in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MLS degree, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, UCLA, 1977; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé and edited by Josh Fiala.
UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
Manuscripts Division
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu
URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
© 2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Norris Poulson Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1938-1976
Collection number: 787
Creator: Poulson, Norris, 1895-1982
Extent: 5 boxes (2.5 linear ft.) 23 oversize boxes
Abstract: Charles Norris Poulson (1895-1982) was elected and served in the California State Assembly (1938-42), was elected to the House of Representatives in 1942, served as mayor of Los Angeles (1953-61), and was a member of the California Water Commission (1965-68). The collection consists of scrapbooks, clippings, documents, correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia related to the life of Norris Poulson including Poulson's autobiography, and materials related to his career as a California assemblyman, U.S. Congressman, and Los Angeles mayor.
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Gift of Norris Poulson, 1966 & 1976.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Norris Poulson Papers (Collection 787). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Biography

Charles Norris Poulson was born on July 23, 1895; attended Oregon Agricultural College, 1914-15; farmed 1916-23; moved to Los Angeles in 1923; attended Southwestern University, 1923-25; began his own accounting business about 1925, passing the California CPA examination in 1933; was elected and served in the California State Assembly (1938-42); first elected to the House of Representatives in 1942; served as mayor of Los Angeles (1953-61); served as a member of the California Water Commission (1965-68); he died on September 25, 1982.

Chronology

July 23, 1895 Born Charles Norris Poulson, Baker County, Oregon
Fall 1913 Attended Oregon Agricultural College
Fall 1914 Attended business college in Baker City, Oregon
February, 1915 Became accountant for J.F. Bryant, Haines, Oregon
December 25, 1916 Married Erna June Loennig
1916-1923 Farmed in Baker County, Oregon
Spring 1923 Moved to Los Angeles, California; became a bookkeeper for Square Oil Company
ca. 1925 Began accounting business of his own
1933 Passed California CPA examination
1938 Elected to the California State Assembly for the Los Angeles 56th District
1939 Investigated the California Athletic Comm.
1940 Re-elected to the California State Assembly
November, 1942 Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the California 13th District
November, 1944 Lost the congressional race for re-election to Ned Healy
1945 State lobbyist for California CPA Association
November, 1946 Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives
1948, 1950, 1952 Re-elected to serve as Representative; served on the House Public Lands Comm. (now the Interior Comm.)
December, 1952-May, 1953 Campaigned as Los Angeles mayoralty candidate against Fletcher Bowron
May 26, 1953 Elected mayor of Los Angeles
July, 1953 Settled the Los Angeles Public Housing issue
1956 Involved in the Los Angeles rubbish issue; served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention for Richard M. Nixon
1957 Was re-elected mayor of Los Angeles
1957-1959 Involved in the Los Angeles Major League Baseball issue
September, 1959 Hosted Premier Nikita Khrushchev during his visit to Los Angeles
1961 Lost the mayoralty election to Samuel Yorty
1965-1968 Served as member of the California Water Commission, participating in the California bond issue.
1969- Retired and residing in Tustin, California

Scope and Content

Collection consists of scrapbooks, clippings, documents, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, and related material of former Los Angeles mayor Norris Poulson. Includes Poulson's autobiography, The genealogy and life story of Erna and Norris Poulson. Includes materials related to his career as a California assemblyman, U.S. Congressman, and Los Angeles mayor, as well as signed letters and photographs of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, Mayor Fletcher Bowron, Mayor Samuel Yorty, Nikita Khrushchev, Earl Warren, and others.

Expanded Scope and Content

Norris Poulson's career as a California Assemblyman, Representative and member of the House Committee on Public Lands, and mayor of Los Angeles spans the time period 1938-1961. The Collection of his papers consists, in the greater part, of 39 scrapbooks containing clippings and memorabilia covering Poulson's political career. The majority of the material covers Poulson's two terms as mayor. There is very little correspondence of a personal or official nature, but there are many letters signed by prominent political figures, foreign dignitaries, and celebrities.
Particularly of interest are the extensive materials concerned with the California/Arizona water issue, the coverage of Nikita Khrushchev's visit to Los Angeles, and materials pertaining to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chavez Ravine deal with Walter O'Malley.
As Congressman and Mayor, Poulson knew and associated with many prominent political figures and citizens. As Mayor Poulson met and hosted many celebrities and foreign dignitaries. The Collection contains many signed letters from and photographs of prominent people. Of note are: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, Mayor Fletcher Bowron, Mayor Samuel Yorty, Nikita Khrushchev, Earl Warren, and others.
Also included in the Collection is an autobiography "The Genealogy and Life Story of Erna and Norris Poulson." The autobiography, like Poulson's oral history "Who would have ever dreamed," gives detailed accounts of Poulson's political career.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Subjects

Poulson, Norris, 1895-1982--Archives.
Mayors--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.
Legislators--United States--Archival resources.

Genres and Forms of Material

Scrapbooks.


Container List

Box 1, Folders 1-8

Congressman Poulson's newsletter to constituents. 1943-1944 & 1947-1952

Box 1

Remarks of Hon. Norris Poulson: 81st Congress, 2nd session. 1950

Box 1

Remarks of Hon. Norris Poulson: 83rd Congress, 1st session. 1953

Box 2

Correspondence. 1953

Scope and Content Note

Primarily congratulatory letters and telegrams after Poulson's election as mayor of Los Angeles.

Note

Folders 1-21, alphabetically arranged.
See also package 15 for additional letters.
Box 2

City of Los Angeles. ca. 1960-1961

Box 2

Added and improved services; operating economies and efficiencies; additional development of city services and facilities. ca. 1960

Physical Description: (26 leaves, typescript carbon)
Box 2

Capital improvement program accomplishments July 1, 1953 to December 31, 1960. ca. 1961

Physical Description: (Typescript)
Box 3

“Transcript of preliminary investigation into the matter of rubbish collection in the City of Los Angeles.” June 20-28, 1955

Physical Description: (3 copies, photocopy)
Box 4

Poulson - Yorty campaign for mayor. 1961

Scope and Content Note

Box contains mostly clippings, some correspondence, transcripts of radio and T.V. interviews, etc. Though arranged in 13 labeled folders, these materials have not really been organized and sifted for duplicates.
Box 5

Miscellaneous. 1940-1976

Note

For additions, see page 7
Box 5, Folders 1

Printed memorabilia found loose in Scrapbook 2 “Dad's First Session - California Legislature”

Box 5, Folders 2

Trip to the Mandated Islands. February 1947

Physical Description: (pp.86-101, photocopy)

Scope and Content Note

From Poulson's oral history “Who would have ever dreamed?”
Box 5, Folders 3

The Poulson's European Trip (2 copies). July-August 1952

Physical Description: (Typescript carbon, 26 leaves)
Box 5, Folders 4-7

Miscellaneous - personal. 1947-1965

Scope and Content Note

Clippings, photographs, printed memorabilia, and correspondence.
Box 5, Folders 8-10

Correspondence. 1964-1975

Scope and Content Note

  • Letters to and from Wayne Aspinall, former democratic Representative from Colorado
  • Letters from Wayne D'Ewart, Republican Representative from Colorado
  • Miscellaneous personal correspondence
Box 5

“The Genealogy and Life Story of Erna and Norris Poulson” by Norris Poulson

Physical Description: (Bound copy, 311pp.)

Scope and Content Note

This was written January 1974-ca. 1976 as a keepsake for Poulson's children and grandchildren. Much of the text repeats parts of his oral history “Who would have ever dreamed?” completed by the UCLA Oral History Program in 1966.
Box 5

Mainly scrapbooks containing congratulatory letters, printed memorabilia, clippings, photographs, family memorabilia and souvenirs, correspondence, etc.

Box 6

Assembly campaign. 1938

Box 6

Athletic Commission investigation. 1938

Box 7

Dad's First Session - California Legislature. 1938-1940

Box 7

Assembly campaign for re-election. 1940

Box 8

Assembly memorabilia. 1941

Box 8

Congressional campaign. 1942

Box 8

Congressional clippings and memorabilia. 1943

Box 9

Congressional campaign for re-election against Ned Healy. May-November 1944

Box 9

Congressional campaign and clippings. November-May 1945

Box 10

Congressional campaign. June-December 1946

Box 10

Congressional memorabilia and Mandated Islands Trip. 1947

Box 6

Congressional campaign. 1948

Box 11

California/Arizona water issue. 1948-1949

Box 11

Congressional campaign and water issue. 1948-1950

Box 12

Congressional memorabilia and campaign. 1949-1950

Box 12

Congressional campaign and water issue. 1950

Box 13

Water issue. January-July 1951

Box 13

Water issue and re-election. August 1951-1952

Box 14

“Mayor's race, Book 1.” December 26, 1952-March 15, 1953

Box 14

“Mayor's race, Book 2.” March 14-April 6, 1953

Box 15

“Mayor's race, Book 3.” April 7-May 6, 1953

Box 15

“Mayor's race, Book 4.” May 7-19, 1953

Box 16

“Mayor's race, Book 5.” May 20-26, 1953

Box 16

“Mayor's race, Book 6.” May 26-28, 1953

Scope and Content Note

Includes election returns.
Box 17

Souvenirs and printed memorabilia. January-May 1953

Box 17

“Mayor Elect.” May 28-June 27, 1953

Box 15

“Congratulatory letters and telegrams.” 1953-1957

Note

For additional letters see Box 2, folders 1-21.
Box 18

“Newspaper Clippings, Book 1.” June 1953-December 1958

Box 19

“Newspaper Clippings, Book 2.” December 1958-September 1965

Box 20

“Correspondence.” June 1953-December 1975

Scope and Content Note

Letters received by Poulson during his two terms as mayor of Los Angeles and thereafter, often from famous politicians or celebrities. Some of the more notable are:
  • Willi Brandt, leaves 21
  • Gov. Edmund Brown, leaves 62, 63, 64
  • Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower, leaves 2, 15, 21a, 25, 27
  • Mamie Eisenhower, leaves 3, 7
  • Senator John F. Kennedy, leaves 22
  • Gov. Goodwin Knight, leaves 8, 10, 15
  • Nikita Khrushchev, leaves 80
  • V.P. Richard M. Nixon, leaves 4, 7, 8, 9, 41
  • Speaker Sam Rayburn, leaves 9
  • Edward Rickenbacker, leaves 36
  • Nelson D. Rockefellar, leaves 65
  • Pres. Harry S. Truman, leaves 5, 18, 21a
  • Mrs. Bess Truman, leaves 5
  • Chief Justice Earl Warren, leaf 1, 2
  • John Wayne, leaves 19
Box 20

Photographs. March 1957-June 1961

Scope and Content Note

(Photographs of Mayor Poulson attending public functions during his second term. Mayor Poulson is often photographed with famous persons; some of the more notable are:
  • Willi Brandt, leaves 33, 34
  • King Hussein of Jordan, leaves 52
  • John F. Kennedy, leaves 60
  • Nikita Khrushchev, leaves 49
  • Richard M. Nixon, leaves 17, 50, 57
  • Nelson D. Rockefeller, leaves 57
  • Earl Warren, leaves 29
Box 21

Souvenirs of Trips Made - Civic Functions for distinguished visitors - Important Affairs, Book 1.” 1940-September 1957

Box 21

Souvenirs of Trips Made - Civic Functions for distinguished visitors - Important Affairs, Book 2.” September 1958-June 1961

Box 22

Souvenirs, Remembrances from friends and family, etc., Book 1.” 1913-1960

Box 22

“Souvenirs, Remembrances from friends and family, etc., Book 2.” 1960-1961

Box 23

Miscellaneous letters, clippings, souvenirs. 1940-June 1976

Box 24

“Honorable Norris Poulson, in print. By Joseph Niemiec. vol.1.” May-August 1953

Scope and Content Note

The three volumes in this series include clippings from Poulson's first term as mayor but also many clippings from popular newspaper and magazine columns such as “Ripley's Believe It or Not.”
Box 25

“Honorable Norris Poulson, in print. By Joseph Niemiec. vol.2.” August-December 1953

Box 26

“Honorable Norris Poulson, in print. By Joseph Niemiec. vol.3.” January-June 1954

Box 27

Port of Los Angeles - Annual Reports. 1952-1960

Box 27

Los Angeles Dodgers. 1961

Scope and Content Note

Photo Album with autographs.
Box 28

Los Angeles Examiner: “Los Angeles Reports to its Citizens.” 1956-1960

Physical Description: (5 vol.)
Box 28

Los Angeles Times: “Midwinter Edition.” 1956-1958

Physical Description: (3 vol.)
Box 9

Flight: A Pictorial History of Aviation by the Editors of Year. 1953

Box 16

Eisenhower Presidential Inauguration. January 20, 1953

Scope and Content Note

This scrapbook includes clippings and souvenirs from all the inaugural functions.
Box 5

Southern California Quarterly (vol.62, no.3)

Scope and Content Note

Contains article: Cary S. Henderson. “Los Angeles and the Dodger War, 1957-1962,“ pp.261-286, which Mr. Poulson requested be added to his reminiscences.