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Oral History Project

Stewart E. McClure Chief Clerk, Senate Committee on Labor, Education, and Public Welfare (1949–1973)

Photo of Stewart McClure

When the Russians launched Sputnik, Stewart McClure as chief clerk of the Committee on Labor, Education and Public Welfare suggested that an education bill currently being considered might stand a better chance of passage if it were packaged as a defense measure. From his memo was born the National Defense Education Act. Having previously served as administrative assistant to Senator Guy Gillette (an Iowa Democrat), McClure became chief of staff of the Labor Committee in 1955 under the chairmanship of Senator Lister Hill, and again in 1971 under the chairmanship of Senator Harrison Williams. He recounts the avalanche of domestic legislation that the committee handled during the Great Society and offers candid assessments of the internal politics and stresses of committee life during those years.


Scholarly citation: "Stewart E. McClure: Chief Clerk, Senate Committee on Labor, Education, and Public Welfare (1949–1973)," Oral History Interviews, December 8, 1982, to May 3, 1983, Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: The Senate Historical Office has a strong commitment to oral history as an important part of its efforts to document institutional change over time. Oral histories are a natural component to historical research and enhance the archival holdings of the Senate and its members. Oral histories represent the personal recollections and opinions of the interviewees, however, and should not be considered as the official views or opinions of the U.S. Senate, of the Senate Historical Office, or of other senators and/or staff members. The transcripts of these oral histories are made available by the Senate Historical Office as a public service.