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Oral History Project

Darrell St. Claire Aide to Senator Carl T. Hayden; Chief Clerk (later Assistant Secretary) of the Senate (1933–1977)

Darrell St. Claire

One man closely identified with the Senate's transformation from patronage to professional staff was Darrell St. Claire, who served the Senate for almost 40 years, until his retirement on April 1, 1977. As an aide to Arizona's long-time senator Carl Hayden, St. Claire became secretary to the Democratic Patronage Committee, which dispensed staff positions to majority party members during the New Deal years. Later, as chief clerk and assistant secretary of the Senate, he became a leader in the movement to install a professional staff and took on the responsibilities of personnel management in the Office of the Secretary. Seated at his desk beyond the swinging doors of the secretary's office, just off the Senate floor, Darrell St. Claire was well known to senators and Senate staffers alike. From that vantage he observed and dealt with some of the Senate's most influential and colorful figures, whom he describes in detail in these interviews, along with his own role in the modernization of the U.S. Senate.


Scholarly citation: "Darrell St. Claire: Assistant Secretary of the Senate,” Oral History Interviews, December 1976 to April 1978, 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.