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Richard F. VanderVeen papers

Identifier: 00118

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the Congressional papers and related materials of Richard F. VanderVeen from his half term in the 93rd Congress and full term in the 94th Congress of the United States House of Representatives. The bulk of the papers is correspondence from his constituents and copies of his replies to them. The subject matter is both general, such as congratulatory letters, acceptance of invitations and requests for information, and legislative, dealing with various proposed bills and problems to be solved. Furthermore, general mailings, such as newsletters and questionnaires, and copies of Vander Veen's speeches, both before Congress and to his constituency, are included.

The opinions of VanderVeen's constituents concerning his performance in office are expressed in a number of newspaper articles and letters of correspondence. Their views about the affairs of the government, especially Watergate, Richard Nixon's resignation, and Gerald Ford's Presidency, and about other national problems, such as Vietnam and taxation, are also revealed in their letters.

The papers also contain correspondence and publications relating to governmental departments and agencies, to special-interest groups, and to local, state, and national organizations and businesses. Part of the collection deals solely with Michigan concerns and projects, especially those of the 5th District. Matters of Congressional interest, such as inter-member correspondence, copies of legislation, and research notes are also contained herein.

Photographs of Richard F. VanderVeen include his interactions with bus tours from Michigan from 1974-1976. These photographs are primarily group photographs in front of various building around D.C. Other photographs show the congressman giving speeches, attending meetings, and preforming other duties of his office.


  • Creation: 1974 - 1976


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Richard Franklin VanderVeen was born to Frank and Nettie VanderVeen on November 26, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1946, he attended Harvard Law School and in 1949 received a Bachelor of Law degree. Married in 1946, he and his wife Marion had three sons Richard, Jr., Lawrence, and Paul. Until his election to Congress in 1974, VanderVeen was the president of the law firm VanderVeen, Freihofer, and Cook, P.C.

In 1958, VanderVeen was appointed to the Michigan State Mental Health Commission, on which he served until 1964, acting as chairman for one year. Following this, he served on the Michigan State Highway Commission from 1964 to 1969 and on the East Grand Rapids Board of Education from 1969 to 1974.

Active in the Democratic Party, VanderVeen made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 1958, served as 5th District Democratic Chairman in 1959, was Chairman of the Democratic State Convention in 1960, and was delegate to the Convention in 1962 and 1964. Furthermore, he ran for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary in 1960 and for mayor of East Grand Rapids in 1970.

In February 1974, VanderVeen was chosen in a special election to represent Michigan's 5th District in the 93rd Congress of the House of Representatives, filling the seat suddenly vacated by Gerald Ford upon becoming Vice President of the United States. VanderVeen was the first Democratic representative in Congress for the district since 1910. Having served the remainder of this term, he was re-elected to a full term in the 94th Congress but failed to win a further term in 1976. In his first term he was a member of the Public Works Committee, while in his second he belonged to the Ways and Means Committee, specifically the Trade, Oversight, and Taxation Subcommittees.


19 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Series Listing

(1) Correspondence, General - 93rd Congress. 1971-1974. (2) Correspondence, General - 94th Congress. 1974-1976. (3) Correspondence, Legislative - 93rd Congress. 1974. (4) Correspondence, Legislative - 94th Congress. 1975-1976. (5) Departments and Agencies. 1968-1976. (6) Michigan. 1937-1976. (7) Correspondence, Invitations - Accepted. 1973-1976. (8) Photographs

Custodial History

Gift of Richard F. VanderVeen.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Richard F. VanderVeen Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
J. Burr
February 1989
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US