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NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID



RG1895.AM:  William Henry O’Gara, 1877-1955



Papers:  1913; 1930-1953, and undated

Laurel, Cedar County, Neb.: State Legislator

Size:  1.0 cu.ft.; 2 boxes



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE



W.H. O’Gara, son of Roger and Bridget (Hayes) O’Gara, was born in a sod house in Cedar County, Nebraska on July 29, 1877. After attending Wayne State College, O’Gara took up farming and became known as a breeder of racehorses of the pacer and trotter type.



An attorney, W.H. O’Gara was first elected to the Nebraska House of Representatives in 1921. Representing District 46, O’Gara served seven successive terms. He was elected Majority Floor Leader in 1933 and Speaker of the House in 1935. He was the last Speaker of the House, as Nebraska implemented the unicameral system in 1937.



After an unsuccessful run for the office of Lt. Governor in 1938, O’Gara became active in the work of taxpayer’s organizations. In later years, he became head of the 1888 Blizzard Club and his research on that event culminated in the book, In All Its Fury. W.H. O’Gara died in Lincoln, Nebraska, on April 27, 1955. He was survived by his wife and two daughters.



SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE



This collection consists of manuscript material arranged in three series: 1) Correspondence, 1913-1953 and undated; 2) Speeches and Writings; and 3) Miscellany. This material relates primarily to the legislative career of W.H. O’Gara, member of the Nebraska House of Representatives for seven terms, during the years, 1921-1936.



The correspondence in Series 1 consists of incoming and outgoing letters, 1913-1953 and undated, which relate to issues of importance to O’Gara and his constituents. During his early years in office, he was concerned with road improvements, taxation, and political appointments. On assuming the floor leadership in 1932, he had a voice on a wide range of bills before the legislature. Primary areas of interest were the state university, income and sales tax, farm moratorium bills, and the rebuilding and strengthening of the Nebraska Democratic party. O’Gara’s correspondence takes up the Unicameral issue after his election as Speaker of the House in 1935. O’Gara retired from political office after his defeat for the office of Lt. Governor in 1938. His later correspondence relates mostly to tax issues. Major correspondents include George W. Norris, Edward Burke, Hugh Butler, Karl Stefan, Harry B. Coffee, Terry Carpenter, and A.L. Miller.



The speeches and writings of Series 2 are comprised of presentations, rough drafts, and notes by W.H. O’Gara. Topics include the Unicameral, pensions, primaries, and safe highways.



Series 3 contains miscellany, including newspaper clippings, membership cards, and Sifting Committee minutes.



Note: See photo component [RG1895.PH] for photographs.



DESCRIPTION



Series 1 – Correspondence, 1913; 1930-1955; and undated



Box 1

Folder




  1. 1913; 1930 – 1932, Feb.

  2. 1932, Mar. – 1933, Jan. 13

  3. 1933, Jan. 14-31

  4. 1933, Feb. 1-8

  5. 1933, Feb. 9-16

  6. 1933, Feb. 17 – Mar. 9

  7. 1933, Mar. 10-24

  8. 1933, Mar. 25 – Apr. 6

  9. 1933, Apr. 7-19

  10. 1933, Apr. 20 – May 12

  11. 1934

  12. 1935, Jan. 1-4

  13. 1935, Jan. 5-11

  14. 1935, Jan. 12

  15. 1935, Jan. 22-31

  16. 1935, Feb. 1-8

  17. 1935, Feb. 12-21

  18. 1935, Feb. 13-19

  19. 1935, Feb. 20-28

  20. 1935, Mar.

  21. 1935, Apr.



Box 2

Folder




  1. 1935, May – Dec.

  2. 1936-1938

  3. 1939, Jan. – Apr.

  4. 1939, May – Dec.

  5. 1940-1941, Mar.

  6. 1941, Apr. – Dec.

  7. 1942, Jan. – June

  8. 1942, July – 1944

  9. 1945-1948, June

  10. 1948, July – 1949

  11. 1950-1951

  12. 1952-1953, and undated



Series 2 – Speeches and Writings



Folder




  1. Speeches

  2. Speeches

  3. Notes and Rough Drafts



Series 3 – Miscellany



Folder




  1. Newspaper clippings, membership cards

  2. Sifting Committee minutes, 1935



 



ADDED ENTRIES:



Burke, Edward Raymond, 1880-1968

Butler, Hugh Alfred, 1878-1954

Carpenter, Terry McGovern, 1900-1978

Cedar County (Neb.) — History

Coffee, Harry Buffington, 1890-1972

Democratic Party (Neb.)

Laurel (Neb.) — History

Legislation — Nebraska — 1930s

Legislative bodies — Nebraska

Miller, Arthur Lewis, 1892-1967

Nebraska — Legislature

Norris, George William, 1861-1944

O’Gara, William Henry, 1877-1955

Taxation — Nebraska

Unicameral legislature



 



06-04-2007   Revised TMM/tmm