A Guide to an Addendum to the Papers of
Joseph F. McDonald, Sr.
Collection No. 98-05
Joseph F. McDonald, Sr. (1891-1971)
Joseph F. McDonald was born on August 4, 1891 in Denver, Colorado. He and his mother moved to Goldfield, Nevada, in 1906 and then to Rawhide, Nevada, in 1908. That same year, Joe McDonald enrolled in the University of Nevada High School at Reno and, soon after, entered the University as a freshman. After graduation in 1915, he started his career with the Reno newspapers. Beginning as a reporter for the Reno Evening Gazette, he worked for both Reno newspapers and in 1939 became editor of the Nevada State Journal and later, publisher. He retired in 1956 as president of Reno Newspapers, Inc. During that year, he received an honorary Doctor of Journalism from the University of Nevada.
Following retirement, Joe was asked by the Fleischmann Foundation to head an organization which would guide development at Lake Tahoe. As president of the Nevada-California Lake Tahoe Association, he initiated the first planning efforts at the lake.
Throughout his active life, McDonald served on numerous boards and commissions and participated in a variety of organizations and community projects. He was an enthusiastic Democrat and counted many well-known state and national Democratic political figures among his friends.
McDonald was married to Leola Lewis in 1915 and had two sons: Bob, and Joseph F. McDonald, Jr. Joe Jr. spent most of World War II in a Japanese prisoner of war camp and then studied law after the war. Although licensed to practice law he went into the contracting business. He and his wife, Mary Jean had three children: Tracy, Sally, Joseph III.
Joseph McDonald, Sr. died on March 24, 1971. An oral history, completed in January, 1971 by Mr. McDonald for the University of Nevada, may be consulted for further biographical information.
This biographical sketch was compiled by Lenore Kosso.
Scope and Content
This is an addendum to the Joseph F. McDonald, Sr. manuscript collection. The first collection, NC429, consisting of 21 cubic feet, was donated in 1971 by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph F. McDonald, Jr. This addendum, consisting of 1 cubic foot, was donated in 1998 by Mrs. Joseph McDonald, Jr. The new collection was given a separate accession number because it was not possible to shelve it with the previous collection. Researchers will need to consult both collections and guides to view the entire collection of McDonald papers. There are no restrictions on use of either collection.
This collection consists entirely of letters written to and from McDonald Sr. and significant Nevada political figures; and McDonald's Speidel Newspapers, Inc., supervisors. Included is correspondence with Walter Baring, Berkeley L. Bunker, Harry S. Bunker, Edward P. Carville, Patrick McCarran, George W. Malone, Key Pittman, and James Scrugham. Most contain frank exchanges of opinions on issues of importance to Nevada, and in some cases, on selection of future political candidates. The letters between McDonald and Harry S. Bunker, Treasurer of Speidel Newspapers, Inc. discuss the business of running the Nevada State Journal and new avenues which Joe wished to pursue to increase circulation and advertising.
The Patrick McCarran letters are of particular note. McCarran and McDonald became good friends when the former was a defense attorney and the latter was a newspaper reporter. According to his oral history, McDonald never had a problem in gaining access to McCarran as U.S. Senator, either directly or through McCarran's office assistant, Eva Adams. McDonald didn't always agree with McCarran and didn't hesitate to give his frank opinion. McDonald states in his oral history that he thought McCarran was very competent and a good senator. The McCarran/McDonald letters in this collection bear out those statements. They provide evidence of just how closely the two worked together but also show that McDonald was not a McCarran "yes man."
This collection is arranged alphabetically by the name of the correspondent and chronologically within each author's files. In addition to letters there are occasionally newspaper clippings and election ephemeral. The McCarran series contains correspondence, photos, programs, and financial documentation for the creation and installation of a statue of Pat McCarran in the rotunda of the United States Capitol building.
A few photographs of Senator Pat McCarran, Yolanda Jacobson Sheppard, the McCarran statue in the U.S. Capitol, and statue dedication ceremonies were part of the McCarran series; they have been transferred to the photographic archives of the Special Collections Department.
Processed by: Susan Searcy
and Rebecca Richards
Date: April 24, 1998
The correspondence of Joseph F. McDonald, Sr. is arranged into the following series:
- Walter Baring
- Berkeley L. Bunker
- Harry S. Bunker
- Edward P. Carville
- Patrick McCarran
- George W. Malone
- Tasker Oddie
- Key Pittman
- James G. Scrugham
- Miscellaneous Clippings
98-05/I Series I. Representative Walter Baring. 1910; 1949-1956. 1 folder.
Democrat Walter S. Baring served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1957-1975. This folder contains letters (all from 1949), a Jackson Day Banquet Program/Menu, 1919; flyer "From the Governor Nevada," 1954; and a section of the New York Times, "A Century of Presidential Elections, 1956.
|I/1||Baring correspondence. 1910-19|
98-05/II Series II. Senator Berkeley L. Bunker. 1941-1946. 2 folders.
Democrat Bunker, from Las Vegas, was elected to the Nevada State Assembly from 1937-1940 and served as speaker of the 1939 session. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1945-1947 and was appointed to fill the unexpired term of U.S. Senator Key Pittman from November, 1940 to Dec. 1942.
This series includes a few letters from Bunker to McDonald regarding his selection as U.S. Senator, 1940, and candidacy for election to the House of Representatives, 1946. Also included are newspaper articles about Key Pittman's death and Bunker's appointment as Senator; and a few speeches, clippings, and campaign brochures.
|II/1||B. Bunker correspondence, 1940-1946.|
98-05/III Series III. Harry S. Bunker. 1939-1945. 4 folders.
Harry Bunker was treasurer of Speidel Newspapers, Inc. at the time McDonald became editor of The Nevada State Journal. Letters between Bunker and McDonald discuss the business operations of the Journal, expenses and income, sale and acquisition of presses, remodeling of the Reno plant, and compliments to Joe for new features and the increasing success of the paper. Also included are a few letters from Merritt C. Speidel, president of Speidel Newspapers, Inc.
|III/1||Correspondence. 1939-May 1940.|
|III/2||Correspondence. June-Dec. 1940.|
98-95/IV Series IV. Senator Edward P. Carville. ; 1944-1946. 2 folders.
Carville, a Democrat, served as governor of Nevada from 1939-1945. He resigned in July, 1945 and was appointed to serve the unexpired term of deceased U.S. Senator, James Scrugham. Carville was a senator from July 24, 1945-Jan. 3, 1947.
Included are speeches, press releases, and correspondence from Carville or his secretary to McDonald. One letter of note marked personal and hand-written by Carville discusses his feelings about McCarran's efforts to unseat Carville and elect Berkeley Bunker as senator. In this March 15, 1946 letter, Carville notes "I appreciate I have done nothing great while I've been here [in the U.S. Senate] and from that angle do not rate a great deal of publicity but there is enough glory for all of us and I would just like to get my share. I don't get it from the papers here because my efforts have been for Nevada and while it is the best state in the union people here don't believe it."
|IV/1||Correspondence. ; 1944-1945.|
|IV/2||Correspondence, speeches, clippings. 1946.|
98-05/V Series V. Senator Patrick McCarran. 1937-1960. 8 folders.
Democrat Patrick McCarran served as the U.S. Senator from Nevada from 1933 until his death in 1954. McCarran and McDonald were old friends from the period when the former was a defense attorney and McDonald was still a reporter. Neither one hesitated to provide their frank opinion on actions of the other.
This series includes letters from McCarran and his office administrator, Eva Adams; carbon copies of letters from McDonald to McCarran; clippings; press releases; and speeches. Also included is a folder of correspondence, photographs, clippings, programs, and financial statements related to the creation of a statue of McCarran for the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol by Yolanda Jacobson Sheppard. All photographs have been transferred to the photo archives of the Special Collections Department.
|V/1||Correspondence. 1937; 1939-1941.|
|V/5||Correspondence. 1950-1952; 1954; n.d.|
|V/6||McCarran Senate bills, rules and regulations, misc. 1941; 1943; 1956; n.d.|
|V/7||Clippings. 1940-1950; 1952; n.d.|
|V/8||McCarran statue correspondence, clippings, programs, financial. 1954-1960.|
98-05/VI Series VI. Senator George W. Malone. 1944-1951. 3 folders.
Malone was a Nevada State engineer, a member of the Colorado River Commission, and managing director of the Industrial West. A Republican, he served in the U.S. Senate from 19471959.
Included are letters, press releases, clippings, and copies of the Senator's speeches and position papers.
|VI/3||Clippings and position papers.|
98-05/VII Series VII. Senator Tasker Oddie. n.d. 1 item.
Republican U.S. Senator Tasker Oddie served in the Senate from 1921-1933. There is a single item in this series - an undated Christmas card featuring the U.S. Capitol.
98-05/VIII Series VIII. Senator Key Pittman. 1939-1940. 2 folders.
Democrat Pittman served in the U.S. Senate from 1913-1940. He was elected to serve one additional term but died between the election and taking office.
This series contains correspondence, clippings, and selected items from the Congressional Record.
|VIII/2||Clippings, Congressional Record excerpts. 1939-1940.|
98-05/IX Series IX. Representative James G. Scrugham. 1940-1948. 3 folders.
Democrat Scrugham was an engineer and taught at the University of Nevada, Reno; was Nevada State Engineer and later governor; served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1933-1942; and was the U.S. Senator from Nevada from 1942 until his death in 1945.
Included in this series are letters, copies of portions of the Congressional Record, transcripts of hearings, and memorial addresses delivered in Congress upon Scrugham's death.
|IX/1||Correspondence. 1949-1943; 1945.|
|IX/2||Congressional Record, bills, hearings. 1941-1943.|
|IX/3||"Memorial Addresses Delivered in Congress." 1948.|
98-05/X Series X. Miscellaneous Clippings. ca 1914-1943. 1 folder.
This small series contains miscellaneous clippings of political materials.