Baucus papers open for research at UM’s Mansfield Library

Portions of the official archives of Ambassador Max Sieben Baucus are now open for research at the University of Montana’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library.

Baucus’ archives, officially called the Max S. Baucus Papers, serve as evidence of a career spent in public service, and provide a window into the day-to-day life and work of a member of Congress.

Baucus was Montana’s longest serving senator, holding the office from 1978 to 2014. He also served one term in the Montana House of Representatives (1973-74), two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1975-78) and nearly three years as the U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China (2014-17).

During his time in politics, Baucus was instrumental in various local and national environmental initiatives and worked extensively on transportation, trade and economic issues.

Notable achievements include the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century of 1998, the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act of 2013, securing federal recognition and support for the asbestos crisis in Libby and facilitating the Montana Economic Development Summit from 2000 to 2013. He chaired the Senate Finance Committee from 2007 to 2014.

UM’s Political Papers Archivist Natalie Bond, who organized the archives, said the Baucus Papers “are a rich and complex collection of materials that provide deep insights into the changing political and cultural nature of American society.”

As part of her work to make the collection available for research, Bond created a guide to the Max S. Baucus Papers. That guide is available online by following this link. A selection of Baucus’ speeches and photographs is also available by following this link.

“Congressional collections are an important component of transparency between the government and the people,” said Barry Brown, interim dean of libraries at UM. “The Baucus Papers provide valuable documentation of issues of interest to Montanans and the nation. We are grateful to Ambassador Baucus for placing his archives at the University of Montana.”

Donna McCrea, head of Archives and Special Collections at UM, noted that these newly available materials are a significant addition to more than a century of Montana congressional history held in UM’s archives.

The materials that have been opened for research cover the entirety of Baucus’ political career and include speeches, photographs, press releases, floor statements and sponsored and co-sponsored bills. Speeches serve as a direct link between Baucus’ legislative work and the public, reflecting his communication style and connection to his constituents.

Press materials highlight topical areas of concern for Montana residents. Similarly, floor statements and sponsored and co-sponsored bills shed light on the development of policy and legislation at a national level, while photographs serve as a visual representation of a career spent in public service. Materials which are not yet open for research include constituent correspondence.

In addition to depositing his archives with UM, Ambassador Baucus also established the Max S. Baucus Institute in UM’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law. The institute continues the tradition of public service embodied by Baucus’ career through the Baucus Leaders Program, Summer Study Abroad Program in China, a public lecture series and other programming.

The Max S. Baucus Papers are available to the public at Archives and Special Collections in UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library. An exhibit featuring photographs and other content from the collection is on display at the Mansfield Library through June 18.