RECORD GROUP 15, NELSON A. ROCKEFELLER, GUBERNATORIAL, SERIES 22, NEW YORK OFFICE, 1959 - 1965
Scope and Content Note
This series contains the office files of Carl Spad, Michael Scelsi, Roswell B. Perkins, Graham T. Molitor, Jerry Danzig, George Hinman, Ilene Slater, and Alexander Halpern. It documents the official activities of these individuals in the execution of their duties as members of Nelson A. Rockefeller's gubernatorial and/or political campaign staffs. This series primarily documents Rockefeller's travel and public appearances during his first two terms as governor; portions of his 1962 gubernatorial reelection campaign; and portions of his campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination in 1960 and 1964. (Biographical sketches of most of these staff members are included at the end of this Scope and Content Note.)
Prior to his election as Governor of New York State in November 1958, Nelson A. Rockefeller maintained an office at Rockefeller Center in New York City. In order to separate his work as Governor from his private activities, Governor Rockefeller established an office in New York City at 22 West 55th Street. This became known as the New York Office to distinguish it from the Governor's office in the state capitol building in Albany. Governor Rockefeller was the first New York Governor to maintain a permanent office in New York City. In general, Governor Rockefeller was in Albany only when the Legislature was in session or for a special occasion. The management of his public duties was largely undertaken from the New York Office.
The New York Office Series is divided into the following five sub-series:
Subseries 1, Appointments Office, 1959-1965, 9 cu. ft. The Appointments Office maintained the Governor's schedule in this period. The Appointments Officer and his staff reviewed invitations to the Governor to speak or to attend events, and arranged the Governor's travel itineraries. They made arrangements for travel and accommodations and made sure that proper protocol was followed. This material also documents Rockefeller's extensive campaign trips in 1960, 1962 and 1964. The files are arranged chronologically and date from November 1959 to December 1965. They contain correspondence; internal memoranda; the staff's handwritten notes regarding itineraries and scheduling problems; published itineraries for the benefit of the press; background information on the host organization for the benefit of Governor Rockefeller; transcripts of Governor Rockefeller's speeches and press conferences; programs from some events; lists of people to thank for assistance with some trips; and newspaper clippings. Some memoranda and letters contain Governor Rockefeller's handwritten comments. Correspondence regarding events Governor Rockefeller did not attend are filed as "Regrets."
The first Appointments Officer was Carl Spad. He left in 1964 to head the New York State Republican Committee and was replaced by Michael Scelsi. The Appointments Secretaries were Margaret Fowler and Margaret Vilar. The cancellation of Governor Rockefeller's scheduled appearances in late November and early December of 1961 reflect his sudden trip to New Guinea to aid in the search for his son, Michael, who had disappeared there.
Subseries 2, Campaign for the 1964 Republican Presidential Nomination, March 1963 - June 1964, 1.5 cu. ft. This subseries contains memoranda between Roswell B. Perkins and Graham T. Molitor. Mr. Perkins, a lawyer and a partner in the law firm of Debevoise, Plimpton had served as Governor Rockefeller's first Counsel to the Governor in 1959. In Governor Rockefeller's 1964 presidential campaign, he was responsible for monitoring statements made by other candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination. Mr. Molitor was a lawyer and legislative researcher who was hired as Director of Candidate Research for the Rockefeller campaign. The subseries is arranged chronologically with a separate file for each statement made by a candidate or a statement made about a candidate by the media. Most of the files contain Mr. Perkins' and Mr. Molitor's analysis and comments of the statement. Most of the files are on Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. Other individuals represented include former vice-president Richard Nixon, Governor George Romney of Michigan, and Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania. Also included in this subseries are scripts for television advertisements endorsing Governor Rockefeller and some reports from "Radio/TV Reports, Inc." which summarizes local electronic media coverage of Governor Rockefeller and the campaign.
Subseries 3, Special Assistant to the Governor for Radio and Television, 1961-1965, 3 cu. ft. These are files of Jerry Danzig, a former television executive who served as Special Assistant to the Governor for Radio and Television. Most of the information in this subseries concerns the 1964 presidential campaign. The remainder concerns the 1962 gubernatorial campaign. The subseries consists of Mr. Danzig's internal memoranda and correspondence regarding Governor Rockefeller's radio and television appearances; bills and invoices for the production, distribution and broadcasting of television promotions; budgets and expense accounts for the 1962 Gubernatorial campaign; files on campaign trips; and campaign literature. There are also scripts and transcripts of short promotional films on Governor Rockefeller. However, it is, unclear which, if any, of these films were ever broadcast. At least one appears never to have been used; the script for a French language television commercial produced for New Hampshire bear the words "not used" in Governor Rockefeller's handwriting. There are also some reports from "Radio/TV Reports, Inc." The subseries is arranged alphabetically by subject.
Subseries 4, George Hinman and Ilene Slater Files, 1959-1962, 6 cu. ft. George Hinman and Ilene Slater were executive assistants to Governor Rockefeller. In 1959, they were assigned the responsibility of exploring Governor Rockefeller's chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 1960. The subseries is broken into two parts: State Files and Subject Files. The files are arranged alphabetically and, for the most part covers the period from late 1959 to early 1960. Some items are dated as late as 1962.
The State Files include such information as the names of each state's government officials; a list of delegates to the 1956 Republican Convention; correspondence with supporters of Governor Rockefeller; invitations to speak to groups of supporters; schedules for trips; thank you letters; and clippings. There are also files for the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Within the Subject Files is correspondence with supporters and groups seeking to draft Governor Rockefeller; memoranda; and notices and reports regarding different phases of the 1960 campaign. At the end of this section are several files dealing specifically with the 1960 Republican Convention. (In his capacity as a Republican National Committeeman, Hinman was involved in the process of choosing delegates to the nominating conventions.) Within these files is one entitled "Convention Speeches" containing Governor Rockefeller's handwritten copy of his speech nominating Richard Nixon as the Republican presidential candidate.
Also included in this subseries is George Hinman's "Talent File." This consists of approximately 300 blue 3" x 5" index cards. On each card is the name and address of an individual and a brief description of that person's talents, experience, contacts, and sometimes another person's opinion of that individual. Many of the cards are dated indicating that this file was created in 1962 and 1963. An undated note at the beginning of the file reads, "Not useful at present - return to Ilene [Slater]." The Talent File is in Box 21 at the end of the series.
Subseries 5, Rockefeller for President Citizens Information Center, 1958-1960, 1.5 cu ft. These are the files of Alexander Halpern, chairman of the Rockefeller for President Citizens Information Center, a private group that sought to promote Governor Rockefeller candidacy for president in 1960. The CIC, as it was called, acted as a distribution center for information about Governor Rockefeller. It was established in response to requests for information about Rockefeller from independent groups around the country which were seeking the Republican nomination for him. The CIC was conceived in the summer of 1959 by a group of Governor Rockefeller's friends and supporters. This group included R. Burdell Bixby, George L. Hinman, L. Judson Morehouse, Roswell B. Perkins, Oren Root, Oscar M. Ruebhausen, and Mr. Halpern. It was formally organized in September 1959, and an office was opened in the Belmont Plaza Hotel on Lexington Avenue, New York, in October. The CIC ceased operation on December 28, 1959, two days after Governor Rockefeller announced that he would not seek the nomination. At that time Halpern requested that other Rockefeller for President Committees throughout the country also cease activities. Nevertheless, throughout most of 1960 letters continued to arrive from individuals urging Governor Rockefeller to run for president.
The subseries is divided into three portions: General Files, State Files, and Card Files. The General Files contain office memoranda; correspondence; and lists of volunteers and of "Rockefeller for President" organizations. The State Files consist of correspondence with individuals from various states. Both files are arranged alphabetically. The Card Files consist of approximately 800 4" x 6" blue and white index cards arranged by state. The cards contain addresses of political organizations, citizens groups, campaign volunteers, and abstracts of polls taken by independent organizations. The cards can also be used to locate correspondence with individuals filed in the State Files of this subseries.
JERRY DANZIG was born in New York City in 1913. He graduated from the Horace Mann School for Boys in New York and earned a B. A. degree from Dartmouth in 1934. He served in a variety of management and executive positions for broadcasting companies in New York City, including radio stations WOR and WINS and television stations CBS and NBC. In 1961 he served as a television and radio consultant to the New York Republican City Committee and in 1962 became Special Assistant to the Governor for Radio and Television, a position he held until 1976. In this position Danzig's responsibilities included the production and distribution of radio and television commercials for Gov. Rockefeller's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns. In 1973 Gov. Rockefeller appointed Danzig as a member of the New York State Commission on Cable TV, on which he served until 1981. Danzig was a partner in Chester Burger & Co., a management consulting firm, from 1976 until 1985, when he became a consultant to the National Executive Service Corps.
GEORGE L. HINMAN was born in Binghamton, New York in 1905. A graduate of Princeton University, he also earned a bachelor of laws degree from Harvard University. He held directorships in many companies, including International Business Machines and New York Telephone, and also was a member of the executive committee of the Salvation Army New York State Advisory Conference. Hinman was at one time senior partner of the law firm of Hinman, Howard & Kattell of Binghamton, a firm he was associated with since 1930. In his capacity as an attorney, he was special counsel to the Rockefeller Family & Associates. He also was a member of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York (1948-1950). After serving with the Governor, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York in 1965. He also served as trustee of both Colgate University and Elmira College. In addition to his position of executive assistant to the Governor (1958-1959), Hinman's state service included service as Counsel for the New York State Temporary Commission on the Constitutional Convention and the Special Legislative Committee on the Revision and Simplification of the Constitution (1956-1958); a member of the New York State Attorney General's Committee on Ethical Standards in Government (1955-1959); and a member of the New York State Lt. Governor's Committee on Teachers' Salaries in 1951. Hinman also was Republican National Committeeman for New York State, as well as Delegate-at-large for the Republican National Conventions in both 1960 and 1964.
GRAHAM THOMAS TATE MOLITOR, born in Seattle in 1934, earned a B.A. degree from the University of Washington in 1955 and an LL.B. degree from the American University in 1963. Admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia in 1963, he worked as a court bailiff in the District of Columbia and as a legislative counsel in the House of Representatives, then was hired as Director of Candidate Research of the Rockefeller for President Committee in 1963. He was responsible for monitoring and analyzing statements made by other candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. He served until Gov. Rockefeller withdrew his candidacy in 1964, and then served in the same capacity again in Gov. Rockefeller's 1968 presidential campaign. From 1963 to 1977 he worked as a lobbyist for the food industry. In 1977 he established Public Policy Forecasting, Inc., and has written, lectured, consulted and participated in numerous public policy conferences all regarding future trends in food, technology and related public policy issues.
ROSWELL B. "ROD" PERKINS was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1926. He received an A.B. degree in 1945 and LL.B. in 1949, both from Harvard University. Admitted to the bar in Massachusetts and New York in 1949, he spent his entire law career with the New York law firm of Debevoise, Plimpton, becoming a partner in 1957. He met Nelson Rockefeller when the two men worked for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, where Perkins served as Assistant Secretary (1954-1956). Perkins worked on Rockefeller's 1958 gubernatorial campaign and some of his later campaigns. After the election in 1958 he assisted in establishing the new Rockefeller administration and served as Rockefeller's first Counsel to the Governor. As agreed to before hand, Perkins resigned as Counsel on June 1, 1959, and returned to private practice.
MICHAEL N. SCELSI graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in government in 1941. As a United States Marine during World War II, he was stationed in the Pacific. From 1946 to 1948, he worked with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and its successor agency, the International Refugee Organization. He was also very active in community and civic affairs in his native Broome County (NY). Prior to joining the Governor's staff, Scelsi worked in college administration, primarily at Harpur College of the State University of New York at Binghamton, then serves as Assistant Industrial Commissioner in the New York State Department of Labor. From 1959 to 1965 he served as executive director of the New York Republican State Committee. On February 1, 1967, after serving as Appointments Officer for two years, Governor Rockefeller appointed Scelsi to the New York State Civil Service Commission.
ILENE J. SLATER was graduated from Hunter High School in New York City, and received a B.A. degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1947. She also attended the Graduate Institute of International Relations (1947-1948), located at the University of Geneva, in Geneva, Switzerland. She went on to work for the National Bureau of Economic Research (1948-1949), the English Speaking Union (1949-1950), the International Development Advisory Board (1951), the White House administrative staff (1953-1957), and the U.S. Commission for the Brussels Fair (1957-1958). In February of 1958, Ms. Slater became an assistant in the Offices of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and went on to join the Governor's personal staff in July 1958.
CARL SPAD was born in 1904, in Brooklyn, New York, and was educated in New York and Westchester county public schools. He maintained a manufacturer's representative office in New York City (1941-1947), served as a sales manager for a fuel oil concern (1947-1952), and was president of the New York State Association of Young Republican Clubs and Youth Director for the Republican State Committee (1952-1954). He also served as an executive assistant to the New York State Building Code Commission (1954-1956) and as assistant to New York State Republican Chairman, L. Judson Morhouse (1956-1959). Spad served as Gov. Rockefeller's Appointments Officer from 1959 until 1965, when he resigned.
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