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Alton A. Lennon Congressional Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SC-MS-031

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers of Congressman Alton Lennon during his tenure as U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 7th congressional district from 1957-1972. Included in the collection is correspondence, reports, and other documents related to legislation, district affairs, and politics during the time. Also included are three large scrapbooks documenting news coverage from Congressman Lennon's career and campaigns.

Dates

  • 1953-1973

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical Note

Alton Asa Lennon was born in Wilmington on August 17, 1906 to Rosser Lennon and Minnie Lennon. Lennon attended New Hanover High School and was president of his high school class and student body. He attended Wake Forest College in 1925 with a pre-law focus. During college, Lennon was captain of the freshman football team and president of the freshman class. Lennon received his LL.B. degree in 1929 and started a law firm in Wilmington.

In 1934, Lennon entered politics and ran for the office of judge of the New Hanover County Recorder’s Court. He was victorious in the election and was reelected for another term in 1938. He served as judge from 1934 to 1942 and later from 1947 t0 1951, in the North Carolina Senate. On July 10, 1953, Lennon was appointed by N.C. Governor William B. Umstead to take the void United States Senate seat of Willis Smith who had died. Lennon served from July 15, 1953 to November 28, 1954. Despite efforts to continue, Lennon lost the senate primary of 1954 to Kerr Scott.

In 1956, Lennon ran for U.S. House of Representatives for North Carolina's 7th district and faced little opposition. He served as a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he was chairman of the Special Sub-committee on Enlisted Promotion Policy Review. As a representative, Lennon supported the Vietnam War and pushed for attacking North Vietnamese ports and the Justice Department’s prosecution of Stokely Carmichael, who vehemently opposed the draft. While serving in Congress, Lennon joined Merchant Marines and Fisheries Committee, serving as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceanography. Lennon advocated for the protection of North Carolina’s coastal resources and money for rebuilding ports. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives until 1973.

Lennon did not seek reelection in 1972 and returned to Wilmington to practice law. Despite being a Democrat, Lennon helped with Republican Senator Jesse A. Helm’s re-election campaign in 1978.

Lennon died on December 28, 1986 at Cape Fear Memorial Hospital and is buried in Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery.

Extent

316 boxes (Contains 312 document boxes and 4 oversize boxes)

Language

English

Arrangement

Original order of collection maintained during processing.

This collection is arranged in 10 series:

Series 1: Legislation

Series 2: Bills and Records Statements

Series 3: Congressional Department Files

Series 4: Congressional Subject Files

Series 5: Armed Services Committee Files

Series 6: Veterans Files

Series 7: Public Works Files

Series 8: Post Office Records

Series 9: Political Files

Series 10: Scrapbooks

Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Congressman Alton Lennon in November 1972.

Digital Access

Portions of this collection have been digitized and/or are born-digital. For access to these digital materials, please browse the finding aid via the "Collection Organization" tab and select an individual file or item to see if it contains a linked digital record.

Processing Information

This collection was processed with the assistance of Meagan Bellamy, David Deweese, Emily Dye, Lauren Fulcher, Christian Lee, Nuri Logan, and Farris Smith.
Title
Alton A. Lennon Congressional Papers
Status
Partially Processed
Author
Rebecca Baugnon
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository

Contact:

910-962-7462