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The Hansen Collection

Identifier: MS-015


Richard H. Hansen was born in Omaha, Nebraska, July 2, 1929. While attending the third grade at Holy Name School he became interested in American history and government. This interest is attributed to his teacher, Sister Mary Eugenia of the Order of Servants of Mary.

Reading American history and biographies became his mode of relaxation. Particularly interesting was the subject of the presidency and he continued to read extensively in that area.

His pre-law studies were begun at the University of Nebraska in 1949, majoring in political science and American history. Entering the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1952, he received his B. S. in law in 1953 and LL. B. in 1956.

From 1953 to 1955 Mr. Hansen was secretary of the Nebraska Young Democrats. In 1954 he was a finalist in the Moot Court competition at the university.

That same year the Nebraska Law Review published an article which Mr. Hansen wrote in conjunction with Professor James A. Lake, and which, in its original form, was part of the brief in the famous segregation case Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas et. al. This case was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1953.

The study on presidential primaries was begun in 1952. Mr. Hansen campaigned throughout southeastern Nebraska with his friend, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, who was an aspirant to the Democratic presidential nomination in that year. Senator Kefauver won sixteen primaries but lost the nomination. In that same year President Harry S. Truman made the comment, after being defeated by Senator Kefauver in the New Hampshire primary, that “primaries are eyewash”. The question arose as to the real value of presidential primaries and the study of this question continued through 1959, culminating in articles in the Nebraska Law Review on state primaries and the articles on national primaries which were published by Law and Contemporary Problems of Duke University.

As a result of his studies, Mr. Hansen testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments in June of 1961. He was delighted to learn that materials which he had furnished Mr. Theodore C. Sorensen, Special Counsel to the President, were presented by the Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Nicholas Katzenbach, and endorsed by the President and the administration. Mr. Katzenbach’s remarks are reproduced in the records of the hearings and contain references to Mr. Hansen’s work.

During the course of preparation of these articles, Mr. Hansen corresponded with politicians, political scientists and historians at all levels of government and national life. These letters comprise the forest installment of The Hansen Collection.

These letters are furnished to students and faculty alike in the hope that they will be a stimulus to further research, not only in the field of presidential primaries, but in the general area of the presidency.


  • 1960 - 1964


8 Volumes (8 books)

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Repository Details

Part of the Creighton University Libraries, Archives & Special Collections Repository

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