ERVIN, Samuel James, Jr.

1896–1985

Biography

ERVIN, Samuel James, Jr., (brother of Joseph Wilson Ervin), a Representative and a Senator from North Carolina; born in Morganton, Burke County, N.C., September 27, 1896; attended the public schools; graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1917 and from the law school of Harvard University in 1922; during the First World War served in France with the First Division 1917-1919; admitted to the bar in 1919 and commenced practice in Morganton, N.C., in 1922; member, North Carolina general assembly 1923, 1925, 1931; judge of the Burke County criminal court 1935-1937; judge of the North Carolina superior court 1937-1943; elected on January 22, 1946, as a Democrat to the Seventy-ninth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of his brother, Joseph W. Ervin, and served from January 22, 1946, to January 3, 1947; was not a candidate for renomination in 1946; resumed the practice of law; associate justice of the North Carolina supreme court 1948-1954; appointed on June 5, 1954, and subsequently elected on November 2, 1954, as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Clyde R. Hoey for the term ending January 3, 1957; reelected in 1956, 1962, and again in 1968 and served from June 5, 1954, until his resignation December 31,1974; was not a candidate for reelection in 1974; chairman, Committee on Government Operations (Ninety-second and Ninety-third Congresses), Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (Ninety-third Congress); resumed the practice of law and engaged in literary pursuits in Morganton, N.C.; died in Winston-Salem, N.C., on April 23, 1985; interment in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Morganton, N.C.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Broadcast Pioneers Library
University of Maryland Hornbake Library

College Park, MD
Papers: 57 audiotapes (1968-1974) in Westinghouse Broadcasting Company collection, 1945-1981.

Cornell University Libraries
Rare Books and Manuscript Collections

Ithaca, NY
Papers: Correspondence in Curtis Putnam Nettels papers, 1917-1981.

East Carolina University
Joyner Library

Greenville, NC
Papers: Correspondence in John Albert Lang papers, 1932-1974. Finding aid.

Gerald R. Ford Library

Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: 1974-1977. Correspondence and briefing papers. Finding aid.

Harvard University
Law School Library

Cambridge, MA
Papers: In Arthur E. Sutherland papers, 1923-1972 (bulk 1950-1972); and William Hastie papers, 1916-1976 (bulk 1937-1976).

Howard University
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center Ralph J. Bunche Oral History Collection

Washington, DC
Oral History: 1971. 37 pages. Topics include busing, Harrold Carswell, civil rights, Clement Haynesworth. Part of Civil Rights Documentation project.

Mississippi State University
Mitchell Memorial Library

Mississippi State, MS
Oral History: June 9, 1976. 37 pages. In John C. Stennis collection. Characterizes Stennis as senator, discusses the Watkins committee, McCarthy censure, civil rights legislation, the "Senate Club," Watergate, Vietnam, and the seniority system.

New Jersey Historical Society

Newark, NJ
Papers: Correspondence in Robert Erskine papers, 1956-1982.

North Carolina Division of Archives and History

Raleigh, NC
Papers: Correspondence and speeches in various collections.

St. John's University

Jamaica, NY
Papers: Correspondence in James Lane Buckley senatorial personal correspondence, 1973-1975.

State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Archives Division

Madison, WI
Papers: In William W. Finlator papers, 1935-1992; and Howard K. Smith papers, 1941-1963.

University of Georgia
Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

Athens, GA
Oral History: 1971. 19 pages. Limited to reminiscences of Russell.
Oral History: Discussed in Jack Spain, Ervin's administrative assistant, interview. 14 pages.

University of North Carolina
Southern Historical Collection

Chapel Hill, NC
Papers: 1917-1987. 568 feet. Correspondence, speeches, hearing materials, photographs and portrait, and legislative, subject, and personal files documenting his senatorial career. Includes correspondence, reports, memoranda, minutes of meetings, transcripts of testimony, briefs, drafts of legislation, and clippings. Topics include investigation of Richard M. Nixon, civil rights, foreign affairs, Vietnam War, government reform, political appointments, Equal Rights Amendment, Democratic party, North Carolina prisons and prisoners, and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Also 10 reels of film and audio tape, 559 audio discs, and 83 videotapes and films.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Atkins Library

Charlotte, NC
Oral History: April 1971. 26 pages. Primarily a discussion of Ervin's ideas on the Constitution, especially as it relates to civil liberties.

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
Papers: Correspondence in three collections.

Western Piedmont Community College
Senator Sam J. Ervin Library and Museum

Morganton, NC
Papers: Ca. 12,000 items. Personal and political memorabilia, selected personal and political correspondence, and the senator's private library. Indexing and cataloging underway.

Winthrop College Library

Rockhill, SC
Papers: Correspondence in Marion Allan Wright papers, 1924 1976. Finding aid.
Research Libraries Information Network In addition to the institutions listed above, items are also cataloged in collections at: State University of New York, Buffalo, NY; University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, IA; University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor, MI; University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and University of Virginia, Alderman Library, Charlottesville, VA.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Altman, Herb, ed. Quotations from Chairman Sam: The Wit and Wisdom of Senator Sam Ervin. New York: Harper Row, 1973.

Campbell, Karl E. "Claghorn's Hammurabi: Senator Sam Ervin and Civil Rights." North Carolina Historical Review 78 (October 2001): 431-56.

___. "Preserving the Constitution, Guarding the Status Quo: Senator Sam Ervin and Civil Liberties." North Carolina Historical Review 78 (October 2001): 457-82.

___. "Senator Sam Ervin and School Prayer: Faith, Politics, and the Constitution." Journal of Church and State 45:3 (2003): 443-456.

___. Senator Sam Ervin, Last of the Founding Fathers. Chapell Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

Clancy, Paul R. Just a Country Lawyer: A Biography of Senator Sam Ervin. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1974.

Dabney, Dick. A Good Man: The Life of Sam J. Ervin. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1976.

Ervin, Sam J., Jr. "The Case against Reform: A Nobler Purpose than Political Efficiency." In The Senate Institution, edited by Nathaniel S. Preston, pp. 192-202. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1969.

___. "Controlling 'Executive Privilege'." Loyola Law Review 20 (1973-1974): 11-31.

___. "The Gravel and Brewster Cases: An Assault on Congressional Independence." Virginia Law Review 59 (February 1973): 175-95.

___. Humor of a Country Lawyer. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983.

___. Preserving the Constitution: The Autobiography of Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr. Charlottesville: Michie Co., 1984.

___. "In Pursuit of a Press Privilege." Harvard Journal on Legislation 11 (February 1974): 233-78.

___. "The Role of the Lawyer in America." New England Law Review 11 (Fall 1975): 1-6.

___. The Whole Truth: The Watergate Conspiracy. New York: Random House, 1980.

___, and Ramsey Clark. Role of the Supreme Court: Policymaker or Adjudicator? American Enterprise Institute Rational Debate Seminars. Washington: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1970.

Stem, Thad, Jr., and Alan Butler. Senator Sam Ervin's Best Stories. Durham, NC: Moore Publishing Co., 1973.

VanSickle, Clifford Kenneth. "The Oral Communications of Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr. in the Watergate Hearings: A Study in Consistency." Ph.D. dissertation, Michigan State University, 1976.

Wise, Bill M., comp. The Wisdom of Sam Ervin. New York: Ballantine Books, 1973.

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