Robert P. Casey Papers, 1943-2000

1467

Collection Overview

Title:
Robert P. Casey papers
Dates (Inclusive):
1943-2000
Dates (Inclusive):
1986-1994
Creator:
Casey, Robert P. (Robert Patrick), 1932-2000
Abstract:
Robert Patrick Casey, Sr. (1932-2000) served as 42nd Governor of Pennsylvania from January 1987 to January 1995, previously having served as Pennsylvania State Senator (1963-1968) and Auditor General (1969-1977). The Robert P. Casey papers document Governor Casey's administration through issue papers, daily schedules, budget proposals, speeches, newspaper clippings, press releases, artifacts, and audio-visual materials.
Collection Number:
1467
Size:
84.6 Cubic feet
Location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the  library catalog.
Repository:
Special Collections Library. Pennsylvania State University.
Languages:
English

Biographical Note

Robert Patrick Casey (1932-2000) was born on January 9, 1932, to Alphonsus L. and Marie Cummings Casey. He grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the anthracite coal regions where his great-grandfather Edward Casey settled after emigrating from Ireland in 1851 during the "great-hunger," time of famine. In his youth, Casey's father Alphonsus worked as a laborer and coal miner but finished high school and later earned a law degree at Fordham University, New York City. Shortly after Casey's birth in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City, Alphonsus Casey returned with his family to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he practiced law, defending the rights of miners and other workers. In his autobiography,  Fighting for Life, Robert Casey testifies to the respect his father left him for the struggles of working people (p. 26).

Casey attended Scranton Preparatory School, a Jesuit college preparatory school, graduating in 1949, valedictorian and president of his class. He turned down a tryout with the Philadelphia Phillies to attend The College of Holy Cross, Worchester, Massachusetts, on a basketball scholarship. In 1953 he graduated cum laude, with a B.A. in English. The same year he married his high school sweetheart, Ellen Theresa Harding. The couple then moved to Washington, D.C., where Casey studied law at George Washington University Law School. After earning his J. D. in 1956, he joined the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. In 1958 he returned to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he opened his own law practice.

In 1962 at age 30 Casey was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate as the representative from Lackawanna County and served from 1963 to 1968. In 1967, he was elected delegate to the convention assembled to rewrite portions of the state constitution, and in 1968 he served as the convention's vice president. In the same year 1968, Casey was elected State Auditor General and then re-elected in 1972, serving from 1969 to 1977. During his two terms, Casey earned a reputation for honesty and integrity. While in office, he reformed the Department of the Auditor General by hiring certified public accountants, monitoring school district expenditures, investigating fraud, and eliminating forced political contributions from state employees.

Before becoming Governor of Pennsylvania on January 20, 1987, Casey made three unsuccessful bids for the governorship. In 1966 and 1970 Casey sought the governorship but both times lost in the primaries to the television multimillionaire Milton Jerrold Shapp. In 1978, Casey ran for a third time, but after another candidate named Robert Casey entered the race, Casey lost in the primaries to Pittsburgh mayor, Peter Flaherty. Casey then returned to law practice managing the Scranton office of the Philadelphia law firm of Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish & Kauffman.

In 1986, Casey's fourth bid for the governorship was successful. With a campaign managed by James Carville and Paul Begala, Casey defeated the Philadelphia district attorney Edward Rendell in the primaries. In the general election, called the coal town contest, he narrowly won over his Republican opponent William Scranton III, also from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Casey's victory was partially attributed to the effect of controversial campaign ads depicting Scranton, who had practiced transcendental mediation, as a guru. In his campaign for re-election in 1990, Casey won by a landslide over Auditor General Barbara Hafer.

Casey became governor during a climate of economic transition. During the 1980s and 1990s Pennsylvania was moving from an industrial to service-based economy. However, before jobs in healthcare, retailing, and technology would emerge, closings of coal mines, textile factories, and other manufacturing industries led to large-scale unemployment. In addition, the state endured a large budget deficit and a national recession in the early 1990s.

In response to this climate Casey's governorship was characterized by lack of financial scandal, by minority appointments, and by notable accomplishments in areas of employment, infra-structure, the environment, education, and social programs. To jump-start the economy, Casey reduced business taxes, invested $3 million dollars to create new jobs, reformed the state liquor control system, and controlled costs of auto and workers' compensation insurance. To strengthen the state infrastructure his administration completed the interstate highway system and improved public water and sewer systems in rural communities through PENNVEST, a state grant and loan program. To empower education, Casey increased school subsidies by 214 million dollars. To support the environment, Casey created the heritage park program, implemented the largest trash recycling program in the nation, and promoted a hazardous site clean-up law subsequently approved by the State Legislature.

Casey's social achievements were among his most significant accomplishments. He implemented the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for children of parents who though unqualified for welfare were nonetheless unable to afford health insurance. He increased the poverty exemption of the state income tax. He also formed an adoption network service, expanded women's healthcare service, implemented school-based childcare programs, created welfare system reforms, and instituted Pennfree, an anti-drug and alcohol abuse program. In 1989, in response to the Camp Hill prison riots, Casey also instituted a prison expansion program.

However, Casey's governorship was not without controversy. In face of the budget deficit in 1991, Casey signed a 3 billion dollar tax increase to balance the budget. He also attempted to reform the local property tax structure, a measure, approved by the General Assembly, but defeated in a referendum at the polls in 1989. In 1993-1994 Casey also tried unsuccessfully to implement a universal health care system.

In addition, two major issues of Casey's governorship curtailed Casey's national promise. In 1989 Casey advocated for and signed the 1989 Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act which placed limitations on abortion, including a 24-hour waiting period for an abortion. Challenged by Planned Parenthood in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the United States Supreme Court in 1993 affirmed all but one of the law's limitations as well as states' rights to place limitations on abortion. Nonetheless despite this affirmation, Casey's pro-life position strained his relations with members of the Democratic Party who dominantly held a pro-choice position. Consequently, the Democratic Party denied Casey the opportunity to speak at the 1992 Democratic Convention. Moreover, Casey's position on abortion also influenced the 1994 Pennsylvania election outcomes. Because of their respective abortion positions, Casey refused to endorse his lieutenant governor, Mark Singel, running for governor, and his appointee, Harris Wofford, running for the U.S. Senate. Both men lost and the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania was left fragmented.

Casey's health emerged as a second major issue of his governorship. At the beginning of his first term in October 1987, after a silent heart attack, Casey underwent quadruple bypass surgery. In addition, at the beginning of his second term in 1991, Casey was diagnosed with Appalachian familial amyloidosis, a hereditary disease in which proteins invade and destroy the body's major organs. On June 14, 1993, within hours of placing his name on the list for transplants, Casey underwent surgery for liver and heart transplants. After completing his two terms as governor, Casey contemplated running for president, but because of his serious health issues decided against it.

In 1995 Casey left office and returned to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he wrote and devoted his energies to several organizations. In 1996, he published an autobiography, Fighting for Life. Casey also became president of Transplant Recipients International, an advocacy group for organ transplants. In addition, he founded the Campaign for the American Family, Inc., a lobbying organization to change legislation to help families, and created the Fund for the American Family, Inc., an educational foundation to study public issues affecting families.

Robert Patrick Casey died on May 30, 2000, from a viral infection. He was survived by his wife, eight children, and twenty-eight grandchildren.

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Collection Overview

The Robert P. Casey papers span the years 1943 to 2000, with most of the papers covering 1986 to 1994 and documenting Robert P. Casey's two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania.

Approximately one-fourth of the papers include working administrative files supporting the governor's office. Among these files are schedules, gift logs, budgets, and records of accomplishments and honors. Also included are subject reference files containing articles, issue papers, state agency reports, and background materials reflecting Governor Casey's interests and initiatives. Additional files compile materials related to hearings and campaigns.

The collection also contains public communications. Press releases mark events and announcements from 1988 to 1989 during Governor Casey's first term. Newspaper clippings, comprising almost two-thirds of the papers, chronicle Governor Casey's tenure from 1987 to 1995 from the media's perspective.

Photographs, circa the mid-to late 1940s to 1995, include images from Casey's earlier years, many depicting events of his first campaign for the Pennsylvania governorship in 1966. Most of the collection's photographs, however, document Casey's two terms as governor and show Casey at events ranging from speaking engagements, to legislative signings, to inaugural celebrations. Also included are a 1994 videotape surveying Governor Casey's accomplishments and two videotapes recorded in 2000 at Casey's funeral mass and memorial tribute.

Of the documents, the subject reference files, newspaper clippings, and photographs constitute particularly strong features of the collection. Correspondence files are more modestly represented, and researchers may find larger correspondence collections in the personal papers and official records of Governor Casey held at the Pennsylvania State Archives.

As personal papers, the Robert P. Casey Papers complement official records by offering a context for understanding the accomplishments of Robert P. Casey, a governor who overcoming sizable challenges made significant contributions to Pennsylvania, especially in areas of employment, infrastructure, education, the environment, and social programs.

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Collection Arrangement

This collection is arranged into the following series: Subject reference files, Schedules, Executive budget, Administrative accomplishments and honors, Gift log records, Hearings, Public information, Campaigns, and Photographs.

The Executive budget series contains two subseries: Governor's budget reference files, and Budget and speeches. The Hearings series consists of two subseries: Camp Hill Prison, and Penn Free. The Public Information series contains two subseries: Press releases, and Newspaper clippings.

With some refinements, this arrangement generally reflects the eleven main content units of the first accession. Miscellaneous files and items from the second accession have been integrated into appropriate series.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

As of 2015, collection is open for research. At the time of the original donation in 1995, the donor imposed a 20 year restriction on access to most materials, which has now passed.

Copyright Notice

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

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Robert P. Casey papers, HCLA 1467, Special Collections Library, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Robert P. Casey, Sr. (1995) and the Robert P. Casey Family (2001)

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff.

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Graphic
  • Photographic
  • Artifacts
  • Audio
  • Moving Image

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Collection Inventory

Click associated checkboxes to select items to request. When you have finished, click the Submit Request button.

General note

The series Subject reference files spans 1949 to 1995 with most materials dating from 1987 to 1994. The series consists of research supporting Governor Casey's interests and initiatives during his tenure as governor from January 1987 to January 1995. Organized by subject and often issue, files reflect administrative endeavors in several major areas, among them the economy, education, environment, social programs, and fiscal management. Topics include: administrative accomplishments, aging department, banking department, community affairs, corrections, economic development and issues, education, emergency management, environmental resources and issues, healthcare, insurance, labor and industry, legislative issues, liquor control board, military affairs, Philadelphia, revenue department, state police, task force reports, tax reform commission, transportation, treasury, and welfare department.

Materials consist of records, public opinion research, policy approaches, and background information, sometimes specifically marked for Governor Casey's reading. Files include correspondence, reports, brochures, handwritten notes, briefings, press releases, legal documents, petitions, photographs, presentations, and newspaper clippings of editorials and feature stories.

Highlights among the documents include task force reports, 14 of 15 bound studies commissioned early in Casey's administration in 1987 by the Pennsylvania Economic Development Partnership, a forum for bringing together leaders in business, labor, education, and government to create economic growth and employment opportunities in Pennsylvania. Also located in the files are copies of the transfer-of-power letters effecting Casey's resumption of the governorship in December 1993 after Casey temporarily relinquished his powers to lieutenant governor Mark Singel June 1993 to undergo a transplant operation.

Although the files focus on Pennsylvania issues, a few materials place these concerns in larger contexts. For example, materials related to international finance point to a global environment. In addition, a national context is represented by materials showing how other states addressed social issues and by correspondence from several national figures, among them pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton, President Bill Clinton, and former President Jimmy Carter.

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General note

The series contains schedules for Governor Casey's daily activities and appointments. Plans designate events, locations, arrival and departure times, and occasionally primary participants and staff contacts. The Governor's residence schedules and long-term planning schedules also are included.

In addition, the series contains some schedules for the activities of Ellen Casey, the Governor's wife. Additional copies of the Governor's schedules are marked for Ellen Casey or for Jeanne Schmedlen, chief of staff and press secretary to Mrs. Casey.

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General note

The series pertains to the executive budget and speeches from 1987 to 1995 during Robert P. Casey's tenure as governor of Pennsylvania.

General note

This subseries contains correspondence, reports, briefings, statements, press releases, news clippings, article reprints, and background data related to the executive budgets. Also included are reports and correspondence related to PENNVEST and redevelopment capital funding.

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General note

This subseries contains budget records related to Robert P. Casey's first and second terms as governor. Items include executive budgets, budget-in-briefs, and press releases, as well as Casey's reports on the state of the commonwealth and his budget messages to the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

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General note

The series highlights honors and accomplishments of Governor Casey's administration from 1987 through January 1995, along with a few events from Casey's earlier career. Several retrospective news articles and administrative reports survey significant contributions of Casey's administration.

The series also contains awards and citations, such as ones from the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives, a letter from Polish union leader Lech Walesa, and testimonial letters of gratitude from individuals and organizations. In addition, the series contains several artifacts, among them, a Conrail railroad car model, inaugural ball key tags, a silver inaugural dish with seal, campaign license plates, and an encased signed business card from former Pennsylvania Governor Milton Shapp.

Also included in this series is the videotape The Pennsylvania Partnership Governor Casey. Produced in December 1994, it uses photographs and testimony to review the accomplishments of Governor Casey during his two terms. Two additional videotapes were donated in 2001 by the Casey family, one of the funeral mass for Robert P. Casey, held 3 June 2000 in St. Peter's Cathedral, Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the second, a memorial tribute to Robert P. Casey, held 5 June 2000 in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

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General note

The series contains records of gifts given to Governor Casey during his tenure as governor from 1987 to 1995. Records identify gifts under and over $100 and include dates of gifts, descriptions, events, donors, addresses, assessed values, and disposition of gifts, many of which Casey donated to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Also included are thank-you letters and photographs of selected gifts.

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General note

The series documents two important hearings in Robert P. Casey's first term as governor: the Penn Free hearings in 1989 and the Camp Hill Prison Riot Legislative hearings in 1990.

General note

The subseries includes transcripts of seven of seventeen hearings conducted in 1990 by the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee. This committee investigated several riots in Pennsylvania prisons during 1989, among them those occurring Oct. 25 to 27 at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Also included are a witness list for hearings held January 16 and 17, 1990, and March 7, 1990, and a final report, "After Camp Hill: The Keys to Ending Crisis," Nov. 29, 1990, recommending actions for prison reform.

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General note

This subseries relates to Governor Casey's initiatives to combat drug problems in Pennsylvania, focusing on public fact-finding forums held the summer 1989 in Pittsburgh, Reading, Rosemont, Scranton, Erie, and Chambersburg. Materials include testimony, press releases, newspaper clippings, schedules, handwritten notes, and Governor Casey's talking points. Also included are Governor Casey's "Report of the Governor's Drug Policy," June 15, 1989, as well as supporting materials for Governor Casey's September 1988 tour of southwest Philadelphia, his November 22, 1989, visit to Debra House in Braddock, and his 1990 announcements in Philadelphia and appearance in Allentown.

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General note

The series assembles public information issued by the Casey administration and the media in two subseries: Press releases and Newspaper clippings.

General note

The subseries largely includes statements issued from 1987 to 1989 by the Governor's press office to the media and the general public about events, actions, and positions of Governor Casey's administration. Also included are an inaugural invitation booklet for January 20, 1987, and an audiotape of cardiologist Dr. William Follansbee at a 1993 press conference at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In addition, the subseries includes the "America Starts Here" media guide and tour brochures designed by the Bureau of Travel Marketing to showcase Pennsylvania vacation spots.

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General note

The subseries Newspaper clippings contains the Governor's "News Digests " documenting media coverage of issues and events of Robert P. Casey's administration from 1987 through 1994. Published daily during the work week by the governor's press office, the digests were intended to keep the governor and his staff current with media coverage of state-related topics. Digests contain reportage current with the cover sheet's date and earlier recent articles.

Arranged in one to three dated sets, the digests include some newswire coverage, but predominantly contain compilations of news, features, and editorials from state and national newspapers. The first set of photocopies prioritizes news from the Harrisburg Patriot-News,  The Philadelphia Inquirer, and  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A second and occasionally third set often include articles from smaller state newspapers as well as from the Associated Press wire service. Articles from  The New York Times and  The Washington Post may appear in the first or second set. Some news sets are marked for Mrs. Casey.

Samples from Governor Casey's news digests are being entered into the Pennsylvania Policy Database as part of a National Policy Agendas Project funded by the National Science Foundation. The projected national database is intended to assist researchers in accessing a wide range of news media accounts, government records, and public opinion data for studying policy changes over time and across venues.

The subseries also includes media coverage from 1993 to 1995 related to Governor Casey's transplant operation.

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General note

The series Campaigns, dating from 1948 to 1990, includes materials related to Robert P. Casey's campaigns for public office. Files focus primarily on Casey's 1986 bid for the governorship of Pennsylvania and contain fundraising correspondence about events and donors. Also included are newspaper clippings, planning papers, and campaign pins and advertisements.

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General note

The series Photographs dates from the mid- to late 1940s to 1995. A small group of photographs document Robert P. Casey's first campaign for governor during the Democratic primaries in 1966 and include photographs of Casey and Ellen Casey with Edward Kennedy and greeting Lady Bird Johnson. Most photographs, however, document Robert P. Casey's two terms as governor from 1987 through 1994. Many prints record significant events, showing the governor taking his oath at his 1987 and 1991 inaugurations, speaking at the podium at the University of Pennsylvania, signing legislation, and returning from the Pittsburgh Presbyterian Hospital after his transplant operation.

This series also includes many publicity shots of Casey in portraits, family photographs, and group photographs of legislators and cabinet members. Additional publicity photographs are topical and reflect Casey's interest in various aspects of Pennsylvania life such as agriculture, education, tourism, children, public welfare, and infrastructure. Several photographs underscore Casey's support of particular initiatives, depicting his attendance at such events as Capital-for-a-Day meetings, a Landfill for Trashnet II promotion, a day- care center visit, the Sony agreement, and the Microwood groundbreaking.

Historic photographs in the collection include one of John F. Kennedy riding in a convertible and one of Robert Kennedy leaving an airport. Others show Casey with such well-known figures as Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, James A. Mitchener, Edmund Muskie, and Joe Paterno. An early photograph from the mid- to late 1940s captures Casey's leap over a high jump.

Photographs appear in various sizes, among them 3 × 5 and 9 × 11 images, with a few larger matted photographs. Formats include slides, negatives

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