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J. Herbert Burke Papers

Identifier: Ms 207

Scope and Content

Correspondence, biographical information, press releases, speeches, campaign materials, legislative papers, and photographs of Representative J. Herbert Burke of Florida. The Burke Papers, spanning 1966-1996, document his activities as a legislator in the U.S. House, including his campaign efforts, his committee service, and the management of his office. Unlike most political collections, the Burke Papers contain a very small amount of correspondence and materials pertaining to legislation. The collection does include a number of Burke's newsletters, covering his congressional activities, as well as his voting and attendance records. The speeches and campaign files document his views on a variety of political issues during his tenure in the House.

The majority of the photographs in the collection were taken by congressional photographers, although there are a few personal photographs. The photos primarily show Burke meeting with other politicians, members of the Florida delegation, foreign dignitaries, and various people and groups from Florida. There are several photos taken during committee trips and hearings, both in the U.S. and in foreign countries.

The collection also includes a small group of the papers and writings of Lois Blackburn, Burke's administrative assistant. The majority of these papers were written in the 1990s, around the time of Burke's death. These materials (Box 14) currently are closed to public access due to privacy concerns.


  • Creation: 1966-1996



The J. Herbert Burke Papers are open for research with one exception: The papers of Lois Blackburn (Box 14) are closed due to privacy concerns. Researchers seeking access to these materials should consult with the curator of the PK Yonge Library of Florida History or the head of the Manuscripts and Archives unit.

Biographical/Historical Note

J. Herbert Burke was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 14, 1913. He attended Northwestern University and earned a law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1940. He served in the Army during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, and received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals. He was discharged at the rank of captain and returned to Chicago to practice law for four years. Burke moved to Hollywood, Florida in 1949. In 1952, he was elected to the Broward County Commission, and went on to serve four terms.

In 1955 he was defeated in a campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1966, he was elected to his first term in the House. Burke served on the House Committee on International Relations, the Committee on House Administration, and the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. In 1975, he was a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations. In 1978, after 11 years in the House, Burke lost his reelection bid a few months after he was arrested for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct in the parking lot of a nightclub in Dania, FL. Following his defeat, he retired to Falls Church, Virginia, and Fern Park, Florida. He died on June 16, 1993.


5.5 Linear feet (14 boxes)

Language of Materials



Correspondence, biographical information, speeches, campaign materials, legislative papers, and photographs of Representative J. Herbert Burke of Florida.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

A Guide to the J. Herbert Burke Papers
Finding aid created by John R. Nemmers. Collection arranged by Gary Beemer and Sean McCormick.
March 2007
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America