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Identifier: MC 1226

William T. Cahill Congressional Papers


  • 1959-1970

Scope and Content Note

The Congressional papers of William T. Cahill, comprising 64.4 cubic feet of documents, span Cahill's service as a Republican Representative in six consecutive U.S. Congresses from 1959 to 1970, with the bulk of the documentation ceasing in 1969. The papers document specific facets of Cahill's work in Congress, as well as Congressional service in general, including the evolution of legislation, service on the House Judiciary Committee, interaction with constituents, colleagues and government departments and agencies, special investigations, and campaigns, including Cahill's first campaign for Governor of New Jersey, which was undertaken during the 91st Congress.

The collection is composed primarily of paper documents, among which are incoming and outgoing letters with constituents, colleagues and other government officials, committee prints, memoranda, newsletters, position papers, press clippings and journal articles, press releases, published reports, speeches, telegrams and unpublished testimony before Congress. Also included are a limited number of photographs.

The Cahill papers are organized into twelve series based on document type and subject scope. Five series are subdivided by Congressional term due to their size and original organizational scheme. BILL FILES, 1959-1966, comprised mainly of correspondence, committee prints, and copies of bills, details the legislation proposed by Cahill through the first four Congresses of his tenure. LEGISLATIVE FILES, 1959-1967, consisting of similar documentation as that found in BILL FILES, pertains to legislation introduced by Representatives other than Cahill. Scattered legislation from the Senate is also represented. JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FILES, 1960-1968, spans most of Cahill's tenure on the Judiciary Committee. While consisting of significant amounts of correspondence, this series also houses numerous transcripts of committee testimony, as well as the heaviest concentration of legislation outside of the BILL FILES and LEGISLATIVE FILES. DEPARTMENT AND AGENCY FILES, 1959-1970, representing one-third of the total documentation in the collection, details Cahill's interactions with various federal departments at all levels of government, mostly on behalf of his constituents. While comprised of a similar range of documents as its afore mentioned counterparts, the bulk of this series is dominated by correspondence. GENERAL FILES, 1959-1969, much like the DEPARTMENT AND AGENCY FILES, exhibits an abundance of correspondence, especially with constituents. Topics vary from political issues such as civil rights and a physician shortage to the day-to-day requests of constituents.

The remaining series, due largely to their smaller size, have no subdivisions. PRESS RELEASES, 1961-1964 and 1966-1968, consisting of a fairly limited number of press releases, focuses mainly on Cahill's public statements and legislative agendas. Most of the releases are from Cahill's office, while a few originate from other Congressional offices or third parties. VOTING RECORDS, 1959-1970, consists of Cahill's voting records as compiled by the Republican Congressional Committee, the Legislative Reference Service and the House of Representatives. AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE FILES, 1966-1969, details an investigation of the automotive insurance industry spearheaded by Cahill through the Judiciary Committee. COMMITTEE FILES, 1961-1965, is comprised mainly of correspondence either focused on or directed to less than two dozen different committees, none of which Cahill served on. ALPHABETICAL CORRESPONDENCE, 1960, is an alphabetical file of outgoing letters from Cahill's office. GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN FILES, 1966-1967 and 1969, consists of press releases, position papers and speeches from Cahill's campaign for Governor of New Jersey, which was conducted while he was still in office as a Representative to the 91st Congress. PHOTOGRAPHS, 1963-1969, is composed entirely of 8x10, black-and-white prints, mostly depicting school groups visiting Washington, D.C.

With the exceptions of the PHOTOGRAPHS and VOTING RECORDS, no one series possesses a monopoly over any document type. For example, while PRESS RELEASES houses the bulk of the collection's press releases, additional releases can be found in GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN FILES, GENERAL FILES, DEPARTMENT AND AGENCY FILES, and elsewhere. Likewise, scattered legislation can be found outside the two most logical sources, BILL FILES and LEGISLATIVE FILES.


64.4 Cubic Feet (64 record center cartons and 1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials



Papers reflecting William T. Cahill's career in the United States House of Representatives. Included within the papers are incoming and outgoing letters with Congressional and constituent correspondents, bills, committee prints, voting records, press releases, photographs, and general subject files. Also covered briefly is Cahill's first campaign for Governor of New Jersey in 1969.

Biographical / Historical

Biographical Chronology

Born June 25 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the only child of William P. Cahill and Rose J. (Golden) Cahill.
Along with his family, moves to Camden, New Jersey, where father William P. works as a Camden County park police officer.
Graduates from Camden Catholic High School, where he played on the baseball and basketball teams.
Graduates from St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia with an A.B. degree.
Works as a teacher in the Camden public school system while attending law school at night.
Graduates from the College of South Jersey School of Law (later Rutgers School of Law) with an L.L.B. degree.
In October, begins working as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serving in Washington, D.C., Little Rock, Arkansas, and St. Louis, Missouri, until May 1938.
Is admitted to the New Jersey bar and commences the practice of law in Camden, New Jersey.
On February 1, marries Elizabeth Myrtetus, a secretary and former high school classmate. The Cahills eventually have eight children, Kathleen, Mary, William T., Jr., Regina, John Patrick, Patricia, Eileen and Theresa.
Serves as Camden City Prosecutor.
Serves as First Assistant Prosecutor for Camden County.
Is appointed Deputy Attorney General to act as special prosecutor in Bergen County, investigating organized crime and illegal gambling operations.
Is elected to the New Jersey General Assembly from Collingswood for a two-year term.
Opts not to seek reelection to the General Assembly and returns to private practice full time.
Becomes a founding partner in the law firm of Cahill and Wilinski.
On November 4, is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey's First Congressional District, representing Camden (including Camden City), Gloucester and Salem Counties.
On January 3, takes office as a United States Representative for the 86th Congress.
In December, is admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court.
Is appointed to the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, where he serves on the patents, trademarks, copyrights and revision of the laws subcommittee, state taxation of interstate commerce subcommittee, immigration and naturalization subcommittee and the special subcommittee on submerged lands.
Endorses the extension of the Civil Rights Commission.
Supports Senator John F. Kennedy's proposal of a $1.25 minimum wage over the Republican proposed minimum wage of $1.15.
Is reelected by the First Congressional District to the 87th Congress.
On May 10, introduces House Joint Resolution (H.J.) 415, proposing a constitutional amendment that prohibits the denial of equal rights based on gender.
Is reelected by the First Congressional District to the 88th Congress. During his campaign, Cahill is the only New Jersey Republican to be endorsed by the state AFL-CIO.
On January 31, introduces H.R. 3141, known as the Civil Rights Act of 1963, which proposes making the Civil Rights Commission a permanent agency of the federal government.
On March 12, introduces H.R. 4803, which proposes allowing for the deduction of college tuition on personal, federal income tax returns.
On June 3, introduces H.R. 6721, known as the Equal Rights Act of 1963, prohibiting racially segregated business activities.
On February 8, introduces H.J. 922, which proposes a constitutional amendment empowering the president to name a new vice president should the sitting vice president be removed from, step down from, or die in office.
Is reelected by the First Congressional District to the 89th Congress. During the campaign season, withholds endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.
Is named an honorary member of the board of directors of Little League, Incorporated.
On March 3, introduces H.R. 5801, which proposes the creation of a state-appointed governor and elected legislature for the District of Columbia.
Votes against Lyndon B. Johnson's proposed one billion dollar Appalachian Regional Development Act.
Supports the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, officially established in September.
On April 19, introduces H.R. 14501, known as the National Veterans' Cemeteries Act, which proposes the creation of a unified system of veterans' cemeteries.
On June 7, introduces H.R. 15521, known as the Federal Civil Rights Crimes Act of 1966.
On June 9, introduces House Concurrent Resolution 694, supporting the creation of a permanent United Nations peacekeeping force.
Supports the allocation of 1.75 billion dollars for the "War on Poverty."
Is reelected to the 90th Congress by the newly reapportioned Sixth Congressional District, representing Burlington County and parts of Ocean and Camden Counties (excluding Camden City).
Leads a House Judiciary Committee study of the automobile insurance industry.
Opposes the allocation of 1.6 billion dollars for various river basin projects.
Begins advocating the de-Americanization of the war in Vietnam.
Is reelected by the Sixth Congressional District to the 91st Congress.
On February 26, announces his intention to seek the Republican nomination for Governor of New Jersey.
In June, defeats Representative Charles W. Sandman by roughly 13,000 votes, winning the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
On November 4, is elected Governor of New Jersey, defeating Democratic nominee and former governor Robert B. Meyner, by winning twenty of twenty-one counties.
While still in Congress, begins serving on the Joint Committee on Immigration and Nationality Policy. Before stepping down, also secures an official Justice Department investigation of the automotive insurance industry for anti-trust violations.
On January 19, resigns his seat as Representative from the Sixth Congressional District, and is succeeded by Republican Edwin B. Forsythe, who was elected simultaneously to the 91st and 92nd Congresses by special election.
On January 20, is sworn in as the 53rd Governor of New Jersey.
In the spring, the state legislature passes Cahill's proposed two percent increase in the state sales tax.
On June 16, signs the Medical and Dental Education Act, merging the Medical School of Rutgers, the State University, and the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry into the separately administered College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
On December 8, nominates (Democrat) Brendan T. Byrne, who later succeeds Cahill as Governor, for a position as Superior Court Judge for Essex County.
Issues executive orders launching two study groups, the Governor's Management Study Commission and the New Jersey Tax Policy Committee. Later in the year, the Management Study Commission recommends centralizing the executive branch, consolidating seventeen departments into six.
Creates New Jersey's first Department of Environmental Protection.
In the spring, the state legislature acts on Cahill's proposal to create the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
In November, New Jersey voters approve a 155 million dollar educational facilities bond issue.
Signs a migrant labor bill, establishing a minimum wage for migrant farm workers.
On January 19, Superior Court Judge Theodore Botter hands down a ruling in the case of Robinson v. Cahill, declaring New Jersey's system of public school financing unconstitutional.
On February 23, the New Jersey Tax Policy Committee issues its final report, recommending, among other things, a graduated state income tax.
On July 17, the General Assembly votes down the Cahill supported income tax bill by a vote of 52 to 23.
In the summer, Secretary of State Paul J. Sherwin, along with a GOP fundraiser, is indicted on bribery and extortion charges.
Signs a consumer protection bill and a no-fault auto insurance bill.
On March 22, announces candidacy for reelection as Governor of New Jersey.
In May, additional indictments are handed down against Cahill associates, including former State Treasurer Joseph McCrane.
On June 5, loses the Republican gubernatorial nomination to Representative Charles W. Sandman.
In October, signs campaign finance legislation limiting campaign expenditures to $0.50 per voter, replacing New Jersey's previous campaign finance law, which had been repealed following a lawsuit by a third-party candidate in 1969.
On January 15, steps down as Governor of New Jersey following the inauguration of Brendan T. Byrne, returning to private law practice in Collingswood, New Jersey.
Serves as a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
On January 17, resigns from his post on the New Jersey Committee on Professional Health Services.
On July 1, dies in Haddonfield, New Jersey, at the age of 84 and is subsequently interred at Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Arrangement Note

The current arrangement of the Cahill papers was primarily imposed by William Cahill's Congressional office and staff. This may, in part, explain several areas of overlap throughout the collection, such as the appearance of stray legislation in both DEPARTMENT AND AGENCY FILES and GENERAL FILES. Two exceptions are PRESS RELEASES and PHOTOGRAPHS, both of which were formed in the repository by segregating press release and photograph files from the GENERAL FILES.

Selected Bibliography

Kallenbach, Joseph E., and Jessamine S. Kallenbach. American State Governors, 1776-1976. Dobbs Ferry: Oceana Publications, 1977. Lehne, Richard and Alan Rosenthal, eds. Politics in New Jersey. rev. ed. New Brunswick, N.J.: Eagelton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University, 1979. State of New Jersey. Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey. Trenton: E. J. Mullin, 1959. Stelhorn, Paul A., and Michael J. Birkner, eds. The Governors of New Jersey, 1664-1974 : Biographical Essays. Trenton: New Jersey Historical Commission, 1982. U.S. Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005. U.S. Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Directory. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1959. U.S. Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Directory. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1969.
Inventory to the William T. Cahill Congressional Papers, 1959-1970 MC 1226
Edited Full Draft
David D'Onofrio
November 2006
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.