Floyd K. Haskell papers
Scope and Contents
Series I: Correspondence: Includes official and personal correspondence of Senator Floyd K. Haskell from 1973 to 1978. His correspondence is organized into three sections: official, personal, and miscellaneous. Official letters are organized according to government branch (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial). They cover a variety of government agencies and issues. Personal letters include ones addressed to families, friends, and acquaintances and cover all sorts of quotidian personal material. This includes invitations to social events as well as responses to the invitations, congratulations and thank you letters and so on. The other category of letters – miscellaneous – comprises of Haskell’s daily business life. They detail his work records, political action outside of his professional life and so on. Series II contains Legislative Records such as topical correspondence, committee files, statements on legislation, Roll Call votes; and a legislative bill file. Series III contains general subjects; Series IV contains press files; and Series V contains Senate office records.
- 1972 - 1978
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This collection is open for access.
Conditions Governing Use
Limited duplication of materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.
Floyd Kirk Haskell was born in Morristown, New Jersey, February 7, 1916 to parents Edward Kirk and Gladys (Clarkson) Haskell. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 1937 and then a Bachelor of Laws from Harvard Law School in 1941. During World War II, Haskell enlisted in the United States Army as a private and climbed from the ranks into the officer corps. During the war, he was stationed in Asia, was eventually promoted to the rank of a major, and was decorated for his service.
Admitted to the bar in both New York and Colorado in 1946, his Denver practice specialized in tax law until 1972. Although his law practice was successful, he regarded public service as a duty. In 1964, he was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives as a Republican, representing the then house district number 6 in Arapahoe County, where he served for 4 years and became the assistant majority leader in 1967. Leaving the State House of Representatives, he acted as the Chairman of the Denver Metropolitan Legal Aid System and was selected a member of the Board of Directors for the Urban League of Colorado. In 1970, he switched political parties and became a Democrat. In a 1978 interview, he explained the motive for his actions, “I had become more and more opposed to the war in Vietnam, and when Nixon invaded Cambodia, that was it. I just felt I couldn't stay in the Republican Party any longer. I went down to the courthouse and changed my registration. It was a private act of conscience.” During the same interview, he admitted that, “I considered myself well out of politics at the time. I never planned to run for office again.” However in 1972 he was elected to the United States Senate over Republican Gordon L. Allott. He won by only 10,000 votes; despite President Nixon’s reelection and a strong Republican showing. He served from January 3, 1973 to January 3, 1979. Haskell lost a bid for reelection in 1978 to Republican William L. Armstrong and lived the rest of his life in Washington D.C. He served on the board of the group Common Cause, and was active in a bipartisan group of retired lawmakers who championed campaign finance and tax law reform as well as attempting to break the Congressional gridlock. Haskell was active in human rights and was a member of the first delegation to visit the Philippines after the fall of Ferdinand Marcos. Despite this continued political involvement, he did not return to Capitol Hill after his defeat except once to testify as the chairman of his tax reform group to reduce the number of deductions, and encourage lower rates and progressivity.
During Haskell’s career, he was known as relaxed and unaggressive in his political approach. He usually identified with liberal causes. He worked on a variety of issues, including: regulation of taxes, tariffs, foreign trade, import quotas, and Social Security; reviewing the administration of the Internal Revenue Service; the handling of public lands, natural resources, irrigation and reclamation, territorial possessions of the United States, Indian affairs, and energy research; he supported small businesses and fought monopolies. Most notably, he supported controls on automobile emissions, championed the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Act, the Taxpayer Privacy Act, the Jobs Tax Credit Act, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and Older Americans Act, and backed the Panama Canal Treaties. He also opposed the Vietnam War, to the point that he changed political parties in the middle of his political career. He was a member of and was recognized by the Senate Finance Committee as a tax reformer and as a specialist on non-petroleum sources of energy by the Energy Committee. Besides being respected for his politics, Floyd Haskell was awarded the Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters by the United States Army.
Floyd Haskell was married twice. The first marriage was to Eileen Nicoll on December 27, 1941. From this marriage, Haskell had three children: Ione Haskell of New York, Evelyn Maxwell of Colorado, and Pamela Haskell of San Francisco. This marriage eventually ended in a divorce. In 1979, he married Nina Totenberg, the legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio and ABC’s Nightline.
Senator Haskell died on August 25, 1998 while on vacation with his wife. He had been ill with pneumonia in conjunction with a brain hemorrhage resulting from a fall on an icy sidewalk in 1994. In 1995 he underwent surgery for lung cancer. He passed away during the flight via air ambulance to Georgetown University Hospital. He left a wife, three daughters, and three grandchildren.
312 linear feet (103 boxes)
Language of Materials
Floyd K. Haskell (1916-1998) was a prominent Colorado politician who served as both a Republican and a Democrat. He was a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 1965 to 1968 and a member of the United States Senate representing Colorado from 1973 through 1979. Senator Haskell was one of the well-known Republicans to change party affiliation as a result of his opposition to the Vietnam War. His papers contain material on senior citizens’ and minorities’ issues, environmental problems and constituent correspondence during his term on the Senate. For further research, a small amount of his congressional correspondence can be found at the Colorado Historical Society in Denver, Colorado.
This collection is arranged into the following series: Series 1: Correspondence, 1973-1978 Series 2: Legislative Records Series 3: General Subjects Series 4: Press Files Series 5: Senate Office Records
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- Formatted by: Lindsay Stone, October 27, 2003 Reformatted by: Shelby Magee, January 24, 2012
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