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Bernard Shanley papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS-0002

Scope and Contents

This is a collection of the personal papers of Bernard M. Shanley, prominent New Jersey Lawyer, Republican politician, and member o the Eisenhower cabinet. They document his personal as well as his professional activities, from the time he began his career in law until his passing in 1992. They cover his detailed involvement with the federal politics of the 1950’s, as well as his gubernatorial run and time spent as a Republican National Committeeman. It also details his lifelong relationship with the Catholic church, and his relationship with Seton hall University. One of the most prominent features of the collection is Bernard Shanley’s personal diary, that covers from 1951 to 1957, detailing his importance to the 1952 and 1956 election cycles, as well as both Eisenhower Administrations.

Some of the material included also details the Shanley family’s personal history, including historical letters to and from members of the family, and correspondence with institutions they were involved with, such as Shanley & Fisher, and Fidelity Financial.

The collection includes significant amounts of detailed correspondence between high ranking political figures of the Eisenhower era, Shanley’s political speeches and other appearances, as well as all of the invitations Shanley received during his time in the White House. The Correspondence covers both Chronological correspondence as well as Alphabetical, detailing the day to day workings of the Eisenhower administration, and how they functioned. Also included are the various campaign materials from Shanley’s Senatorial run, including speeches, news articles, and various scrapbooks he kept detailing as much of the Senatorial run as possible. A substantial number of documents were weeded out from the collection, including duplicates, medical and financial records, newspaper clippings, and photocopies of copyrighted materials. Certain publications and copyrighted materials have been retained if they are not widely available outside of this collection. Materials a primarily textual, comprising correspondence, invitations, clippings, campaign materials, publications, event programs, speeches, notes, subject files, scrapbooks and the aforementioned diary. Other non-textual materials include photographs, audio reels, and some honorary plaques awarded to Mr. Shanley.


  • 1838 - 1992

Conditions Governing Access

Some materials in this collection may be restricted from public research for ethical or legal reasons. Advance appointments are required for the use of archival materials.

This collection includes audio-visual materials. Access copies of audiotapes, audio cassette tapes, video cassette tapes, film reels, or other audio-visual materials may need to be ordered prior to on-site research. Please contact us to inquire about access to audio-visual materials.

Biographical / Historical

Bernard Michael Shanley was born in Newark, New Jersey on August 4th, 1903. He received his undergraduate degree from Colombia University, before moving on to Fordham University School of Law. He began practicing Law in 1929, joining the New Jersey Bar and the United States Supreme Court Bar, as well as membership in Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the American Bar Association, the Essex County and Somerset County Bar Associations, and the American Judicature Society. He was a founding member of Shanley & Fisher, P.C., A Prominent New Jersey Lawfirm, before it merged with Drinker Biddle & Reath in 1999.

Due to the outbreak of World War II, Shanley also served in the military from 1942 until 1945, which began his life in public service. He then began work with the Republican party, first joining Harold Stassen’s campaign trail for the 1952 Election, and then joining the Eisenhower Campaign after the Republican National Convention. He then was present for the Eisenhower campaigns victory and subsequent administration. Shanley was a member of the Eisenhower Cabinet from 1953 to 1957.He first held the position of Special Council to the President from 1953 to 1955, and then the Appointment Secretary to the President, as well as Deputy Chief of Staff, from 1955 to 1957.

After 1957, Shanley stayed active in the Republican Party. Afterward, Shanley was extremely active in both New Jersey politics and the Republican party. Shanley served as the Chairman of the New Jersey Republican Finance Committee and Council of Legal Advisors as well as a Republican National Committeeman for New Jersey from 1960 through 1964. During 1964, Shanley ran for the U.S. Senator Seat from New Jersey, however he lost to the incumbent Harrison A. Williams. After, he returned to his role as Republican National Committeeman from 1968 until 2 weeks before his death on February 25, 1992.


33.5 Linear Feet (77 Legal and Letter document cases, cartons, flat boxes, objects)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized into folders by series, and then either alphabetical or chronological in arrangement. A number of boxes taken from his personal papers were arranged into folders by subject. Original physical arrangement is reflected in box order. Each series and subseries is arranged first by subject matter, and then either by alphabetical or chronological. The collection was arranged in 4 series, each of which contains between 2 and 6 subseries.

The Bernard Shanley papers have 4 series: Biographical Information, Oral History, Personal Papers, and Public Papers.

Biographical Information includes information about the Shanley family and its history, as well as personal information about Bernard M. Shanley himself. The subseries under it are financial correspondence, detailing the families personal correspondence with their financial holders, and Personal and Professional Correspondence, focused on the letters regarding Bernard Shanley himself. Within these, both subseries are chronological.

Oral History includes the entirety of the Diary of Bernard Shanley, in its own subseries, as well as a portion he labeled ‘The Stassen Story’, focusing on his time with Governor Harold Stassen on the 1951 campaign trail, before he joined the Eisenhower campaign. Both the Diary of Bernard Shanley and the Stassen Story are their own subseries.

Personal Papers includes most of the materials Bernard Shanley had that dealt with his personal life, such as various invitations and correspondence, as well as personal achievements and subject files kept on hand. This includes his work and correspondence with Shanley and Fisher, as well as his relationship to the Catholic church, and institutions like Seton Hall University. The subseries under personal papers are Correspondence and Subject files. Correspondence is arranged first chronologically and then alphabetically, as was original arrangement. Subject Files are sorted alphabetically.

Public Papers make up the rest of the collection, comprising of the papers that focus primarily on his work as a public servant. This includes information about his work in the Republican Party, his work on the 1952 campaign trail, his work in both terms of the Eisenhower Administration, his 1964 Senatorial run, and his years as a Republican National Committeeman. Under public papers are 6 subseries: ‘Subject Files’, ‘Political Correspondence’, ‘Speeches, Statements, Releases’, ‘Scrapbooks and press Clippings’, ‘Photographs’, and ‘Invitations’. Subject Files covers Shanley’s files collected from his years active in politics. Political Correspondence covers the letters to and from Shanley as both a member of the White House Staff and the other various political roles he held. Speeches, Statements, and releases collects together the speeches made by Shanley for various political causes. Scrapbooks and Press Clippings contains the materials collected by Shanley and his office about himself and his role in politics and the news. ‘Photographs’ are the collected photos of Shanley from his active years in the spotlight, and ‘Invitations’ does the same for the invitations he received during that time.

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Preservica Public URL

Bernard Shanley papers, 1952-1957
Athena Frade
Language of description
Script of description
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the The Monsignor Field Archives & Special Collection Center Repository

Archives, Walsh Library
400 South Orange Ave
South Orange NJ 07079 US