Special Collections at the University Libraries maintains collections of rare books and unique archival materials that make possible in-depth research on selected topics. The scope and diversity of Special Collections make it an important resource for the international academic community. Established in 1958 to house materials on Arizona, the Southwest, and the U.S./Mexico Borderlands, Special Collections now includes rare books, manuscript collections, congressional collections, photographs and other materials in a wide variety of subject areas.
The University of Arizona Special Collections has announced the acquisition of the congressional papers of U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl.
Documenting his decades of public service, Kyl’s congressional papers include biographical material, speeches, committee files, hearings and reports, press releases, photographs and correspondence.
"It is an honor for us to host this historic collection, which will be a vital resource to historians and students of American politics for years to come," said Andrew C. Comrie, the UA's senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.
Currently, Kyl is serving his third and final term in the U.S. Senate after previously serving for eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected unanimously by his colleagues in 2008 to serve as Republican Whip, the second-highest position in Senate Republican leadership.
"My wife and I both have a great deal of appreciation for the education we achieved here at the University of Arizona,," said Kyl whose wife, Caryll Collins, earned a nursing degree from the UA.
"Both of us have really desired to do more for the University than we have been able to," Kyl said, adding that the both have served on UA boards. "But we haven't been able to do something that has a lasting impact. It seemed to me as a UA alum that one of the best things I could do for my University was to provide the public documents, papers, records, memorabilia and other things gathered over a 46-year history of service to the University of Arizona to be archived here."
The documents will come from Kyl's offices in Washington, D.C. and also in Arizona, adding to the UA's new Congressional Archives Room. Special Collections also maintains collections donated by Jim Kolbe, Morris K. Udall, Stewart Udall and Dennis DeConcini, who is currently a member of the Arizona Board of Regents.
Also, Kyl noted that his documents reflect the important contributions made by his staff. Likewise, he hopes that his body of work will inform those interested in policy and legislation in Arizona and in federal government, particularly around issues related to immigration reform, water issues, senate treaties, confirmations and other topics.
The collection will help people to understand "the stories behind the stories," Kyl said, adding: "You've got the best professionals that can exist here at the University of Arizona. I'm very pleased to have this association with them and pleased to turn my papers and records over to the University of Arizona."
As senator, Kyl serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he has played key roles in the confirmation of John Roberts as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and of Samuel Alito as associate justice. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, he has helped write the landmark Crime Victims’ Rights Act, as well as important provisions of the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and other anti-terrorism laws.
As a member of the Finance Committee, Kyl has been chief advocate of death-tax repeal and other pro-growth tax policies, including low tax rates on income, capital gains and dividends. He also has been a strong proponent of step-by-step solutions for health-care reform that can improve access, lower costs and preserve the sacred doctor-patient relationship.
The Wall Street Journal wrote in February 2011 that Kyl “has made his mark the old fashioned way – by knowing what he is talking about.”
The New York Times, in a February 2012 piece, called Kyl “the emissary of the Republican leadership, a gatekeeper of conservatism and a bridge between his party’s most ardent conservatives and more pragmatic centrists.” His command of policy is why national television news networks often invite him to serve as a commentator on various national issues.
TIME magazine recognized Kyl as one the “World’s 100 Most Influential People” in 2010, and as one of the 10 best senators in 2006. Capitol Hill’s newspaper, The Hill, identified him as one of the “25 hardest working lawmakers.”
Carla J. Stoffle, dean of the UA Libraries, said Kyl's collection serves as an important contributing to the existing archives.
"It is a wonderful addition to the collection. Some important things nationally and for the state of Arizona happened while Kyl was in office," Stoffle said. "We have representation from republicans and democrats so that we are able to look over a period of time to understand what has occurred in Congress."
Stoffle said that the collection may lead to new understandings about the inner workings of government agencies, leading to dissertations and research projects not yet imagined.
"We are so excited to have Kyl's contribution," she added. "This will have a long-term benefit."