Staebler, Neil, 1905-

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During the post-war period in Michigan politics, the state Democratic Party experienced a renaissance in voter acceptability. Roughly corresponding to the six term administration of Governor G. Mennen Williams (1949-1961) and in. part attributable to his extraordinary popularity, the Democratic Party underwent an about face and became a model of sorts for other state party organizations.

The successful architect of the party's victorious campaigns in this period was Ann Arbor businessman - politician Neil Staebler. As chairman of the Democratic state central committee, Staebler together with a group of dedicated and energetic aides spear-headed the party's transformation. Staebler believed that for the party to be successful it had first to formulate and espouse a liberal program geared in part to the state's large work force. Secondly, Staebler argued that for the party to succeed at the polls it needed to organize strong precinct level organizations capable of eliciting grass-roots support for the party's program and turning out the vote on election day. With this formula, Staebler helped the Democratic Party to capture the governor's office for seven straight terms and to elect Democratic senators, Patrick McNamara and Philip A. Hart.

With two major exceptions, Staebler shunned elective office. These two campaigns, however, account for some of the more interesting portions of the collection. In 1962, Staebler was elected congressman-at-large, an office which was something of an anomaly because the state's two political parties had been unable to incorporate the additional Congressional seat which Michigan received as a result of the 1960 census without fighting over the necessary redistricting. In 1963 or 1964 Staebler made the decision to become a one-term Congressman, seeking instead to run for governor against the incumbent George Romney. From all outward appearance, Staebler had a better than even chance of victory. The national ticket of Johnson and Humphrey appeared destined for a landslide victory, and Staebler could not help but benefit from their coattails. Unfortunately for the candidate, his opponent George Romney, was a strong campaigner and a popular governor, and he won reelection easily. Following his defeat, Staebler returned to the routines of party work. He continued to be a member of the Democratic National Committee; he was a member of the Democratic National Finance Council, and the National Democratic Charter Commission; and he was appointed to the Federal Election Commission in the 1970s.

From the guide to the Neil Staebler papers, 1944-1992, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Chester Bowles papers, 1924-1982 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn George W. Pray Papers, 1844-1890 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Wilber M. Brucker Papers, 1877-1968 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Kathryn C. Nye papers, 1952-1967 Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Neil Staebler papers, 1944-1992 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Gerhard L. Weinberg papers, 1957-1973 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Fred Newton Scott papers, 1860-1931 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Rebecca Shelley Papers, 1890-1984 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Adelaide J. Hart papers, 1948-1980, 1995, 1948-1970 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Lawrence Llewellyn Farrell Papers, 1935-1971 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Blair Moody Papers, 1928-1954, 1934-1952 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Shirley Wheeler Smith Papers, 1881-1959 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Democratic Party of Michigan records, 1932-2008, 1950-1994 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Helen W. Berthelot papers, 1948-1996 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn George Murphy papers, 1911-1961 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Josephine Fellows Gomon papers, 1913-1975 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Margaret Bayne Price Papers, 1918-1969, 1947-1968 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Charles L. Follo papers, 1961-1970 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn George Romney Papers, 1939-1973 Bentley Historical Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Berthelot, Helen W. person
associatedWith Bowles, Chester, 1901-1986 person
associatedWith Brucker, Wilber Marion, 1894-1968 person
associatedWith Cavanagh, Jerome Patrick, 1928-1979 person
associatedWith Democratic Party (Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Democratic Party (Mich.). State Central Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Farrell, Lawrence Llewellyn, 1903-1971 person
associatedWith Follo, Charles L. person
associatedWith Gomon, Josephine Fellows, 1892-1975 person
associatedWith Hart, Adelaide, 1900- person
associatedWith Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 person
associatedWith Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 person
associatedWith Moody, Blair, 1902-1954 person
associatedWith Murphy, George, 1897-1961 person
associatedWith Nye, Kathryn C. person
associatedWith Pray, George Washington, 1825-1890 person
associatedWith Price, Margaret Bayne, 1912-1968 person
associatedWith Romney, George W., 1907- person
associatedWith Scott, Fred Newton, 1860-1931 person
associatedWith Shelley, Rebecca, 1887-1984 person
associatedWith Smith, Shirley Wheeler, 1875-1959 person
associatedWith Swainson, John Burley, 1925- person
associatedWith United States. Congress. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Election Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Weinberg, Gerhard L. person
associatedWith Williams, G. Mennen, 1911- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Ann Arbor (Mich.)
United States


Birth 1905

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Ark ID: w62k92n2

SNAC ID: 58694681