Fred Seibel Exhibit Correspondence: Hoover
Letters from Senator (and Governor) Harry F. Byrd
The largest section of correspondence in the Seibel collection is from Harry Flood Byrd, governor of Virginia from 1926-1930 and U.S. Senator from Virginia from 1933-1965 (he was succeeded by his son, Harry F. Byrd, Jr. in the Senate who served for eighteen years). Nearly 150 letters from Byrd are included in the collection. Bryd was a Seibel admirer whose collection of original Seibel drawings, more than two hundred of them at one point, were displayed in his U.S. Senate office. The letter below appears to be Byrd's first to Seibel and is dated September 15, 1926. Byrd had been elected governor the year before. Byrd would become the dominant figure in Virginia politics for the next forty years. Below is just a small sample of the correspondence from Byrd to Seibel in the collection.
Click on an image to enlarge.
September 15, 1926
November 22, 1927
Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974) visited Virginia in 1927 and went on a much publicized hunting trip with then Governor Harry F. Byrd.
November 22, 1946
Senator Harry F. Byrd, known nationally for his conservative views, was hardly an admirer of John L. Lewis (1880-1969), president of the United Mine Workers. Lewis had been the subject of a number of cartoons in the middle of November (16, 17 and 19) of 1946. The following week Byrd wrote Seibel complementing him on his work.
June 23, 1952
This cartoon appeared soon after the 1952 national Democratic convention in which Senator Byrd led a fight against party loyalty oaths -- causing a confrontation over whether or not Virginia and other southern state delegates would be seated and recognized at the convention. Byrd had become one of the most vocal critics of the national Democratic Party, which he considered too liberal.
July 13, 1962
The last letter to appear in the collection from Senator
Byrd to Seibel was another request for an original drawing of a cartoon
which had appeared that day, July 13, 1962, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
It pictured the senator, who had served for decades on the powerful
Senate Finance Committee, as a woodpecker. Seibel frequently played
on the senator's name in his representations, portraying Byrd as
an owl, robin, rooster, and other birds.
[Note: Senator Byrd continued as a U.S. Senator for three more years. He died in 1966. Seibel died in 1968. Though no correspondence appears in the collection after July 1962, one should not infer that the two did not communicate. It is possible that correspondence from that time period may exist or have existed but was not donated with the other materials in the collection.
For more information about Harry F. Byrd see Ronald L. Heinemann's biography of Byrd, Harry Byrd of Virginia (1996). The book includes thirteen images of Seibel's drawings as illustrations to the text.]