UD to add Kaufman’s Senate papers

Ted Kaufman’s two-year term as U.S. Senator ended last week with the swearing in of Chris Coons.

But the memos, notes, files, and other day-to-day details of his time filling the seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden will endure.

That’s because Kaufman signed a deal Tuesday to give his Senate papers and archives to the University of Delaware Library.

“I couldn’t be more pleased,” Kaufman said following a ceremony at the home of UD President Patrick Harker. “I have such incredible respect for the University of Delaware. It’s just the obvious place to put the Senate papers.”

Kaufman’s archives will join the congressional papers of U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper, and former Delaware U.S. Senators John J. Williams and J. Allen Frear, Jr., among others.

The collection — made up of written and electronic documents — will include all of Kaufman’s files, staff files, memos, speeches, all of the committee hearings he attended, all of the questions he asked at those hearings, and much more.

“I’m sure there are some surprises in there,” he said.

According to President Harker, the collection captures a moment in history.

“It paints a picture through the memos and the debates that were going on,” he said, “and the leading role he played even in the short period of time he was in the Senate.”

Susan Brynteson, the school’s director of libraries, doesn’t think the collection will gather much dust.

“It’s very exciting,” she said. “Scholars and students and all kinds of researchers want access to the political papers as the inside story of how American history happens.”

Kaufman ranked 10th in the Senate for the amount of floor speech time this past session. He served on four committees: Judiciary, Foreign Relations, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Armed Services.

Kaufman said two of his priorities while in office were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Wall Street reform. But his top priority, he said, was always “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

So, was he successful?

“I think I was,” he said. “But one of the advantages when you get to my age (71) is it isn’t so much what you accomplish, it’s what you try. And I tried as hard as I could. It was a good two years. I feel very, very good about it.”

Kaufman is not leaving public service just yet. He is the newly-appointed chair of the congressional oversight panel of TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Kaufman also said he’ll do some teaching, work for some non-profit organizations and spend more time with his grandchildren.

Brynteson said the library still has to process and conserve all of the material. She projects the collection will be available to the public in January 2013. 

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