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Udall Archives

The U.S. Congress established the Udall Foundation in 1992 as an independent executive branch agency to honor the legacy of Morris K. Udall’s 30 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives. Morris Udall was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1961. During his tenure, he served as chairman of what is now the Committee on Natural Resources for over 10 years and was one of the most creative and productive legislators of the 20th century. His sense of humor, civility, and a strong bipartisan spirit led him to distinguish between political opponents and enemies.

L-R: Stewart L. Udall and Morris K. Udall
© 1975 Shepard Sherbell/Corbis; Courtesy The University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections

Morris Udall’s concern for Native Americans and love of the environment resulted in numerous pieces of legislation moving through Congress. Chief among his accomplishments was the Alaska Lands Act of 1980, which doubled the size of the National Park system and tripled the size of the national wilderness system. Other significant legislation includes the Postal Reform Act, Indian Child Welfare Act, Archaeological Resources Protection Act, and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Morris Udall was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1979. In May 1991, he resigned from Congress for health reasons, and he died on December 12, 1998.

Stewart Udall, who also represented southern Arizona in Congress from 1955 to 1961, was Morris Udall’s older brother. The two worked together on many environmental and Native American initiatives while Stewart Udall was Secretary of the Interior and Morris Udall a member of Congress. In 2009, Congress enacted legislation to add Stewart Udall into the Foundation, renaming it the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.

Stewart Udall’s remarkable career in public service also left an indelible mark on the nation’s environmental and cultural heritage. In 1960, President Kennedy appointed Stewart Udall Secretary of the Interior, where his accomplishments during eight years under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson earned him a special place among those ever to serve in that post and have made him an icon in the environmental and conservation communities. He oversaw the addition of four parks, six national monuments, eight seashores and lakeshores, nine recreation areas, 20 historic sites, and 56 wildlife refuges. His best-selling book on environmental attitudes in the United States, The Quiet Crisis (1963), along with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, is credited with creating a consciousness in the country leading to the environmental movement. Stewart Udall died on March 20, 2010.

The Udall legacy is a shared legacy, rooted in the work of the Udall brothers that dominated environmental reform for three decades. The Udalls’ careers were distinguished by civility, integrity, consensus, and a commitment to the preservation of the nation’s natural environment.

The University of Arizona’s Special Collections houses the papers of Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall, and is home to the Morris K. Udall Oral History Project.

Morris K. Udall Collection
The collection comprises Morris King Udall's professional and public papers documenting his 30 years as a U.S. Representative from Arizona's 2nd Congressional District, his tenure as Chairman of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, and his campaign for the 1976 Democratic Presidential nomination. >MORE

Stewart L. Udall Collection
The collection comprises Stewart Lee Udall's professional and public papers, including items relating to the 84th, 85th, and 86th Congresses. >MORE

Morris K. Udall Oral History Project
The Oral History Project includes interviews with former Presidents, former and current Congressmen and Senators, journalists and intellectuals, key staff members and campaign aides, and family members and friends. Topics covered include early Arizona history, Congressional history, Alaska wilderness preservation, the Central Arizona Project, bipartisanship, life on the presidential campaign trail, the beginning of the end of the Vietnam War, the beginnings of the Democratic Study Group, and the role of poker-playing in congressional politics. >MORE