Richard Richards Republican National Committee Collection
Scope and Contents
The Richard Richards’ Republican National Committee Collection contains files, correspondence and supporting
material written, received and collected during Richards’ tenure as Chairman of the Republican National Committee,
January 1981 to January 1983. Designated MS 16, the collection is organized in a chronological/topical arrangement.
Segmented by calendar year (1981 or 1982), the files are identified under ten primary headings and subsequently
ordered alphabetically/chronologically. The ten primary headings are as follows:
Correspondence — Incoming and outgoing correspondence; letters of congratulations to Richards upon his appointment as Chairman; invitations to activities and events in which Richards was asked to participate; invitations to social functions; memoranda; personal notes; thank-you letters. (144 folders)
Newspaper Clippings — Photocopies of articles from a variety of the nation’s newspapers chronicling the daily coverage of the activities of Chairman Richards in his administration of the Republican National Committee. (55 folders)
Phone-O-Grams — Self-duplicating message forms recording incoming calls to Chairman Richards. (27 volumes)
Polls and Surveys — Studies of the electorate’s opinions on policies and actions initiated by the Reagan Administration of promoted by the Republican National Committee. (42 folders)
Press Releases — Official news dispatches from the offices of the Republican National committee. (17 folders)
Speaking Engagement Requests — Itineraries and schedules of the Chairman’s speaking engagements. (35 folders)
Speeches — Correspondence and supporting materials relating to invitations for the Chairman to appear before various civic, political and special interest groups. (65 folders)
State Reports — Correspondence relating Republican party activities and the needs of various state organizations. (87 folders)
Subject Files — Correspondence, memoranda, reports, etc. arranged and indexed by intrinsic content. (149 folders)
Tapes — Recordings of addresses, interviews and press conferences by Chairman Richards, other members of the Republican National Committee, and various prominent political figures. (163 tapes)
- Creation: 1981 - 1983
Biographical / Historical
Richard Richards’ political interests developed early. Active in student government while attending Weber
High School (1946-1950) and Weber College (1950-1952), he served as sophomore class president at both
schools, was a candidate for student body president at both schools, and was elected president of Phi Ro Pi
(National Junior College Debate Society). In 1952, his final year at Weber College, he organized the “College
Republicans” to campaign for local, state and national GOP candidates.
Following a military tour of duty during the Korean War (1952-1955), Richards returned to Ogden and political activism as a precinct chairman in the 1956 elections. In 1958, he worked in the Congressional campaign of Henry Aldous Dixon, former Weber College President. Though involved with studies and the University of Utah College of Law, he found time to campaign for Richard Nixon in the 1960 Presidential contest, and to serve as Chairman of the Utah Young Republicans.
Taking a Juris Doctor Degree in 1961, Richards embarked upon his career as an attorney. For some twenty years thereafter, he worked as a partner in the Ogden law firms of Froerer, Horowitz, Parker, Richards & Thornley (1962-1972); Mecham & Richards (1972-1979); and Richard Richards & Associates (1979-1981). Professional demands did not, however, lessen his enthusiasm for politics. Throughout the Sixties and Seventies he maintained an active role in the Republican Party. In return for his efforts in the 1960 re-election campaign of Utah Senator Wallace Bennett, he received a staff appointment as a Field representative. During the elections of 1962, he worked as the Weber County campaign chairman for Laurence J. Burton, GOP candidate from Utah’s First Congressional District. Successful in his bid for that office, Congressman Burton asked Richards to join him in Washington D.C. as a legislative aide and administrative assistant. It was to be the first of several sojourns in the nation’s capitol for the Utah attorney.
Not all of Richard Richards’ political energies were expanded in the furtherance of others’ aspirations. In the early Sixties, he ran for election to both the Utah Legislature and the Ogden City Council. In 1970, he ran for Utah’s First District Congressional seat. He lost by a small margin to Democrat Gunn McKay. Those defeats did not deter him from his objectives, however.
In 1966, he gained the post of Utah State Republican Chairman, empowered to act as a voting member of the Republican National Committee for two terms. As Chairman, he also led the Utah delegation at the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami, Florida, where he was invited to give one of the seconding speeches to George Romney’s nomination for President of the United States. During 1971-1972, he served as the director for the Utah and the regional Committee to Re-elect the President, and attended the Republican National Convention as a delegate instrumental to the Nixon campaign. Again a delegate at the 1976 convention, Richards backed the first bid for office by presidential contender Ronald Reagan, and was subsequently asked to join Reagan’s “Citizens for the Republic” committee. At the 1980 Convention, Richards appeared not as the Western Regional Coordinator for the Reagan-Bush campaign, in charge of political activities in nineteen states.
Following Reagan’s election in 1980, Richards was appointed as leader of the Administration’s transition team for the Department of the Interior. As such, he supervised preparations for the Department’s transition from Cecil Andrus to James Watt, overseeing the formulation of policy proposals consistent with Reagan’s campaign promises and the Republican Party’s platform. Concluding these duties, Richards was “hand-picked” by President Reagan to serve as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. He assumed that office in January 1981 and held it until February 1983. In part, his responsibilities as Chairman included, “supervision of the Republican Party and coordination of political campaigns for gubernatorial, senatorial, congressional, and state legislative races throughout the country.” In addition, he was in charge of raising ‘in excess of $40 million to allocate to Party’s priority efforts.”
In regard to his services as Chairman, President Reagan called Richard Richards, “one of the best and brightest political leaders of our nation.’ Vice President Bush concurred with that opinion, adding that the Republican Party, “is fortunate to have Dick Richards at the helm as we launch the ship of state on its brave new beginning.” In their Book, Who Runs Washington, authors Michael Kilian and Arnold Sawislak place Richard Richards as “number one on the list of top ten political professionals.”
Since the end of his term as Chairman, Richards has worked as a partner in the Washington law firm of Bliss, Craft & Richards, specializing in energy-related law. He has also acted as senior advisor to Senator Paul Laxalt, General Chairman of the Republican Party, and Frank Fahrenkopf, Chairman of the Republican National Committee. His future plans include an eventual return to his home in Ogden.
Language of Materials
Box 1 1981 Correspondence: Adams- Invitations, "E"
Box 2 1981 Correspondence: Invitations "F"-Utah
Box 3 1981 Newspaper Clipping File
Box 4 1981 Phone-O-Grams Phone Message Record Books
Box 5 1981 Polls and Surveys. Press Releases
Box 6 1981 Speaking Engagement Requests and Speeches
Box 7 1981 Speeches. State Reports
Box 8 State Reports. Subject Files:A-G
Box 9 Subject Files: L-P
Box 10 Subject Files: R-W
Box 11 1982 Correspondence: A-C
Box 12 1982 Correspondence: C-I
Box 13 1982 Correspondence: I-Personal
Box 14 1982 Correspondence: Personal-Utah
Box 15 1982 Newspaper Clipping File
Box 16 1982 Phone-O-Grams
Box 17 1982 Polls and Surveys
Box 18 1982 Press Releases
Box 19 1982 Speaking Engagment Requests- Speeches
Box 20 Speeches
Box 21 State Reports
Box 22 State Reports
Box 23 1982 Subject Files: A-C
Box 24 1982 Subject Files: C-L
Box 25 1982 Subject Files: L-P
Box 26 1982 Subject Files: R-W
Box 27 1981/82 Correspondence Name and Address Listing
Box 28 1981-1982 Publications
Box 29 1981-1982 Speech Materials
Box 30 Tapes 1-63
Box 31 Tapes 64-163
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