Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

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Collection Overview

Biographical Note

Scope and Content Note

Series:



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Collection Overview
Creator: John A. Volpe.
Title:John A. Volpe papers
Dates: 1943-1983
Call Number:M67
Location:64/1-2, 65/4, 71/3-4
Volume: 82.50 cubic ft. (83 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract: The papers of John A. Volpe document his tenure as a public servant, extending from his state service in Massachusetts, including a term as Commissioner of Public Works in 1953-1956 and three terms as Governor of Massachusetts in 1960-1962 and 1964-1968, through his term as national Secretary of Transportation in 1968-1973, and ending with his posting as Ambassador to Italy in 1973-1977. The collection spans 1952-1976, with the bulk of the materials falling between 1961 and 1968.
Biographical Abstract: John Anthony Volpe, born the son of Italian immigrants in 1908, was a successful Massachusetts businessman and accomplished public servant. He served as Commissioner of Public Works in Massachusetts in 1953, was appointed Federal Highway Commissioner under Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957, was elected Governor of Massachusetts three times (in 1960, 1964, and 1966), was appointed Secretary of Transportation under Richard Nixon in 1969, and was appointed Ambassador to Italy in 1973. While Governor of Massachusetts, he established Massachusetts' first sales tax and helped pass legislation that extended the governor's term from two years to four. As Federal Highway Commissioner and then as Secretary of Transportation, he championed traffic safety and the Federal Interstate Highway System, and was instrumental in the creation of AMTRAK. Volpe died in 1994, survived by his wife and two children.
Arrangement: Organized into 7 series: 1. Early State Service 1943-1959; 2. Governor, 1960-1962; 3. Governor, 1964-1966; 4. Governor, 1966-1968; 5. Secretary of Transportation, 1969-1973; 6. Ambassador to Italy, 1973-1977; and 7. Audio-Visual Materials, 1954-1968.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Volpe, John A.
  • Ainley, Lester
  • Brooke, Edward William , 1919-
  • Conte, Silvio Otto, 1921-1991
  • Cushing, Richard, 1895-
  • Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
  • Finger, Alexander E.
  • Gaffney, James J., Jr.
  • Goldwater, Barry M. (Barry Morris), 1909-
  • Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
  • Kennedy, John Fitzgerald, 1917-1963
  • Lodge, Henry Cabot, 1902-
  • Nixon, Richard Milhous, 1913-1994
  • Peabody, Endicott, 1920-
  • Rockefeller, Nelson Aldrich, 1908-1979
  • Ross, Helen
  • Saltonstall, Leverett, 1892-1979
  • Tauro, G. Joseph
  • Tauro, Joseph L.
  • Sargent, Francis W., 1915-

  • Massachusetts. Governor (1960-1963: Volpe) -- Records and correspondence
  • Massachusetts. Governor (1964-1968: Volpe) -- Records and correspondence
  • United States. Dept. of Transportation -- Records and correspondence

  • Administrative agencies
  • Ambassadors -- Italy
  • Dog racing -- Massachusetts
  • Education -- Massachusetts
  • Government consultants -- Massachusetts
  • Government correspondence -- Massachusetts
  • Government paperwork -- Law and legislation -- Massachusetts
  • Government publications -- Massachusetts
  • Governors -- Inaugural addresses
  • Governors -- Massachusetts
  • Governors -- Term of office
  • Highway planning -- Law and legislation -- Massachusetts
  • Horse racing -- Massachusetts
  • Housing authorities -- Massachusetts
  • Insurance, Automobile -- Rates -- Massachusetts
  • Interstate Highway System
  • Massachusetts -- Politics and government -- 1951-
  • Patronage, Political -- Massachusetts
  • Public health administration -- Massachusetts
  • Public works -- Massachusetts
  • Sales tax -- Law and legislation -- Massachusetts
  • Sales tax -- Massachusetts
  • Strikes and lockouts -- Local transit -- Massachusetts -- Boston
  • Traffic safety -- Massachusetts
  • Vietnamese Conflict -- 1961-1975

Restrictions:The collection is unrestricted.
Related Materials:

John A. Volpe material also resides at the Massachusetts State Archives and at Wakefield High School. The entirety of the Massachusetts State Archives holdings relate to his terms as governor and include: Revolutionary Bicentennial materials, speeches, legislative review files, appointment files, correspondence, subject files, and transition files. Materials in the Massachusetts State Archives collection are similar to Northeastern University's collection, but the overlap of subjects and persons is small. Wakefield High School houses the Governor John A. Volpe Archives and includes memorabilia and all of Volpe's campaign material.

Processor:Finding aid prepared by Molly Overholt, April 2002