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John N. Erlenborn Congressional Papers

Identifier: SC-101

Scope and Contents

The collection documents most of John Neal Erlenborn's activities while he was a member of Congress, which runs from 1966 to 1984. Letters from constituents about various topics of debate are included, as well as notes and other information regarding public statements and speeches given by Erlenborn in various U.S. locations. During his time in office, Erlenborn was active on the Committee on Government Operations and Committee on Education and Laro, and to a lesser extent the Committee on Population and the National Commission on Student Financial Assistance. Most of his activity in championing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 can be found in series 3.3, but bills pertaining to specific aspects of ERISA can be found in 3.1 and 3.2, as can information on the ERISA oversight hearings after 1974.

The collection also includes bills introduced or initially sponsored by Erlenborn, including those introduced by committees. Bound hearings regarding these bills have been left accornding to the original order of the collection, in order to serve as a frame of reference. Scrapbooks have been left intact, and include mostly newspaper clippings and some correspondence and other ephemera. Of note are two letters from Gerald Ford as well as a document officially designating Erlenborn as the nominee for Republican candidate for Congress.
Photographs are organized by date and are mostly of visitors to Erlenborn's office, either in Illinois or Washington, D.C., but also included here are photographs of important Presidential and Congressional events. Gerald Ford, King Peter II of Yugoslavia, Richard Nixon, Helmut Schmidt, Orrin Hatch, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and the winners of various "Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow" competitions are some of the individuals appearing with Erlenborn in this series.
Erlenborn also recieved numerous trophies, plaques, and other items from various organizations, including labor unions, watchdog groups, and grade school classes, which are included in the collection.


  • 1965 - 1984


Biographical / Historical

John Neal Erlenborn was born in Elmhurst, Ill. on February 8, 1927. After graduating from Immacualte Conception High School in Elmhurst he briefly attended University of Notre Dame before enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He eventually obtained a law degree from Loyola University Law School in Chicago in 1949. After law school, Erlenborn practiced at a private law firm, and also acted as the assistant State's attorney, both in DuPage County, Ill., between 1950-1952. In 1957, he began serving as a State Representative for the 36th District (Springfield, Ill.). Here Erlenborn participated as the Chairman of several committees, including the House Governmental Economy Committee, the Special Committee to Investigate Rent Gouging, the Illinois Economy Bloc, the Agriculture, Conservation, Insurance, Judicary, and Elections and Reapportionment Committees.

In 1965, Erlenborn was elected by the 14th District of Illinois to serve as GOP Representative in the 89th Congress. During his tenure in Congress, Erlenborn became known as "Mr. ERISA" for his consistent support of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which was passed in 1974 after six years of debate. In addition to his support of ERISA, Erlenborn was active on both the Committee, on Government Operations and the Committee on Education and Labor, taking stances that favored the interets of business and management. He opposed bills to increase the minimum wage, fought the creation of consumer protection agencies and the Department of Education, and attempted to strip the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of any enforcement authority.

Erlenborm did not run for re-election in 1984, but remained very active in political affairs, especially those involving commerce, labor, and pensions. He was 78 and living in Warrenton, Virginia at the time of his death in 2005.


145 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



John N. Erlenborn represented the 14th Congressional district of Illinois in the United States Congress between 1965 and 1985 (89th to 98th Congresses). He retired after serving in the 98th U.S. Congress. Collection consists of correspondence with constituents, transcripts of speeches, documentation of all committee work (particuliarly the Committee on Government Operation and the Comittee on Education and Labor), bills introduced by Erlenborn, photographs, scrapbooks, and other ephemera.


In most cases original order has been maintained. As a result of this, series 3 and 4 are arranged chronologically and by bill or resolution number; please consult with the archivist if you are interested in viewing materials on a particular subject and do not know their specific date or number.

1. Correspondence, 1969-1984
2. Statement, Speeches, and Remarks, 1969-1984
3. Committee Work, 1967-1984
4. Bills Introduced, 1966-1984
5. Press Releases and Publications, 1966-1984
6. Scrapbooks, 1965-1984
7. Photographs, 1966-1984

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from John N. Erlenborn of Hinsdale, Ill. in 1984.

Related Materials

Constituent correspondence from DuPage and Will Counties concerning foreign policy and business and labor legislation in 1967-1968 held at the Illinois State Historical Library.

Separated Materials

Oversize scrapbooks containing newsclippings and some correspondence, as well as Congressional Memorial proceedings, trophies, political pins, stickers, plaques, memorial books. Slides, film clips, souvenir plates, and "Lincoln Log".

Scrapbooks: OS-SC-101-01: 1965 OS-SC-101-02: 1966 OS-SC-101-03: 1968-1969 OS-SC-101-04: 1969-1971

  • Black lung Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
John N. Erlenborn Congressional Collection, 1965-1984
Benn P. Joseph
December 2007
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Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections Repository

Benedictine University
5700 College Rd.
Lisle IL 60532 United States