Eunice Baird Whittlesey was born in Yorkville, New York. She married Joseph I. Whittlesey on August 30, 1947, and had one daughter, Anne Whittlesey Donlan. Mrs. Whittlesey graduated from the University at Albany (then known as the New York State College for Teachers) in 1944. Mrs. Whittlesey began her professional life as an English, Speech and Drama teacher in Connecticut and Massachusetts. She has also held several prominent positions in the New York State and national Republican parties. She was a staunch supporter of Nelson Rockefeller during both his tenure as Governor of New York and as Vice President of the United States during the Ford administration as well as a faithful supporter of President George H. W. Bush. Her talent for coordinating groups of people has been a great asset throughout her career.
While she worked closely alongside Governor Nelson Rockefeller, campaigned faithfully for several Republican candidates and created programs to raise both political and environmental awareness, little has been written about her efforts in works about the Rockefeller administration or the New York Republican State Committee. However, her name does appear in Who's Who of American Women and Who's Who of Women in World Politics.
Mrs. Whittlesey's first political role was in 1960 when she served as the Schenectady County Chair for the Nixon for President campaign. Following that date, she served as the co-chair for several presidential campaigns including Gerald Ford in 1976 and Ronald Reagan in 1980. In 1967, at the request of Nelson Rockefeller, Mrs. Whittlesey created the Volunteer's Tie Line, a group of volunteers that acted as a link between the state government and the public. Its main purpose was to keep women informed of political information that had direct bearing on them. She also acted as its first chair, holding this position from 1967-1970.
In addition to volunteering for political causes, Mrs. Whittlesey also supported environmental awareness. In 1966, while working as a consultant and program associate for the New York State Environmental Health Services Unit, Pure Waters Division, Eunice Whittlesey created the Ambassadors to Bring about Action Through Environmental Study or ABATES. ABATES was a volunteer group that approached the topic of environmental awareness by gathering groups of informed citizens to study the environmental problems throughout upstate New York. They hoped that this dialog between private citizens and legislators would promote a better environment by providing information about improving and sustaining the quality of upstate New York's land and water resources. Guided by studies produced by the New York Department of Health, the study action groups discussed the progress that members of the private sector were making towards compliance with environmental policies passed during the Rockefeller administration. In 1974, Mrs. Whittlesey organized the "Keep New York State Clean" program. This program was a statewide initiative to organize groups of volunteers in picking up litter. This program provided garbage bags that were stamped with the group's logo in order to promote environmental awareness. Mrs. Whittlesey also worked in support of the Transport Bond Issue that called for the modernization of the Schenectady-Scotia (Gateway) Bridge, the improvement of roadways and to protect the natural beauty of communities along the highways.
In 1970, Mrs. Whittlesey co-chaired Housewives for Rockefeller along with Dorothy McHughes. This group of volunteers campaigned for the election of Nelson Rockefeller as Governor of New York. Acting as regional coordinators, McHughes and Whittlesey recruited county chairs to spread information about Rockefeller's political stances to women and to encourage them to vote.
In addition to her volunteer roles as a supporter and organizer, Mrs. Whittlesey also was active in the New York and national Republican parties. She acted as a national committee member from 1977 to 1994, was a Delegate at Large at the Republican National Convention in 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992. She was also the Vice Chair for the New York Republican State Committee from 1970-1977.
During her years as a national committee and New York Republican State Committee member, Mrs. Whittlesey was appointed to several committees. In 1980, she served as the chair of the Housing Committee for the Republican National Committee in Detroit. She was appointed Commissioner of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Centennial Commission from 1986 to 1988 by Secretary of Interior Donald Hodel and the New York Statue of Liberty Centennial Commission from 1984 to 1986 by Senator Warren M. Anderson. In 1990, she was chosen by President Bush as one of six delegates to oversee Bulgaria's national elections. She also served as a Presidential Elector in 1972, 1974 and 1980.
In addition to her more politically oriented projects, Mrs. Whittlesey is also a loyal supporter of the University at Albany. Beginning during her undergraduate years, Mrs. Whittlesey has been actively involved with her alma mater. She was a member of Myskania, an oversight committee for all non-academic student events at the University. She has also been an active member of the University at Albany Alumni Association. She played an instrumental part in creating the University at Albany's Veterans Wall of Honor. Noting that many men and women who attended the University at Albany were denied the honor of being recognized for serving their country, Mrs. Whittlesey, with the help of University Archivist Geoffrey Williams, spearheaded a group of alumni that compiled a list of over 3,000 veterans and solicited family members for photographs of their loved ones. The culmination of their efforts is a 36-foot long mural that is housed in the University Library. She is also involved with creating a visual database of notable University at Albany graduates.
The bulk of the Eunice Whittlesey collection consists of documents created by the New York Republican State Committee, the Republican National Committee and several other Republican groups. This series is mostly made up of programs from the New York Republican State Committee Dinners and Republican National Conventions she attended. It also contains the letters she received from members of the New York Republican State Committee and the Republican National Committee, the handbooks used by members of the state and national Republican parties, the New York Republican State Committee's and Republican National Committee's press releases and news clippings and documents created by the Presidential Electors of 1984. This series also contains several miscellaneous Republican newsletters and the correspondence she received from fellow Republicans regarding her services as a supporter of their campaigns and the many invitations from events she attended.
The Projects Series has several large gaps in it. These primarily fall in the Housewives for Rockefeller materials. While the collection includes this organization's financial records, lists of county chairs, and newsletters, it does not include any of the minutes taken or the speeches given by county chairs to recruit new volunteers. This is also the case for the Volunteer's Tie-Line. The documents concerning the Ambassadors to Bring Action Through Environmental Study are extensive.
The collection is organized into the following series:Series 1- Biographical Information 1924-2000, Series 2- New York Republican State Committee and Republican National Committee 1952-1998, Series 3- Projects 1966-1999, Series 4- Alumni Association 1941-2001, Series 5- Memorabilla 1966-1992, Series 6- Photographs 1970-1984.
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Eunice Baird Whittlesy in 2001 and 2002.
Processed by: Sarah Campbell
Collection record created by: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on
Published: 2017-04-14 10:39:47 -0400
EAD file created, 2014
Encoded in EAD by Conversion and encoding by ArchProteus, 2014
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Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Eunice Baird Whittlesey Papers, 1924-2001. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Whittlesey Papers).
|1||2||Family and Career Scrapbook||1962-1989|
|1||3||Family Scrapbook, Photocopies||1924-1980|
|1||4||NYRSC Correspondence||1952, 1960-1977|
|1||9||NYRSC, Electoral College Handbook and Minutes||1984|
|1||10||NYRSC Handbooks||ca 1970-1979|
|1||11||NYRSC Identification Placard||Undated|
|2||1||NYSRC Newsletters||1971-1978, 1988, 1994|
|2||2||NYSRC Programs, Dinner||1966-1971|
|2||3||NYSRC Programs, Dinner||1972-1973|
|2||4||NYSRC Programs, Dinner||1974-1976|
|2||5||NYSRC Programs, Dinner||1977-1979, 1982-1983, 1993|
|2||6||NYSRC Programs, Miscellaneous||1964, 1967, 1972-1974|
|2||7||NYSRC Programs, Miscellaneous||1974, 1976-1978, 1983-1987|
|3||1||NYRSC and RNC, Awards||1973, 1983|
|3||2||NYRSC and RNC, Lists of Delegates and Members and Organizational Charts||1976-1987|
|3||3||NYRSC and RNC, News Clippings,||1968-1990|
|3||4||NYRSC and RNC, Political Literature||1970-1988|
|3||7||RNC, Phonograph Records, "Spiro T. Agnew, Speaks Out," "Together a New Beginning," and "Rockin, for Rocky,"||1970-1979|
|3||8||RNC, Programs and Tickets||1976, 1980, 1984|
|3||9||RNC, Republican National Convention, Sub-Committee on Housing||1979-1980|
|3||10||Robert A. Taft Institute of Government Seminar, Reports, Program and Certificate||1978|
|Oversized 1||1||Presidential Inauguration||1973|
|Oversized 1||2||Republican National Convention, Program,||1968|
|3||9||ABATES, Ambassador's Guides||1969|
|3||11||ABATES, Environmental Publications||1967-1969|
|4||1||ABATES, Environmental Publications, Newsletters and News Clippings,||1969-1973, Undated|
|4||3||ABATES, Reports on Program Success||1969-1970|
|4||4||ABATES, Spoilers, Environmental Poetry by Margie Lee Johnson||Undated|
|4||5||Ellis Island Centennial Commission, Correspondence, News Clippings and Brochures||1986-1987, 1999|
|4||6||Housewives for Rockefeller, Administration||1970|
|4||7||Housewives for Rockefeller, Correspondence, News Clippings and Press Releases||1966-1994|
|1||3||Housewives for Rockefeller, Poster,||1969|
|1||4||Housewives for Rockefeller, Press Releases||Undated|
|4||8||Housewives for Rockefeller, Publicity||Undated|
|4||9||Housewives for Rockefeller, Women's Unit of the Secretary to Governor Rockefeller, Newsletters and Press Releases||1967-1978|
|4||10||Volunteer's Tie Line, Administration||1967|
|4||11||Volunteer's Tie Line, Correspondence||1967-1968|
|4||12||Volunteer's Tie Line, Handbook and Governor's Conference on Volunteers||1960-1969|
|4||13||Volunteer's Tie Line, Newsletters and Publicity||Undated|
|4||14||Volunteer's Tie Line, Scrapbook||1966-1972|
|4||15||Alumni Association, Photographs, Programs, and Other Items Associated with the Class of 1944, Photocopies||1941-1944, 2001|
|4||16||Historical Monuments and Art Exhibit Guides||1974-1976, 1991|
|2||2||Housewives for Rockefeller, Apron||1967|
|4||17||Identification Buttons and Ribbons||1972-1991|
|3||3||Jewelry and Other Miscellaneous Items||Undated|
|3||2||Name Tags and Ribbons||1966-1992|
|2||1||Republican National Conventions, New York State Conventions and Presidential Inauguration, Tote Bags||1980-1989|
|1||6||Nelson Rockefeller and Campaign||1970-1979|
|1||8||Presidential Electors||1972, 1980|
|1||9||Republican Women's Conference, Albany||1972|
|1||10||Volunteer's Tie Line||Undated|
|1||11||Commemorative Album from Trip to Taiwan||1984|