The Libraries’ Department of Special Collections and Archives recently acquired a significant addition to the papers of Congressman Clement J. Zablocki—photographs documenting his career in public service. The images had been in the possession of his brother, Ralph, since Congressman Zablocki’s death in 1983. Many of these images are now available online in a new digital collection: Clement J. Zablocki: Photographs of Wisconsin’s “Mr. Democrat.”
The longtime representative from Milwaukee’s south side was known for his “down-home” style and attentiveness to
his constituents. Indeed, Rep. Zablocki was not seriously challenged for reelection until the very end of his political career. But
“Clem” also “walked with kings,” serving as a member and later chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Most of the photographs reflect this aspect of his career. Many of the images were made during his trips abroad on fact-finding
delegations and at “photo opportunities” with presidents, visiting heads of state and other dignitaries.
The Department of Special Collections welcomes inquiries concerning the Zablocki photos and related holdings. Other digital collections about Wisconsin politics include audio excerpts from Joseph McCarthy’s speeches and to photographs of Tommy Thompson.