The collection houses a rich variety of photographs that primarily illustrate the senator's activities throughout his Senate career. Photographs depict Senator Tower visiting in his office with constituents; meeting with Presidents, members of Congress, and government officials; traveling in Vietnam; campaigning in Texas; spending time with his family and attending various functions. A few pre- and post- Senate photographs exist, including one of Tower at age twelve standing outside a cabin, one taken during World War II, and others from the START talks and his Secretary of Defense hearings.
The photographs are arranged in five broad categories: chronological, subject, general, oversized and framed. Approximately half of the photographs arrived at the Tower Library in a single chronological sequence and these remain as received. About a third of the photos were found scattered throughout the collection in large envelopes, which occasionally had subject descriptions written on the envelopes. These photos are arranged in broad subject categories such as Public Relations (constituents, individuals, groups, parties, dinners, speeches), Trips, Staff, TV Appearances, Military, Family, V.I.P., Campaign/ Political, Portraits/ Candids. Within each subject, the folders are arranged in approximate chronological order. In addition, many photos were found singly or in small groups within file folders. These photographs were replaced with an annotated photocopy and filed in the general category. This group of photos is arranged in alphabetical order according to the series from which they were removed. The oversized photos, those larger than 8 by 10 inches, are relatively small in number and are individually entered into the database by title. The framed category includes approximately 125 photographs, both standard size and oversize, that were removed from cardboard backed frames for preservation purposes. The majority of these photographs are pictures of the senator with well-known persons, and many are autographed. Since at least some of these originally hung in Senator Tower's office and all were considered significant enough to frame, they are kept together as a distinct group.
The arrangement scheme provides both chronological and subject access for the many photographs, some of which may be found in more than one place. Folder titles were derived from the original folder/ envelope or notes on the backs of photographs. Where a title did not previously exist, a descriptive title was created and placed in brackets. Each folder indicates title, number of photos, black and white or color, and date. In addition, the abstract field identifies autographs, names of persons in the photos, location and other information. This field also indicates whether slides, negatives or duplicates exist and their location.
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