Office of the Chief of Staff

Collection Summary

  • Creating Organization: Office of the Chief of Staff
  • Title: Office of the Chief of Staff
  • Dates: 1977-1981
  • Quantity: 111 linear feet open for research, 253 containers
  • Identification:
    Accession Number: 80-1
    Archival Research Catalog (ARC) Identification Number: 1085

Scope and Content

The files consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, publications and personnel materials that represent the function of the Office of the Chief of Staff.

These materials illustrate Hamilton Jordan's role in the Carter Administration from his directorship of the Personnel Advisory Group during the Carter-Mondale Transition in 1976-77 to his assignments as Assistant to the President, 1977-79 and Chief of Staff from 1979-1980.

This collection documents his involvement with other senior administration officials in the selection, screening and appointment of candidates for various offices within the Executive and Judicial branches of government. The material within this collection also focus on the development of budgets and policies; the process of reorganization of the White House; and the establishment of relations with Congress. A substantial portion of the material relates to Jordan's role as political adviser to the President and special administration goals such as: a separate Department of Education, Middle East initiatives and the passage of the Panama Canal Treaties.

Creator Information: Office of the Chief of Staff

The duties of the White House Chief of Staff vary greatly from one administration to another. However, the Chief of Staff has been responsible for overseeing the actions of the White House staff, managing the president's schedule, and deciding who is allowed to meet with the president.

These materials illustrate how the Chief of Staff was responsible for coordinating administration initiatives between White House staff and advisers, cabinet members, and Congress. This office also oversaw the appointment and selection of Executive Branch personnel.

As Chief of Staff, Hamilton Jordan acted as a political adviser to the President and continued to do so until he left the administration in May 1980 to run the Carter-Mondale Re-election campaign. Although he performed similar duties as Assistant to the President, Jordan's position was largely un-structured until 1979 when he was assigned the formal title of Chief of Staff.

Various staff members were assigned to this office under the direction of Hamilton Jordan from 1979-80 and Jack Watson from 1980-81. They were assigned special duties or projects: Alonzo McDonald as Deputy Chief of Staff - Staff Director; S. Stephen Selig III as Special Assistant for Business Liaison; Landon Butler as Special Assistant for Labor Matters; Mark Siegel as Deputy Assistant for Policy Analysis; Richard Hutcheson III as Staff Secretary; Bernard Aronson as Deputy Assistant for Labor Liaison; Thomas Belford in charge of the Reorganization Project; George Moffett as Confidential Assistant; Michael Rowny as Deputy Assistant to the Staff Director; Eleanor Connors as Confidential Assistant to the Chief of Staff; Betty Rainwater as Deputy Assistant for Research; Laurie Lucey as Executive Assistant/Panama Canal Treaties; Amelia Parker as Research Assistant for Policy Analysis; Edie Draper as Administrative Assistant and Bill Simpson as Deputy Assistant.

See biographical information on key office personnel below.

Biographical Data

Hamilton Jordan was born on September 21, 1944 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He grew up in Albany, Georgia and attended the University of Georgia. He received a B.A. in Political Science in 1967. After being disqualified from military service due to leg problems, he worked with the International Voluntary Services, for the South Vietnamese refugee relocation program.

From 1967-1968, Jordan was a management trainee with the Citizen & Southern Bank, Albany, Georgia. Sometime during 1968 he became manager of Jimmy Carter's gubernatorial campaign. After the election, Jordan then worked as the Executive Secretary to Governor Carter and also served as the Director of the Georgia Democratic National Committee.

Jordan was the manager of Carter's 1976 presidential campaign from 1974-1976 and Director of the Personnel Advisory Group, Carter/Mondale Transition Planning group.

From 1977-1978, he served as key advisor and assistant to Jimmy Carter and was formally appointed as Chief of Staff in 1979. In addition, from 1979-1980 he ran the Carter/Mondale reelection campaign.

1n 1981, he authored the book, Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency.

In 1986, he ran for the Democratic nomination for one of Georgia's seats in the United States Senate and lost.

In 1992, he became a high-level staffer on the presidential campaign of independent candidate Ross Perot. In later years he served both as a member of the Founders Council and as an important public advocate for Unity08, a political movement focused on reforming the American two party system.

Landon Butler was born in 1941 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He attended and received a B.A. (English) from Washington and Lee University. He was a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1963-1966. In 1968, he received his MBA from Harvard Business School.

In 1971, he was a member of Governor Jimmy Carter's staff and in 1972 he was a state coordinator for Edmund Muskie's campaign. From 1972-1976 he was President of Amcon of Georgia (a housing development company.)

He served in the Carter Administration as Deputy Assistant to the President, and from 1979-1981 he was Deputy to the White House Chief of Staff.

Stephen Selig was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1943. He received a BBA (General Business) degree from the University of Georgia in 1965. He served in the U.S. Air Force as Airman 1st Class, from 1965-1968. He worked at Selig Enterprises, Inc., from 1968-1973. He became president of the company in 1973.

He was the Deputy Campaign Director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Campaign and Treasurer of the 1977 Inaugural Committee. During the Carter Administration, he served as Special Assistant in the White House Office of Public Liaison from 1977-1978, and Deputy Assistant to the President in the Chief of Staff Office.

George D. Moffett served as Director of Research for the Committee of Americans for the Canal Treaties [COACT], a private organization designed to mobilize public support for ratification of the Panama Canal Treaties. COACT was formed in October 1977 and disbanded after Congress ratified the treaties in the spring of 1978. In April 1978, Moffett became a staff assistant to President Carter. Later that year, he became Assistant to the Chief of Staff, Hamilton Jordan. While working in Jordan's office, he provided staff support on key foreign policy issues such as the SALT II treaties.

Bernard W. Aronson was born May 16, 1946. He is of Jewish religion. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1967. He worked in Appalachia as a VISTA volunteer and then joined the Insurgent Miners for Democracy. He worked in the mine fields for four years helping to organize the famous strikes in Harlan County, Kentucky. In 1977, he went to the White House and wrote speeches for Walter Mondale and later became President Carter's chief speech writer before being transferred to the Chief of Staff Office as a liaison to the business community.

Bill Simpson was born in Gulfport, Mississippi on July 29, 1923. He attended the Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama and the University of Mississippi before graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. He saw combat service as a naval midshipman and officer in the Pacific theater in World War II.

From 1947 to 1965, he was associated with his father and brother in operating the family shrimp and oyster canning facility in Gulfport. From 1965 to 1968, he was special assistant to Mississippi Governor Paul B. Johnson, Jr. Simpson also served as first chairman of the Mississippi Marine Conservation Commission and president of the State Port Authority at Gulf port.

From 1968 through 1978, Simpson was administrative assistant to Senator James O. Eastland of Mississippi, who served as president pro tempore of the Senate from 1972 until his recent retirement. In 1978 he served as deputy assistant to President Carter. In this capacity, Mr. Simpson worked with the Chief of Staff Office staff on priority goals and programs of the administration.

Len Hirsch served as Director of the Anti-Inflation Task Force during the Carter Administration.

Mr. Tom Belford holds a B.S.F.S. with honors from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and an M.A. in Government from Georgetown Graduate School. He worked for Common Cause, a public interest lobbying group, from January 1971 to May 1977. In his term at Common Cause, he was director of issue development and was responsible for developing the overall issues and programs strategy. He also served as Midwest Regional Director and State Issues Coordinator during the 1976 campaign.

He served as Deputy to the Assistant to President Carter for government reorganization in the White House. He was responsible for developing public support for the legislative initiatives of the President's reorganization project and was responsible for working with interest groups affected by reorganization.

Betty Rainwater served as Deputy Press Secretary to President Carter during the 1980 campaign. As Deputy Press Secretary, she was responsible for all contacts with the working press to insure that all campaign trips and activities were properly covered by the electronic and print media. She was also responsible for the printing and distribution of Jimmy Carter's public statements. She also worked in the Chief of Staff office.

Restrictions and Related Materials

Restrictions on Access: These papers contain documents restricted in accordance with Executive Order 12958, which governs National Security policies, and material which has been closed in accordance with the donor's deed of gift.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction: Copyright interest in these papers has been donated to the United States Government. Some of the records may be subject to copyright restrictions. (i.e. newspapers, publications, etc) Researchers should contact the publisher for further information.

Related Material
Related materials in this repository: Domestic Policy Staff (Stu Eizenstat's Files); Congressional Liaison Office; Jack Watson Papers

Index Terms

(Limited to major topics)

Persons: Hamilton Jordan, Landon Butler, Stephen Selig

Subjects: Presidential appointments, Cabinet, Congress, White House Staff, Panama Canal Treaties, presidential campaigns, business, small business, unions, labor, energy, SALT II, government reorganization;

Places: Iran, Middle East

Types of Material: Correspondence, memoranda, reports, publications, briefings, clippings and personnel material.

Administrative Information

Preferred citation: [Type of Document], [Names of Sender and Recipient or Title of Document], [Date], [Collection Title], [Series Title], [Folder Title], [Box Number], Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.

Acquisition information: These historical materials were received under provisions of the instrument of gift that Jimmy Carter signed January 31, 1981.

Processing information: The first series of the collection was opened in 1987. Subsequent series in the collection were opened in 1995, 2009 and 2010. The opening dates are indicated in the series descriptions.

System of Arrangement

The records of the Office of the Chief of Staff are divided into 22 series. Click a series title to access the files.

Series Title Series ID (ARC)
1 Hamilton Jordan's Transition Files 141741
2 Hamilton Jordan's Confidential Files 142099
3 Hamilton Jordan's Subject Files 142231
4 Hamilton Jordan's Chronological Files 142549
5 Hamilton Jordan's Personnel Files 142646
6 Hamilton Jordan's 1980 Campaign Files 142697
7 Landon Butler's Transition Files 142790
8 Landon Butler's Subject Files 142819
9 Landon Butler's 1980 Campaign Files 143328
10 Landon Butler's Memoranda Files 143381
11 Landon Butler's Administrative Files 143415
12 Landon Butler's Telephone Message Logs 143455
13 Stephen Selig's Transition Files 143492
14 Stephen Selig's Office of Public Liaison Files 143518
15 Stephen Selig's Subject Files 143583
16 Stephen Selig's White House Conference On Small Business Files 143914
17 George Moffett's Subject Files 583298
18 Bernie Aronson's Subject Files 583298
19 Bill Simpson's Subject Files 583330
20 Len Hirsch's Subject Files 583333
21 Tom Belford's Subject Files 583320
22 Betty Rainwater's Subject Files 583331