Morris K. Udall: A Lifetime of Service to Arizona and the United States
Special Collections Online Exhibits

Oral History Project


Mo and family with a swordfish. 1960s.

The Morris K. Udall Oral History Project is generously funded by the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation and administered by the University of Arizona Library Special Collections. Its goal is to collect, preserve, and make available an archive of spoken recollections that illuminate the lives and careers of Congressman Udall and the Udall family. The interviews are not intended to be memorials to Congressman Udall or to the Udall family, but rather to advance an understanding of the major issues, events, and personalities of their times.

Those interviewed include former Presidents, former and current Congressmen and Senators, journalists and intellectuals, key staff members and campaign aides, family members and friends. Topics covered include early Arizona history, Congressional history, Alaska wilderness preservation, the Central Arizona Project, bipartisanship in a less polarized time, life on the presidential campaign trail, the beginning of the end of the Vietnam War, the beginnings of the Democratic Study Group, and the role of poker-playing in congressional politics.

Although several themes emerge from these interviews, a few stand out for their consistency. Among them was Mo Udall's leadership style, a style that emphasized respect for one's opponent and an understanding that "one can disagree without being disagreeable." Another was his use of self-deprecating humor to break the ice, defuse tension or frustration, to encourage consensus, or simply to make someone feel more comfortable.

The oral histories of this site are stored as MP3s; a suitable media player (such as Windows Media Player, Quicktime, Winamp, etc.) will be required to listen to them.

When browsing the oral histories, please note that they are listed alphabetically by first name of interviewee and that the transcripts are PDFs.