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Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0256
telephone (757) 683-5350
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The Papers of Thomas Randolph McNamara MG 4

Scope and Contents - Organization - Access - Container List


Thomas Randolph McNamara was born in Evanston, Illinois on February 17, 1925. He has spent most of his life in Norfolk, Virginia. He was educated at Virginia Military Institute where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (1949). He received his Bachelor of Laws degree from Washington and Lee University (1952). Mr. McNamara is married to the former Mary Bradford Colton. They have six children: Thomas Randolph, Jr.; John Colton; David Brooke; Mary Bradford; Leigh Douglas and Robert Hadley.

After returning from naval service in World War II and completing his education, Mr. McNamara joined the law firm of Williams, Cocke and Tunstall in 1952 and remained with that firm for 18 years. He practiced law on his own in Norfolk from January 1971 to January 1976 when the Virginia General Assembly elected him to a circuit judgeship in Norfolk. Mr. McNamara's political career spanned a period of nine years. He was elected to the House of Delegates in 1967 and reelected in 1969. In 1972 he sought and won a four-year term in the Virginia Senate. In the House of Delegates his principal committee assignments were Courts of Justice (1970-1971), Counties, Cities and Towns (1968-1971) and Labor (1970-1971). His Senate Committee assignments were Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources; Courts of Justice; Rehabilitation and Social Services; Transportation. He also served as chairman of the Policy Advisory Committee of James River 3(c) Comprehensive Water Quality Management Study. In 1975 Governor Mills E. Godwin appointed him to the chairmanship of the State Water Control Board.

Mr. McNamara announced his intention in 1975 to return to the private practice of law in Norfolk. In January 1976, however, he was elected by the General Assembly to fill a circuit judgeship.

Mr. McNamara is a member of numerous civic and professional organizations. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar, the American, Norfolk, and Portsmouth Bar Associations; the Norfolk chapters of V.M.I. and Washington and Lee Alumni Associations; Vice-Chairman of the Lay Advisory Board, DePaul Hospital; the Board of Directors, Southeastern Tidewater Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc.; Vice-Chairman of the Norfolk Charter Advisory Study Commission (1968-1971); chairman of the Steering Committee, Tidewater Assembly in Family Life; vice-president, Health-Welfare-Recreation Planning Council; member, Mayor's Youth Commission; Board of Directors, United Drug Abuse Council, Inc.; co-chairman, Tidewater Chapter, National Council of Christians and Jews; member, coordinating Committee on Services for the Handicapped Child of the Virginia Council on Health and Medical Care.

Scope and Contents

The McNamara papers are principally the records of his service in the Virginia General Assembly as a member of the House of Delegates (1968-1971) and the Senate (1972-1976), annual reports of state agencies, reports of legislative study commissions and reports of the Virginia Advisory Legislative Council.

The legislative papers include a substantial number of publications of state agencies, e.g., annual reports, reports of legislative study commissions, Virginia Advisory Legislative Council reports, copies of bills and legislative correspondence. The correspondence consists of constituent letters, correspondence with officials of Tidewater area local governments and professional organizations.

The State Water Control Board files are not the official records of the board. They include Mr. McNamara's correspondence as a member of the board, staff communications, staff activities reports, letter ballots, minutes of meetings, publications distributed to members of the board and newspaper clippings related to the activities of the board. The political papers consist of some correspondence, publications, clippings and briefs in the Virginia reapportionment cases. The speech file is principally political speeches from 1967 to 1973. The last two boxes in the collection consist of newspaper clippings.


The collection is divided into five series: I: Legislative (57 boxes); II: State Water Control Board (15 boxes); III: Political (3 boxes); IV: Speeches (1 box); V: Newspaper Clippings (2 boxes).

Series I: Legislative Files
Sub Series A: Business Matters; Session Summaries; Miscellaneous
Sub Series B: Session Summary--1275; Calendar of Events; Special Session--1969
Sub Series C: Bills; Bill Summaries; Model Assembly; Legislative Process
Sub Series D: Commission on the Legislative Process; Publications
Sub Series E: Legislative Correspondence, 1967-1975; Legislative Material, 1969-1975
Sub Series F: Legislative Correspondence: Norfolk
Sub Series G: Legislative Correspondence: Portsmouth, Virginia Beach; Proposed Programs
Sub Series H: Legislative Correspondence: Virginia Municipal League
Sub Series I: Legislative Correspondence; Business and Industry
Sub Series J: Legislative Correspondence: Education
Sub Series K: Legislative Correspondence: Environment
Sub Series L: Legislative Correspondence: Finances
Sub Series M: Legislative: General Administration
Sub Series N: Legislative Correspondence: Health and Welfare
Sub Series O: Legislative: Justice
Sub Series P: Legislative Correspondence: Transportation

Series II: Records of Service on the State Water Control Board
Sub Series A. Correspondence; Staff Communications; Reports; Meetings
Sub Series B: Projects
Sub Series C: Newspaper Clippings

Series III: Political Papers
Sub Series A: Correspondence and Campaign Materials

Series IV: Speeches

Series V: Newspaper Clippings


Gift of Thomas R. McNamara, January 1976
Accession # A76-4, A76-8


The collection is open to researchers without restrictions. Questions about literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian.


78 Hollinger Document Cases, 32.5 linear feet

Revised: 7/14/08