Research Interviews: Fenno Interview Notes
Research Interview Notes of Richard F. Fenno, Jr.
This inventory describes the research interview notes of Richard F. Fenno, Jr., on the Congressional appropriations process. These notes, which have been donated to the National Archives and Records Administration, cover interviews conducted in Washington, D.C. between 1959 and 1968.
An initial set of interview notes was accessioned by deed of gift to the National Archives and Records Administration on December 14, 1993. The interview notes represent the source material for two books:
- The Power of the Purse: Appropriations Politics in Congress, published in 1966
- Congressmen in Committees: A Comparative View, published in 1973
In Power of the Purse Fenno describes the interviews as semistructured: "Certain key questions, all open-ended, were asked of all respondents holding similar positions." The interviews tended to be short—45 to 60 minutes on average, though they ranged from ten minutes to three hours.
The interview notes are not verbatim transcripts of the sessions. As Fenno reports:
- In a few cases, where respondents encouraged it, notes were taken during the interview. Typically, however, notes were not taken but were transcribed immediately after the interview. Unattributed quotations in the text, therefore, are as nearly verbatim as the author's power of immediate recall could make them. These techniques were used in the belief that they encouraged what the author believes to be the quintessential condition of successful interviewing of political elites—rapport between interviewer and respondent. (Fenno, Power of the Purse, xxviii.)
The interview notes were originally handwritten by Fenno before a typed transcription was prepared. The National Archives and Records Administration received this typed version of the notes. Fenno suggested that some editing was necessary to make the notes useful to other researchers. Staff at the Center for Legislative Archives edited the notes, which were subsequently reviewed by Fenno. Editing involved converting brief phrases into full sentences and providing identifying references for individuals and agencies. Any annotations made to sentences or phrases that Fenno enclosed within quotation marks appear within squared brackets ().
Fenno spoke with five general groups:
- House members (largely those on the Appropriations Committee)
- House staff
- Senate Appropriations Committee members
- Senate staff
- executive agency liaisons to the two Appropriations Committees
This listing of the interviews at the Center for Legislative Archives is arranged alphabetically by the name of the individual interviewed. However, further information about the interviews and conditions for access can be found in the general descriptions about each series of interviews. The series is identified with each listing below.
Denton, Winfield K. (1959).
Evins, Joe L. (1959).
Fenton, Ivor D. (1959).
Flood, Daniel J. (1959).
Flood, Daniel J. (1964).
Flynt, John J. Jr. (1964).
Flynt, John J. Jr. (1965).
Fogarty, John E. (1959).
Ford, Gerald R., Jr. (1959).
Ford, Gerald R., Jr. (1964).
Magnuson, Don (1959).
Mahon, George H. (1959).
Mahon, George H. (1965).
Marshall, Fred (1959).
Martin, Joseph (1963).
McCormack, John W. (1961).
McFall, John J. (1964).
Michel, Robert H. (1959).
Milliken, William H. (1964).
Mills, Wilbur (1963).
Minshall, William E. (1959).
Montoya, Joseph M. (1961).
Norrell, W. F. (1959).
Yates, Sidney R. (1959).