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U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives

The U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives include his legislative papers, artifacts, campaign records, and other materials.

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Visit Criss Library Archives & Special Collections to learn more about our collections and how to use them. 

Overview of the U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives

On October 8, 2008, at UNO's centennial celebration kick-off, Chancellor John Christensen announced that U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel would donate his papers and artifacts to his alma mater. 1700 boxes of paper and photos, hundreds of videos and artifacts, and 400+ books arrived from his D.C. and Nebraska offices in December. The work of arrangement and description (processing) began.

The records are arranged by type—personal and political, legislative, press and media, constituent services,  administrative, artifacts, and audiovisual. Four sets of material opened for research in January 2016, and new series have opened annually since then. Newspaper articles, government documents, 400+ books (available in Archives & Special Collections), and other related material may be found in the Criss Library catalog

The records reflect the complex relationship between state and federal governments and individuals. Issues of regional and national importance play out in the interactions among branches of government, within and across party lines in the Senate, and in the Senator’s representation of constituents. Hagel served on several committees addressing domestic and international issues, and his papers cover almost every issue that arose in legislation or in Nebraska during his service. Significant events from that time include impeachment proceedings, a contested presidential election, 9-11, U.S. involvement in two wars, and economic challenges.

Find Material

Browse and search inventories for the following material in our Archives & Special Collections' database:

  • Legislative Files (NEW) cover topics and events related to federal legislation or with a federal response from 1997 to 2009. Significant topics include the Clinton impeachment proceedings, a contested presidential election, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economic downtown of 2007-2009, and disaster and drought assistance for Nebraska's rural areas.
  • Audio Files consist of 145 audio files from Hagel's U.S. Senate campaign in 1995-1996 and his two terms in office, 1997-2008. Recordings are a mix of Hagel's weekly conference calls with Nebraska media, speeches, press conferences, radio interviews, radio campaign ads, and misc.
  • Campaign Records include Hagel's campaigns for U.S. Senate in 1996 and 2002, his work on behalf of in-state and national candidates, and his involvement with the National and Nebraska Republican parties. [Opened to research in 2019.]
  • Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs: Hagel served on this committee all twelve years. Files show the wide variety of topics handled by the Committee and its subcommittees, including financial markets after 9/11, financial crisis of 2008, terrorism financing, financial reconstruction of Iraq, housing programs, and urban transit.
  • Committee on Foreign Relations: Hagel served on this committee all twelve years. Files include nomination hearings for diplomatic officials, treaty considerations, background files on nations, and hearings and meetings on dozens of topics from foreign aid to sanctions to Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Grant Files show how Hagel's office assisted Nebraskans in locating, obtaining, and celebrating grant work.
  • Personal Papers cover Hagel's life before, after, and outside his official duties in the U.S. Senate and U.S. Department of Defense, 1946-2015. They contain biographical information, correspondence, family, board positions, memberships, and book files. [Opened to research in 2019.]
  • Photographs contains framed and unframed photographs, negatives, scrapbooks, and images on CDs from Hagel's childhood to his last days as Secretary of Defense. 
  • Press, Media, and Speeches include all of the press and media material produced by Hagel's U.S. Senate office, along with his speech texts and related material. 
  • A rich set of Schedules brings us into Hagel's busy days on and off Capitol Hill for twelve years in the U.S. Senate with entries on meetings, events, Nebraska trips, international travel, and his personal life.
  • Travel Files cover Hagel's several dozen international trips while in the U.S. Senate. Files include schedules, briefing and speaking materials, and logistical information. [Opened to research in January 2018.]
  • Videos consist of Hagel's video record in digital form; videos include Hagel on news programs, speaking on the senate floor, at speeches, and in campaign ads.
  • Artifacts include hundreds of framed photographs and cartoons; items from Hagel's offices and family life; and awards, gifts, and other memorabilia from his years as U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Digitized Material, including the Selected Speeches of Senator Chuck Hagel (178 full text speeches and talking points)

Online Exhibits:

At Home in Nebraska (photos and schedules from Hagel's travels through Nebraska, 1997-2008)
Under the Bright Lights: Videos in the U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives 
In the News: Press, Media, and Speeches in the Hagel Archives
Life of a Senator: Schedules in the Hagel Archives
Charles Timothy Hagel: A Life in Photographs [NEW in 2019 are new pages on Hagel's international travel.]
Parading Around: Hagel Campaign Parades and Events

Chuck Hagel Biography

Chuck Hagel was born October 4, 1946 in North Platte, NE. The oldest of four brothers, he graduated from St. Bonaventure High School in Columbus, NE. He joined the U.S. Army and volunteered to go to Vietnam, serving from 1967-1968 in the 9th Infantry Division and attaining the rank of Sergeant. Chuck and his brother Tom were in the same infantry squad and saved each other's lives on separate occasions. He earned numerous military honors and decorations including two Purple Hearts.

Hagel graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1971. He worked for Nebraska Congressman John Y. McCollister in Washington, D.C., and Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. President Reagan nominated Hagel in 1981 as Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration where he pushed for increased benefits for veterans suffering from Agent Orange. Hagel left that post in 1982. Hagel co-founded Vanguard Celluar Systems and served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Service Organization, Chief Operating Officer of the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7 Summit), Deputy Commissioner General of the U.S. for the 1982 World's Fair, President of the Private Sector Council, and President of McCarthy & Company (an Omaha-based investment bank).

Hagel represented Nebraskans for two terms in the U.S. Senate from 1997 to 2009. He was a member of the committees on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs; Foreign Relations; Labor & Human Resources; and Rules and Administration, along with the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Special Committee on Aging (not all concurrently). He chaired the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy, Export, & Trade Promotion (Foreign Relations) and the subcommittees on International Trade & Finance and Securities & Investment (Banking). He also served as the Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the Senate Climate Change Observer Group.

Post-Senate, Hagel was Co-Chairman of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board, on the Secretary of Defense Policy Board and the Department of Energy's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, Chairman of the Atlantic Council, and Distinguished Professor in the Practice of National Governance at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. President Obama nominated Hagel to succeed Leon Panetta as U.S. Secretary of Defense on January 7, 2013. He was sworn in on February 27, 2013 as the 24th Secretary of Defense. Hagel returned to private life in February, 2015.

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Lori Schwartz
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Archives & Special Collections
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. 105D Criss Library
University of Nebraska Omaha
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha, NE 68182-0237
Subjects: GraduateStudies

Support the Hagel Archive

You may support access to and preservation of the legacy of Secretary Chuck Hagel through the Hagel Archive by the Criss Library Archives & Special Collections with a designated gift to the U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives Fund of the University of Nebraska Foundation. To learn more or discuss your gift, contact Amy Schindler, Director of Archives & Special Collections (, 402-554-6046). Thank you for your support.