Gaylord Nelson takes his political career from local to state politics

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(Below) In this photo from c.1954 in the Nelson Collection, a young State Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin walks down the steps inside the Wisconsin State Capitol building outside the Senate chamber 2nd floor gallery entrance. Nelson was an energetic Senator and was instrumental in the rebuilding of a progressive Democratic party in Wisconsin. Nelson has just announced his candidiacy for Governor of Wisconsin.

In the papers of the Nelson Collection, the original photographic print shows hand retouching of the carved word "SENATE" (yellow box below) in the image. This image was often cropped at the "v" marks at top to show just Nelson (see Wisconsin Democratic Convention pamphlet). But for other uses, showing the carved "SENATE" in the photo would have been important to show his career growth from the state to national stage, and to link his emerging environmental agenda from Wisconsin to Washington. Too faint in the original, the only way to make "SENATE" stand out an item like this would have been to pencil it in (enlarged inset at right). This alteration appears a bit rushed and outside the lines of the original carving, so it may have been used one time or infrequently for low-resolution newspaper reprinting.

Young Gaylord Nelson in the Senate

Permission to use images from the Nelson Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society.