Skip to main content

Hon. Daniel R. Coats Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SC-098

Scope and Contents

The Hon. Daniel Coats Papers is composed of nearly two decades of service in the United States House of Representatives (1981-1989) and Senate (1989-1991; 2011-2017), and feature a thorough cross section of political events during those years. Most of the collection consists of documents stored in folders and boxes. Many of these records correspond to Coats' work on two prominent Senate committees: the Armed Services Committee and the Labor and Human Resources Committee. Additional materials provide extensive information on Coats' legislative and political agendas. Other records include copies of Coats' speeches, his correspondence, constituent service, and press clips. Apart from these documents the Coats collection also contains numerous media resources: over 500 audio and video cassettes, photographs, and almost 300 microfilm cartridges.


  • Created: 1980-2017
  • Other: Date acquired: 1999


Conditions Governing Access

Remarks and comments regarding sitting or future public officials are not to be published or cited without the consent of the author/donor.

Constituent/Intern/Case files are restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Duplication may be restricted if copying could cause damage to items.

Biographical Information

Daniel Ray Coats was born in Jackson, Michigan on May 16, 1943, where he attended the public schools and was graduated from the Jackson High School in 1961. He attended Wheaton College and majored in political science. He also was an active student athlete on the soccer team. He graduated from Wheaton in 1965. He served in the U.S. Army for three years after leaving Wheaton and later received a law degree in 1971 from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. He was admitted to the Indiana bar the following year and began a private practice in Fort Wayne. Coats also was an executive in a Fort Wayne, Indiana insurance company.

Mr. Coats began his political career as Dan Quayle's district representative in Indiana in the 1970s. He then ran for Mr. Quayle's Congressional seat when Mr. Quayle went to the Senate. Coats represented Indiana in the House for four terms before being appointed in 1989 to fill the Senate seat vacated when Dan Quayle became vice president. During his time in the Senate, Coats served on the Senate Armed Services Committee, serving as Chairman of the Military Personnel and Air/Land Forces Subcommittees. He also served on the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence and the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. In the Senate, he joined with Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman in advocating and authorizing a number of defense reform and transformation initiatives. His major legislative agenda was The Project for American Renewal. His political theory was also articulated in a series of lectures that were published in 1998 as Mending Fences: Renewing Justice Between Government and Civil Society. Coats has served as the president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and has served on a number of boards, and civic and volunteer organizations, including the Center for Jewish and Christian Values, which he co-chaired with Senator Lieberman.

Coats served in the Senate until 1999 and during his 12 years in office, Coats established himself as a conservative, opposing abortion and pushing unsuccessfully for a constitutional amendment to cut off federal funds to schools that ban voluntary prayer. Afterwards, he took a position in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. In 2001 Coats was appointed to the ambassadorship of Germany by President George W. Bush.


149 boxes

148 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged by series with folder level control. The collection is organized into 9 series: Administrative, Committee Files, Constituent Service, Correspondence, Legislative Records, Media Relations, Policy Records, Media, and Memorabilia.

Series 1: Statements & Speeches

This series consists of a Senator Coats’ statements and speeches given both to the public, but also in his roles on committees and on the floor. The files are made up of loose leaf copies of speeches separated by date given, as well as bound collections of statements by topic (i.e. Welfare, Defense – Gays in the Military). These copies are edited and marked up.

Series 2: Legislative

This series consists of bound Senate journals of legislative activity taking place while Coats was in office. The records span from Coats’ time spent in the senate, from 1988 through 1999, and then from 2010 through 2016. This series also includes files dedicated to major legislative topics containing Coats’ positions, actions, and other information of legislative activity regarding the topic, the series also contains Senate Record Vote Analyses from Coats’ tenure in the Senate, which describes the votes results and arguments made as well as topical indexes of votes without synopses. There is also correspondence including “Dear Colleague” letters and constituent correspondence.

Series 3: Media Relations

This series consists of contains subject files of press releases and speeches market for press release. The files cover a broad array of topics, including statements across the duration of Sen. Coat’s office. The series also contains Senate Press Release files from February 1986 to September 1994. The series also contains microfilm and other forms of press related materials.

Series 4: Correspondence

The series contains House correspondence sorted by date from 1980 to 1984, and then 1986-1987, House invitations from 1984 to 1985, Senate invitations for 1989 and 1996. VIP letters from March 1991 through October 1998. House correspondence is also sorted by topical subject by year. The series also contains personal correspondence from 1983 to 1998, both House and Senate constituent correspondence sorted by date and topic, and nominations and recommendations from 1981 to 1998.

Series 5: Projects

This series contains files containing information on “Hoosier Heroes” awards from 1991 through 1998, as well as county profiles sorted alphabetically. There are also files on project updates pertaining to Indiana as well as Washington D.C.

Series 6: Committee and Subject Files

This series contains topical files pertaining to policy issues and national and Indiana projects. There are files regarding very broad policy areas, broken down by year, as well as files on specific project and legislative topics. The series encompasses both national level policy areas as well as local Indiana issues. The series also contains files discussing committee work information topical subject files.

Series 7: Office Administration

This series contains profile files on interns in the Senator’s office, as well as Senate/House schedules/calendars from 1984 through 1996.

Series 8: Campaign Materials

Series 9: Media

This series consists of photographs and video of Sen. Coats while campaigning and in office in both the Senate and the House. Subjects include fellow politicians, constituents, family, and publicity/media images/video. The series also consists of audio recording, microfilm, and computer disks of Floor proceedings: rolls #1 to 285.

Series 10: Biography

This series contains items related to Sen. Coats' personal life, i.e. college.

Source of Acquisition


Method of Acquisition

Senator Coats donated the collection to Wheaton College upon his retirement in 1999, after an 18-year career in both houses of Congress.

Hon. Daniel R. Coats Papers
Buswell Library Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

501 College Ave.
Wheaton IL 60187-5593 USA