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Guide to the Frank L.​ Nikolay Papers,​ 1959-​1978

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Summary Information

Title: Frank L. Nikolay Papers

Inclusive Dates: 1959-1978

Creator: Nikolay, Frank L. 1922-

Call Number: Eau Claire Mss AZ

Quantity: 2 c.f. (2 record center cartons)

Repository: Housed at the Area Research Center, William D. McIntyre Library, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, Library-Archives Division

Archival Locations: UW-Eau Claire McIntyre Library / Eau Claire Area Research Ctr.

Abstract: Papers of an assemblyman from Clark County (1958-1966; 1968-1970) who served in a leadership capacity both on the floor of the Legislature and within the Democratic Party. Alphabetical subject files contain correspondence, memoranda, reports, clippings, speeches, press releases, committee records, and printed matter. Best are the files on various committee memberships including the Building Commission, Interstate Cooperation Committee, Judiciary Committee, Special Committee on Town Government Incorporation, Legislative Campaign Committee of the Democratic Party, and the 1960 Humphrey delegation to the national convention. For 1965-1966 there is a chronological file of constituent correspondence regarding proposed or pending legislation.

Language: English

Search Terms/Subject Terms

  • Democratic Party—Wisconsin
  • Legislators—Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin—Politics and government


Assemblyman and Democratic party leader Frank Nikolay was born in the town of Day, Marathon County, Wisconsin, on September 1, 1922. After attending the Abbotsford public schools he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in 1939. His education was first interrupted by a call to service in the Wisconsin National Guard and the Army from 1940 to 1941. He then returned to the University in 1942 and in 1943 transferred to the law school under the Regular War Plan. During that term he again interrupted his education for service in World War II in the Air Force and Navy. In 1946 he returned to law school and graduated in 1948. In addition to his private practice, Nikolay has served as Abbotsford village and city attorney, Colby city attorney, Clark County assistant district attorney, and U.S. attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin. Other offices which he has held include memberships on the Clark County Board and the Clark County Welfare Board.

Nikolay ran successfully for the Assembly in 1958 and served continuously until his defeat in 1966. Although re-elected in 1968 he declined to run for another term in 1970 in order to campaign for the lieutenant governorship. He was defeated in this effort by Martin Schreiber. Nikolay was a powerful figure in the Legislature, being selected as assistant minority floor leader in 1963, majority leader in 1965, and assistant minority leader again in 1969. Committee posts which he held included chairmanships of the Judiciary and Rules committees and vice-chairmanships of the Education and the Revision, Repeals, and Uniform Laws committees.

In addition to his position as a leader among party members in the Legislature, Nikolay also served the state-wide party in several important ways. In 1960 he was chairman of the Humphrey delegation to the national party convention. Together with Patrick J. Lucey he was co-chairman of the state's McGovern slate to the national convention in 1972. From 1964 to 1976 he was vice-chairman of the state organization. During the 1960's he directed the Legislative Campaign Committee. Despite his busy political career, Nikolay was also an active member of the Wisconsin Civil Liberties Union, Wisconsin National Guard (Col., Ret.), American Legion, Lions, Knights of Columbus, and Catholic Foresters. In 1983 he was appointed to a seven year term as regent of the University of Wisconsin System.

Scope and Content Note

This collection is the first accession of the Frank Nikolay Papers. It relates both to his career in the Wisconsin Legislature and the Democratic Party and is comprised of correspondence, memoranda, reports, speeches, press releases, clippings, committee files, and printed matter.

It may help the researcher to know that these papers were reviewed and prepared for shipment by the donor, not by Society staff. Thus, it is not clear the degree to which the files received by the Society reflected their original arrangement and contents. At the time the collection was processed additional materials were still being reviewed by Nikolay for presentation to the Society. Appreciation of the collection's provenance will help the researcher to understand the miscellaneous nature of the files and the somewhat fragmentary documentation they provide of Nikolay's career. It is anticipated that this will not be the case after all materials are received.

Among the best files are those pertaining to various committees on which Nikolay served: the Building Commission, the Interstate Cooperation Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Special Committee on Town Government Incorporation. Such files include agendas, summary proceedings, memoranda, and correspondence. Pertaining to committee work for the Democratic Party are good files on the Legislative Campaign Committee during the 1960's and the 1960 Humphrey delegation to the national convention.

For the years 1965-1966 there is a chronological file of constituent correspondence primarily regarding proposed or pending legislation.

Administrative/Restriction Information

Acquisition Information

Presented by Frank L Nikolay, Abbotsford, Wisconsin, January 25, 1980. Accession Number: M80-184

Processing Information

Processed by Carolyn J. Mattern, March 1984.

Contents List

Series: Subject Files
Box/Folder 1/1Auditor, 1964-1965
Box/Folder 1/2Auto insurance, 1966-1970
Box/Folder 1/3Bakke, G. H. (Highway Commissioner), 1960-1961
Box/Folder 1/4Budget message, 1967
Box/Folder 1/5Budget, State of Wisconsin, 1967
Box/Folder 1/6Budget-Taxes, 1967
Box/Folder 1/7Building Commission, 1966
Box/Folder 1/8Cabaret taxes, 1960-1963
Box/Folder 1/9Carley campaign, 1966
Box/Folder 1/10Central Wisconsin Ministers Association, 1964-1966
Box/Folder 1/11Civil Liberties Union, 1968-1969
Box/Folder 1/12Clark County Press, 1960-1979
Box/Folder 1/13Clark County Shopper, 1964-1969
Box/Folder 1/14Clark County Taxpayers Association, 1962-1967
Box/Folder 1/15Clark County Welfare Board, 1960-1964
Box/Folder 1/16Conservation, 1965-1969
Box/Folder 1/17Constitutional debt limit and reform, 1965-1967
Box/Folder 1/18Consumer protection, 1966-1968
Box/Folder 1/19Corporate farming, 1969-1970
Box/Folder 1/20Cosgrove, Frank, 1961
Box/Folder 1/21Court Bill, 1967
Box/Folder 1/22Court reform, 1965-1969

Democratic Party
Box/Folder 1/23Democratic Editorial Board, 1963
Box/Folder 1/241962 election
Box/Folder 1/25Disabled American Veterans, 1969
Box/Folder 1/26-27Education, 1964, 1966-1968
Box/Folder 1/28Electoral College, 1966-1968
Box/Folder 1/29Evjue, William T., 1961-1965
Box/Folder 1/30Floor leadership, 1969
Box/Folder 1/31Fluoridation, 1970
Box/Folder 1/32Free Enterprise Day, 1965
Box/Folder 1/33Forum for Progress, 1965-1966
Box/Folder 1/34Frinzi, Dominic, 1966
Box/Folder 1/35Geisler, Dorothy, 1964
Box/Folder 1/36Greenwood, Wis 1970
Box/Folder 1/37Groppi, James, 1969
Box/Folder 1/38Hartung, Rev. E., 1962
Box/Folder 1/39Highway bonding, 1965-1966
Box/Folder 1/40Hoover, J. Edgar, 1967
Box/Folder 1/41HUAC, 1961
Box/Folder 1/42Humphrey presidential delegation, 1960
Box/Folder 1/43Hughes, Mary
Box/Folder 1/44Interstate Cooperation Committee, 1964-1966
Box/Folder 1/45Judiciary Committee, 1966
Box/Folder 1/46Kellett Commission, 1966-1967
Box/Folder 1/47Kitzhaber, Ronald, 1963
Box/Folder 1/48Laurent, Francis, 1967
Box/Folder 1/49Law School, 1959
Box/Folder 2/1-3Legislative Campaign Committee, 1964-1970
Box/Folder 2/4Legislative pay raise, 1966
Box/Folder 2/5Legislative scoreboard, 1965
Box/Folder 2/6Mahoney, W.J., 1967
Box/Folder 2/7Marathon Technical Institute, 1967
Box/Folder 2/8Meat inspection, 1966
Box/Folder 2/9Mental health, 1966
Box/Folder 2/10Midwest Conservation Education Association, 1967
Box/Folder 2/11Milwaukee World Festival, 1966
Box/Folder 2/12NEA award, 1966
Box/Folder 2/13NFO, 1964-1965
Box/Folder 2/14Nichols, Norma, 1970-1973
Box/Folder 2/15Outagamie County vs. Building Commission, 1967
Box/Folder 2/16Patronage, 1961-1971
Box/Folder 2/17Primary law revision, 1959-1963
Box/Folder 2/18Public Expenditure Survey of Wisconsin, 1968-1969
Box/Folder 2/19Railroad reflector lights law, 1969-1970
Box/Folder 2/20Real estate brokers, 1963
Box/Folder 2/21Reform of local government, 1964-1965
Box/Folder 2/22School aids, 1967-1971
Box/Folder 2/23School bus transportation, 1960-1966
Box/Folder 2/24School consolidations, 1967
Box/Folder 2/25School for retarded children, 1966
Box/Folder 2/26Sex education, 1969
Box/Folder 2/27“State Life Insurance,” by Les Aspin, n.d.
Box/Folder 2/28State Teachers Retirement System, n.d.
Box/Folder 2/29Town Government Incorporation, Special Commission on 1974-1975
Box/Folder 2/30University disorders, 1969
Box/Folder 2/31University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 1966-1970
Box/Folder 2/32University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Land acquisition 1966-1967
Box/Folder 2/33University Site Selection Commission, 1966
Box/Folder 2/34Van Huisen (Owen) American Legion Post, 1966
Box/Folder 2/35Vocational schools, 1964-1978
Box/Folder 2/36Voting rights, 1970
Box/Folder 2/37Water pollution, 1965-1966
Box/Folder 2/38-41Series: Constituent Correspondence, 1965-1966
Box/Folder 2/42Series: Speeches and Statements, Miscellaneous, 1966
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