Guide to the Willis Hutnik Papers, 1954-1970

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Summary Information

Title: Willis Hutnik Papers

Inclusive Dates: 1954-1970

Creator: Hutnik, Willis, 1922-

Call Number: Eau Claire Mss AS

Quantity: 1.8 c.f. (5 archives boxes)

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 a Republican from Ladysmith, Wisconsin, who served in the Assembly from 1953 to 1971. Included are correspondence from constituents, colleagues, state agencies, and advocacy groups; subject files on pending legislation; material concerning work on the Highway Safety Advisory Committee; press releases and other publicity; campaign files; and personal papers.

Language: English

Search Terms/Subject Terms

  • Republican Party—Wisconsin  
  • Legislators—Wisconsin
  • Roads—Wisconsin—Safety measures
  • Traffic safety—Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin—Politics and government


Republican legislator Willis J. Hutnik was born in the town of Elk in Price County, Wisconsin on March 23, 1915. After education in local schools and the Price County

Normal School, Hutnik attended Central State College in Ohio and the University of Wisconsin. He worked as a teacher and as a school principal, but at the time of his tenure in the Wisconsin Legislature he owned and operated a school and office supply business in Ladysmith. Among Hutnik's civic interests were serving as an officer of the Rusk County Conservation Congress, the Ladysmith Community Club, and the Price County Education Association. In addition, he worked with the 4-H Club and with local youth athletics.

A Republican, Hutnik was elected to the Assembly in 1952 to represent Price, Rusk, and Sawyer counties. Much of his committee work in the Wisconsin Legislature was focused on his interest in education and highways. In addition to serving for several sessions on the Education Committee, he served as chairman of the Highway Committee in 1967 and 1969 and as co-chairman of the Legislative Council's Committee on Highways. In 1967 he was vice-chairman of the Advisory Committee on State Highway Safety. In addition, Hutnik was chairman of Rules in 1967, Labor in 1955, and vice-chairman of the Legislative Council's Committee on Reapportionment in 1969. In 1969 he was elected speaker pro-tem of the Assembly. A full listing of Hutnik's legislative work is included in the Wisconsin Blue Book.

Scope and Content Note

The Willis Hutnik Papers are a typical collection of legislative papers including correspondence, legislative subject files, press material, campaign files, and miscellany. The original collection, which was received by the Historical Society in 1972, was very disordered, and to make the material accessible to researchers an organizational scheme was imposed. At the same time routine and ephemeral material was removed, and publications contained in the collection were transferred to the Society's library.

The CORRESPONDENCE, which is generally representative of constituent concerns and issues deliberated upon while Hutnik was in the legislature, is arranged chronologically. The majority of the correspondence dates from the mid-1960's with no papers whatsoever from the 1953-1954 and 1955-1956 sessions.

LEGISLATIVE SUBJECT FILES contain draft of bills requested by Hutnik from the Legislative Reference Bureau, additional correspondence, and reference material distributed to legislators by state agencies and advocacy groups. These files are arranged chronologically by session and then alphabetically by subject. These files cover the period 1959-1968, but none of the individual topics are extensively documented. The COMMITTEE FILES primarily document Hutnik's work on the Highway Safety Advisory Committee, 1966-1969.

Perhaps the most valuable portion of the papers is the file of press releases drafted by the Assembly Republican Caucus, some written specifically for Hutnik and others tailored from samples written by the caucus for all Republican assemblymen. Unfortunately because no comprehensive files of press material are held by the Archives, these files cover only 1969 and 1970. Also included with the PRESS MATERIAL are xeroxed biographical news clippings. Several photographs of Hutnik taken for publicity purposes are housed in the Visual Materials Archive.

CAMPAIGN AND ELECTION MATERIAL, 1954-1970, consists of election statistics, correspondence, clippings, literature, and financial statements for Hutnik and some opponents. The MISCELLANY consists of fragmentary correspondence concerning his business.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by Willis J. Hutnik, Ladysmith, Wisconsin, July 17, 1972. Accession Number: M72-250

Processing Information

Processed by C. Schoenleber (FGH student), Carolyn J. Mattern, 1987.

Contents List

Eau Claire Mss AsSeries: CorrespondenceBox 1, Folder 1-121957, January-1960, JuneBox 2, Folder 1- 121960, July-1963, NovemberBox 3, Folder 1-91963, December-1970, n.d.
Series: Subject Files
1959Box 3, Folder 10BillboardsBox 3, Folder 10Constitutional amendmentBox 3, Folder 10Finances and budgetBox 3, Folder 10Fox bountiesBox 3, Folder 10Gasoline taxesBox 4, Folder 1Trucking industryBox 4, Folder 1VeteransBox 4, Folder 1Water resourcesBox 4, Folder 21961 sessionBox 4, Folder 2State finances and budgetBox 4, Folder 3MilkBox 4, Folder 3SchoolsBox 4, Folder 3Veterans
1963 sessionBox 4, Folder 4ChiropractorsBox 4, Folder 4HighwaysBox 4, Folder 4IndiansBox 4, Folder 4SchoolsBox 4, Folder 4Trading stamps
1965 -1968 sessionsBox 4, Folder 5Trading stampsBox 4, Folder 5Trucking
Series: Committee FilesBox 4, Folder 6-8Highway Safety Advisory Committee, 1966-1969Box 4, Folder 9Miscellany, 1969-1970
Series: Press MaterialBox 4, Folder 10-12Press releases, 1969-1970Box 4, Folder 13-14Biographical clippings, 1957-1969Box 5 Folder 1-4Series: Campaign and Election Material, 1954-1970Box 5 Folder 5Series: Miscellany, 1956-1967