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Michael S. Berman political collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 1273

Scope and Contents

The Berman Collection reflects Michael S. Berman's extensive involvement in the U.S. political arena. The collection consists of photographs, convention publications, campaign buttons and bumper stickers, posters, jewelry, hats and t-shirts, news clippings and papers, and various types of memorabilia and political ephemera collected by or given to Berman. Materials date from 1960-2008, with the bulk from the late 1970s through the mid 1990s.

The collection includes numerous photographs of Michael and/or Carol Berman with Walter Mondale, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter and various other politicians and public officials; invitations and programs for presidential inaugurations and other official White House functions; White House Christmas Cards; letters and inscribed items from Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter, Bill and Hillary Clinton and other public officials; credentials, proceedings, and souvenirs from twelve Democratic National Conventions; campaign guides and advance manuals; a large number of campaign buttons; novelty political memorabilia; and ephemera such as stationery or notepads from Air Force One.

Notable items include a multi-page memo from Michael Berman, Plan for Withdrawal and Thereafter, detailing concerns and actions related to a possible withdrawal by Walter Mondale from the presidential primaries in March of 1984; itinerary and credentials from President Carter’s Visit to West Germany to meet the just-released Iranian hostages at Wiesbaden U.S. Air Force Hospital, January 21, 1981; itinerary and credentials from Official Visit to Israel of the Vice President of the United States of America and Mrs. Walter Mondale, June 20-July 3, 1978; personal notes from Bill and Hillary Clinton; and photographs and personal notes of thanks from Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and David Souter.

Notable people in the collection include: Wendell Anderson, George H.W. Bush, Stephen Breyer, Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschle, John Dingell, Geraldine Ferraro, Tom Foley, Don Fraser, Richard Gephardt, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Al Gore, Tipper Gore, Hubert Humphrey, Daniel Inouye, Jesse Jackson, Jim Johnson, Lyndon Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Harry H. MacLaughlin, Patrick Leahy, Richard Moe, Joan Mondale, Walter Mondale, Tip O’Neill, Dan Quayle, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert Rubin, David Souter.


  • 1916, 1960-2008
  • Majority of material found in 1970-2000


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Archives and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Michael S. Berman was born in Duluth, Minnesota April 9, 1939 to George and Betty Berman. He has two sisters Nancy and Sheila. He graduated from Duluth’s East High School in 1957 and in 1961 from the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) with a B.A. in Political Science.

At UMD Berman was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper The Statesman, and in 1961 received UMD’s prestigious Sieur du Luth award that recognizes a student who provides exemplary service for three years or more to an organization, the University, and the community. At the request of Provost Raymond Darland Mike Berman formed the Rooters Club to build school spirit in support of a new stadium for the campus “At the beginning of every football game I would come out first, wearing a letter sweater, a raccoon coat, a beanie, and riding my sister’s bicycle. The cheerleaders would follow. I used a megaphone to lead the cheers.”

Following graduation from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1964, Berman volunteered for Lyndon Johnson’s presidential campaign. He organized a successful voter registration drive for the Democrats in Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, and was hired by then Attorney General Walter Mondale as Special Assistant Attorney General of the State of Minnesota. In 1966 Berman moved to Washington, D.C. to join Mondale’s senate staff. He served as special assistant, executive assistant, and administrative assistant, and ran Mondale’s 1972 re-election campaign. Berman has a close professional and personal relationship with Walter “Fritz” Mondale and he filled a number of roles during Mondale’s Vice Presidency including legal counsel and deputy chief of staff. He also served as Mondale’s transition director in 1976 and 1977 and again in 1981.

Michael Berman has worked on numerous Democratic campaigns and conventions, serving as Advance Staff for candidates on the campaign trail, scheduling speakers for the Democratic National Conventions in 1980, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and serving in other roles at the 1984 and 1988 conventions. Berman served as an advisor to candidate and President Bill Clinton. He provided legal advice and helped to set up the president’s legal defense fund. In his work beyond party politics he was elected to the board of the Human Rights Campaign in 1998 and was co-chair of the board from 2004-2006.

Through the years, Berman has practiced law in private law firms and is currently president of the Duberstein Group, a Washington, D.C. government relations and lobbying firm. His autobiography Living Large: A Big Man's Ideas on Weight, Success, and Acceptance was published by Rodale Press in 2006. He was married to the late Carol Berman for 43 years.


82.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Contains materials related to Michael S. Berman's extensive involvement in the U.S. political arena. The collection consists of photographs, convention publications, campaign buttons and bumper stickers, posters, jewelry, hats and t-shirts, news clippings and papers, and various types of memorabilia and political ephemera collected by or given to Berman.

Arrangement of Materials:

Campaigns and Conventions Inaugurations, Invitations and Programs, Letters, Official Travel, Humphrey Memorial Portrait, Ephemera Official Christmas Cards and Ornament Photographs Buttons and Jewelry Memorabilia Posters Books and Publications Michael Berman Papers News Clippings

Physical Location

This collection is located at the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives. For more information about this collection or to make an appointment, contact us at or 218-726-8526.

Guide to the Michael S. Berman political collection
Finding Aid Authors: M. David.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University of Minnesota Duluth Archives and Special Collections Collecting Area

Kathryn A. Martin Library
University of Minnesota Duluth
416 Library Drive
Duluth MN 55812-3001
(218) 726-8526