New official and unofficial glimpses of the political career of Spiro T. Agnew will soon be available to followers of the career of the former Vice President, governor and county executive.
A Baltimore printing firm is ready to distribute - at an expense to the state of Maryland of $23,208 - 1,200 copies of a 1,088-page, two volume work, entitled "Addresses and State Papers of Gov. Spiro T. Agnew," despite Agnew's reported belief that the project was "silly."
And as of last Friday, the University of Maryland could begin examining 12 truckloads of memorabilia that Agnew donated to the university in 1974, with the prevision that the more than 600 boxes be sealed until after his term as Vice President would have expired had he not been forced out of office earlier.
Under an agreement signed April 10, 1974 between Agnew and Dr. Wilson H. Elkins, the university president the material will be available "as soon as possible, and to the fullest extent possible." However, the university has the sole discretion to withhold material it believes should remain sealed until a later date in five categories; personal, family and confidential business affairs; investigations of persons and organizations proposed for appointments; statements made to the vice president in confidence; anything embarrassing, damaging or harassing to living persons, and material that could prejudice the conduct of America's foreign relations.
But much of the material is likely to give insight into the lighter side of political life. There are boxes of 45-r.p.m. records, photographs, tapes, and stacks of gifts valued under $50 that [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] throughout the world sent to [WORD ILLEGIBLE]
One provision of the agreement permitted Agnew's family to remove any of the gifts it wanted for personal keepsakes, up through last Friday's unsealing.
In recent weeks, Mrs. Agnew and other family members removed some of the gifts from the storage area on the College Park campus, including toys destined for the Agnew grandchildren and some of the golf clubs that had been given to the famous duffer.
Dr. Elkins, who called the gift "extraordinary" and of "substantial benefit to scholars" when it was offered, said yesterday that he is as anxious as anyone to find out "does it have anything in it (of great value) or not?" He said his curiosity is enhanced because Agnew's career had been "rather interesting." Elkins said he knew Agnew as the result of meetings with him as governor.
H. Joanne Harrar, director of the university's Theodore R. McKeldin library (named for another former governor), said the first job is to find funds to hire persons to bring the project "under bibliographic control."
The 600 cartons were indexed in the office on Lafayette Park that Agnew was given after his resignation, but the listings, such as AA through AMC on box one, give little clue to the specific contents. Miss Harrar said the full cataloging process could take two to five years.
The first 225 boxes are indexed by letter only. Next comes 331 boxes filed by specific subjects, such as county executive, governor, campaign materials, homor, Senate responsibilities, and rough drafts of those famous speeches peppered with such terms as "nattering nabobs" and "effete snobs."
If the Agnew speeches being published by the state are received as those of his predecessors were, they may fall short of being best-sellers.One executive department employee admitted today that the one-volume collection of the speeches of Agnew's predecessor, J. Millard Tawes, "couldn't be given away."