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U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives

Identifier: USSCHA-01062009

Scope and Contents

UNO alum Chuck Hagel served as a U.S. Senator (Nebraska-Republican) from 1997 to 2009 and as U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2013 to 2015 under President Obama. When he left the U.S. Senate, he donated his records to UNO. They became the U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives.

The Hagel Archives contains paper documents and photos, miscellaneous digital records, digital audio and video recordings, and thousands of artifacts. These records reflect the complex relationship between individuals and state and federal governments. Issues of regional and national importance play out in the interactions among branches of government, within and across party lines in the Senate, and in Hagel’s representation of constituents. Hagel served on several committees addressing domestic and international issues, though his papers cover almost every issue that arose in legislation or in Nebraska from 1997 to 2008. Significant events during his service include impeachment proceedings, the contested 2000 presidential election, September 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, drought in Nebraska, and the economic downturn of 2007-2008.

Fourteen series in the Hagel Archives are open for research as of September 2022. More information about each one is available by clicking on each series name (to the right or below, depending on how you're accessing the page). They amount to 466 cubic feet of material (or approximately 500 boxes). In alphabetical order, they are: Administrative Files; Campaign Records; Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Committee on Foreign Relations; Grant Files; Legislative Files; Personal Papers; Photographs; Press, Media, and Speeches; Schedules; and Travel Files. Artifacts are stored in a variety of ways and number close to a thousand. 145 digital audio files and 462 digital video files may be accessed online or onsite in the department reading room.

Legislative Files--the most complex series of papers--is the latest series to open. The remaining series--Constituent / Issue Mail, Clippings, and a very small amount of Department of Defense-related materials--are currently being arranged and described by archivists and student employees.


  • Creation: 1923 - 2016

Conditions Governing Access

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the Nebraska Public Records Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 84-712 through 84-712.09), and other relevant regulations. Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Nebraska Omaha assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, Archives & Special Collections will provide information about copyright owners and related information. Securing permission to publish or use material is the responsibility of the researcher. Note that unless specifically transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, any applicable copyrights may be held by another individual or entity. Further information about copyright policy is available at

Biographical / Historical

Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel was born on October 4, 1946 in North Platte, NE. The oldest of four brothers, he graduated from St. Bonaventure High School (now Scotus Central Catholic High School) in Columbus, NE. He joined the U.S. Army and volunteered to go to Vietnam, serving from 1967 to 1968 in the 9th Infantry Division. He attained the rank of Sergeant. Chuck and his brother Tom were in the same infantry squad and saved each other's lives on separate occasions. He earned numerous military honors and decorations including two Purple Hearts.

Hagel graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1971. He worked for Nebraska Congressman John Y. McCollister in Washington, D.C. and Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. In 1981, President Reagan nominated Hagel to serve as Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration where he pushed for increased benefits for Vietnam veterans suffering from Agent Orange. Hagel left that post in 1982.

Hagel co-founded Vanguard Celluar Systems and went on to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Service Organization (USO), Chief Operating Officer of the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7 Summit), Deputy Commissioner General of the U.S. for the 1982 World's Fair, President of the Private Sector Council, and President of McCarthy & Company (an Omaha-based investment bank).

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, Hagel represented Nebraskans for two terms (1997-2009). He was a member of the committees on Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs; Labor & Human Resources; and Rules & Administration, along with the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Special Committee on Aging (not all concurrently). He was on Foreign Relations and Banking for both terms (1997-2009). He chaired both the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Economic Policy, Export, & Trade Promotion and the Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs subcommittees on International Trade & Finance and Securities & Investment. Hagel also served as the Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the Senate Climate Change Observer Group.

Following his retirement from the Senate, Hagel served as a Co-Chairman of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board and as a member of the Secretary of Defense Policy Board and the Department of Energy's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. He was Chairman of the Atlantic Council and a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of National Governance at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

President Obama nominated Chuck Hagel to succeed Leon Panetta as the U.S. Secretary of Defense on January 7, 2013. He was sworn in on February 27, 2013 as the 24th Secretary of Defense. Hagel left that position in February, 2015, and returned to private life.


466 Cubic Feet

1000+ Items (artifacts, including framed items)

607 Items (462 digital video files and 145 digital audio files)

60+ Gigabytes (yet to be processed as of September 2022)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Honorable Charles T. Hagel


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Statement on Harmful Material: Materials in UNO Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections are historical in nature and reflect the society in which they were produced. As such, they may contain racial, gender, sexual, religious, and other language and imagery that are offensive by today's standards. The documents, images, publications, and other materials have been retained in order to fully represent the materials in their original format. If the offensive text is not in the original, but in a finding aid, catalog record, or other description created by library employees, please contact Archives and Special Collections to bring this to our attention. Archives & Special Collections is guided by the core values of the Society of American Archivists. If you have questions about this statement or about Archives and Special Collections’ work, we welcome your feedback. Please contact us at or 402-554-6046.

U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives
Lori Schwartz, Jessica Agler, Kelly Walker, Darby Reiners, Tonia Shaw, Abby Cape
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Archives & Special Collections Repository

Archives & Special Collections
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha Nebraska 68182-0237 United States