Elizabeth Dole Secretary of Labor Papers Open for Research at the Dole Institute

March 31, 2024 - Features

by Sarah D’Antonio Gard | Senior Archivist and Head of Collections


The new collection at the Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archives and Special Collections chronicles Secretary Elizabeth Dole’s time as Secretary of Labor during the George H.W. Bush Administration.



The Elizabeth Hanford Dole U.S. Secretary of Labor Papers is now open for research and public access at the Dole Institute of Politics. Through speeches, briefing books, correspondence, and news clippings, the collection documents Dole’s time leading the Department of Labor and her work focusing on the skills, safety, and security of America’s workforce.

“We are delighted to make this collection available for students and scholars and look forward to seeing the papers used to further understanding of policymaking pertaining to the American workforce, how our government functions, and women in leadership,” said Sarah Gard, who is senior archivist and head of collections at the Dole Institute.

Elizabeth Dole was appointed by President George H.W. Bush and served as the 20th Secretary of Labor from January 25, 1989, until November 23, 1990. Having also served as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President Ronald Reagan, she is the first woman to serve in two different cabinet positions for two different presidents.  Dole’s Secretary of Transportation Papers are also open for research at the Institute.

The resolution of the Pittston Coal Strike was a key achievement for Secretary Dole; she persuaded leaders from the United Mine Workers of America and Pittston Coal Company to meet face-to-face at the bargaining table where health care and pension benefits were at stake – rather than wages.

She put together the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) to develop national work readiness guidelines for high school students and encouraged the business community to get involved in mentoring. She also increased the amount of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors and instituted regulations requiring employers to ensure employees operating motor vehicles used seat belts and those riding motorcycles wore helmets.

In 1990, Dole announced a Glass Ceiling Initiative to identify obstacles to women and minorities in the workplace and recommend changes.

For more information about the Elizabeth Hanford Dole U.S. Secretary of Labor Papers, please visit the Dole Archives’ online finding aids or search terms on the Dole Archives website.

The Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archives and Special Collections is open for research by appointment Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.



Sarah D’Antonio Gard, C.A., is the Institute’s Senior Archivist and Head of Collections. In her role, she preserves and provides access to the Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archives and Special Collections—one of the largest congressional archives in the United States. She holds a B.A. in art history from the University of Mary Washington and an M.S.I.S. with a specialization in archives and records enterprise from the University of Texas at Austin. Sarah is also an active member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and the Congressional Papers Section of the Society of American Archivists.

About the Dole Institute
The Dole Institute was dedicated on July 22, 2003, at the University of Kansas on Senator Bob Dole’s 80th birthday. Home to the personal archives of both Senator Bob and Senator Elizabeth Dole, with a museum facility on par with the U.S. Presidential libraries, the Dole Institute has been a vibrant political forum promoting civil discourse, civic engagement, and idea exchange across the political spectrum for 20 years.

The Dole Institute is committed to universal accessibility in all programs and resources. We are in the process of making all of our web projects fully accessible. An accessible version of the material represented on this site will be made available upon request. Please contact us at doleinstitute@ku.edu to request the material be made available in an accessible format, or for general assistance.