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Size: .25 linear feet

Span Dates: 1961-1972, undated

Accession Number: M1998-0522

Donor: Anne Johnson White

Creator: Johnson, Claude W., Jr., 19?-1998.

Custodial History: The collection was donated by Claude W. Johnson, Jr.'s daughter Anne Johnson White, after his death. It has previously been known by the alternate names "Newport History Collection," "Newport Materials," and "Committee of 500 donated by Ann [sic] White."

Summary: The collection contains a small amount of organizational records and campaign ephemera for the Committee of 500, a citizen-led organization operating in Campbell County, Kentucky during the 1960s to rid the county of organized crime, illegal gambling, and prostitution.



Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, US Code) governs the reproduction of copyrighted material. The User assumes full responsibility and any attendant liability for the fair use of materials requested in total compliance with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) that may arise through the use of any requested materials.

The Eva G. Farris Special Collections is interested in hearing from any copyright holders who are not properly identified so that appropriate information may be provided in the future. Please contact Lois Hamill, University Archivist, at or (859) 572-5863.

Preferred Citation: [Box#, Folder#], MS-3 Claude W. Johnson, Jr. Committee of 500 Records, Eva G. Farris Special Collections, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University.

Related Materials: An oral history given by Claude W. Johnson Jr. exists in MS-5 H. Lew Wallace Newport History Collection, Eva G. Farris Special Collections,W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University

MS-4 Christian Seifried Social Action Committee Records, Eva G. Farris Special Collections, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University

MS-35 A. Vinton Stegeman Papers, Eva G. Farris Special Collections, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University

Processing Information: Anne Ryckbost, June 2011. Collection had previously been the H. Lew Wallace Newport History Collection. Finding aid updated January 2015.

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Gambling and crime.
Gambling--Economic aspects--United States.
History--Northern Kentucky.
Political campaigns--1960-1970.
Sheriffs--Kentucky--Campbell County.

Benton, Frank, III.
Breckinridge, John B. (John Bayne), 1913-1979.
Cook, Henry.
Hosea, Henry.
Johnson, Claude W., Jr., ?-1998.
Ratterman, George, 1926-2007.
Wadsworth, Jack.
Warren, Fred.

Committee of 500.

Geographic Location(s):
Kentucky--Campbell County.
Kentucky--Campbell County--Fort Thomas.
Kentucky--Campbell County--Newport.

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The collection contains a small amount of organizational records for the Committee of 500. The collection is organized into one series, the Committee of 500 records. Series I includes committee membership lists, correspondence, financial receipts, speeches, campaign ephemera, news clippings, photographs, and public relations materials used by the committee to recruit members. Photograph topics include candidate portraits and the Committee of 500 headquarters.

It also includes campaign literature such as brochures and advertisements related to the campaigns of George Ratterman in 1961 (for Campbell County Sheriff), Fred Warren in 1963 (for Judge ,Campbell Circuit Court, Division #1,) and John Breckinridge in 1967 (for Attorney General, Kentucky) and in 1972 (for U.S. House of Representatives, 6th Congressional district of Kentucky). A piece of campaign ephemera of special note is an E-Z needle threader with the tagline “Let’s give vice the needle, vote for George W. Ratterman for sheriff.” The collection contains a small group of documents relating to the committee's 1967 farewell dinner for George Ratterman and his wife Anne before their move to Denver, CO.

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Local Campbell County businessmen and citizens organized the Committee of 500 in 1961 to change the local economy from illegal activity such as gambling, prostitution, and organized crime, to a legal, industry-based economy. The committee developed a large membership base and campaigned for new officials to be elected to key local government offices. The committee is often credited with bringing an end to corruption and organized crime in Campbell County. Claude W. Johnson, Jr., owner of the local business Johnson Electric Supply Company and Fort Thomas resident, was one of the founding members of the committee. He served as a vice-president and director of the committee throughout the 1960s. Johnson also served as the committee's bulletin editor.

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Series 1: Committee of 500 records

Description Date Box Folder
Membership materials circa 1961, 1965
1 1
Correspondence 1963-1966,
1 2
Financial records 1967, undated 1 3
George Ratterman farewell dinner 1967 1 4
Campaign speeches 1961 1 5
Campaign literature and ephemera 1961, 1963, 1972,
1 6
News clippings 1961-1964, 1966-
1967; circa 1960s
1 7
Photographs 1962, circa 1960s 1 8-9

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