Clarence Berdahl was born on June 12, 1890, in Baltic, So. Dak. He began teaching at the University of Illinois in 1920, where he served as chairman of the Department of Political Science from 1935 to 1939. In 1961 he became chairman of the Division of Social Science and Professor Emeritus. Professor Berdahl was a member of numerous professional organizations in the fields of political science and history, and wrote several books.
The collection contains correspondence regarding Berdahl's membership in the Democratic Federation of Illinois, 1957-68. Several letters from then State Representative Paul Simon are included, as are materials related to Berdahl's resignation from the organization. Berdahl had reacted negatively to a Federation news release which condemned the events at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. In addition, the collection includes materials produced by the Federation and four folders of newspaper clippings, 1943-71, concerning the Federation and Illinois politics.
Clarence Berdahl donated the collection to the Survey in 1975 and 1977. See also the Berdahl Papers in the University Archives.