Walter Frederick ("Fritz") Mondale was born on January 5, 1928 in Ceylon, Minnesota. Mondale graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1951 and briefly served in the US Army during the Korean War before returning to Minnesota and graduating from University of Minnesota's law school in 1956.
In 1960 Mondale was appointed as Minnesota's Attorney General by Governor Orville Freeman. Despite his relatively short career in law, Mondale had been politically active with Minnesota's Demoractic-Farmer-Labor party and had helped with Freeman's 1960 campaign for governor. He was re-elected Attorney General in 1962.
In 1964 Mondale was again appointed to higher office, being named by Governor Karl Rolvaag as Minnesota's junior senator (replacing Hubert H. Humphrey who had been elected as vice-president that year). Mondale served the remainder of Humphrey's term and was re-elected twice in 1966 and 1972, serving on a variety of different committees and task forces during his time.
In 1972 he was offered a spot on George McGovern's presidential ticket as his vice-president, however Mondale declined. In 1976 Mondale was again approached as a potential vice presidential canddiate, this time by Jimmy Carter. This time Mondale accepted and Carter went on to defeat Gerald Ford in the 1976 election. Mondale was a more active vice president than his predecessors, traveling extensively within the US as well as abroad to build support for Carter's policies.
Carter and Mondale were re-nominated for the 1980 election, however they were roundly defeated by Ronald Reagan. Mondale briefly returned to a law career before running again as the Democratic nominee for president in 1984. After winning the nomination Mondale named Geraldine Ferraro his vice-presidential running mate, the first woman to run for that office with a major political party. Mondale ran on a strongly liberal platform, speaking out against nuclear weapons and Reagan's economic policies and supporting the Equal Rights Amendment and women's rights. Mondale went on to lose the 1984 election to Ronald Reagan in one of the most lop-sided electoral defeats in US history.
Mondale returned to a career in law but was appointed to a number of government panels and committees during the 1980s and 1990s. During the Clinton administration Mondale served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 1993 to 1996, as the chair of a campaign finance reform group, and briefly served as a special envoy to Indonesia. Mondale also taught at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and remained active on a number of prominent corporate and non-profit boards of directors.
In 2002 Mondale was tapped to replace the late Paul Wellstone who was killed in an plane crash just 11 days before that year's senate election. Mondale lost narrowly to Republican Norm Coleman.
Mondale lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Joan Mondale, and remains active with the state and national Democratic parties as well as the University of Minnesota and various local causes.
The Walter Mondale Collection consists of 3 boxes largely containing newspaper and magazine clippings concerning Mondale and his time in various political offices.
Box 1 consists of 10 folders of newspaper and magazine clippings on Mondale and his family from the 1960s through the 1990s.
Box 2 consists of 20 folders of newspaper clippings covering from his 1960 appointment as Minnesota's Attorney General through mid-1983.
Box 3 consists of 8 folders of newspaper clippings covering from mid-1983 through 1999.
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