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Thomas R. McNamara Papers

Collection ID: MG 4

Scope and Contents

The McNamara papers are principally the records of his service in the Virginia General Assembly as a member of the House of Delegates (1968-1971) and the Senate (1972-1976), annual reports of state agencies, reports of legislative study commissions and reports of the Virginia Advisory Legislative Council.


  • 1961-1976, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/00/1976



31.20 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

Thomas Randolph McNamara was born in Evanston, Illinois on February 17, 1925. He has spent most of his life in Norfolk, Virginia. He was educated at Virginia Military Institute where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (1949). He received his Bachelor of Laws degree from Washington and Lee University (1952). Mr. McNamara is married to the former Mary Bradford Colton. They have six children: Thomas Randolph, Jr.; John Colton; David Brooke; Mary Bradford; Leigh Douglas and Robert Hadley. After returning from naval service in World War II and completing his education, Mr. McNamara joined the law firm of Williams, Cocke and Tunstall in 1952 and remained with that firm for 18 years. He practiced law on his own in Norfolk from January 1971 to January 1976 when the Virginia General Assembly elected him to a circuit judgeship in Norfolk. Mr. McNamara's political career spanned a period of nine years. He was elected to the House of Delegates in 1967 and reelected in 1969. In 1972 he sought and won a four-year term in the Virginia Senate. In the House of Delegates his principal committee assignments were Courts of Justice (1970-1971), Counties, Cities and Towns (1968-1971) and Labor (1970-1971). His Senate Committee assignments were Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources; Courts of Justice; Rehabilitation and Social Services; Transportation. He also served as chairman of the Policy Advisory Committee of James River 3(c) Comprehensive Water Quality Management Study. In 1975 Governor Mills E. Godwin appointed him to the chairmanship of the State Water Control Board. Mr. McNamara announced his intention in 1975 to return to the private practice of law in Norfolk. In January 1976, however, he was elected by the General Assembly to fill a circuit judgeship. Mr. McNamara is a member of numerous civic and professional organizations. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar, the American, Virginia and Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Associations; the Norfolk chapters of V.M.I. and Washington and Lee Alumni Associations; Vice-Chairman of the Lay Advisory Board, DePaul Hospital; the Board of Directors, Southeastern Tidewater Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc.; Vice- Chairman of the Norfolk Charter Advisory Study Commission (1968-1971); chairman of the Steering Committee, Tidewater Assembly in Family Life; vice-president, Health-Welfare-Recreation Planning Council; member, Mayor's Youth Commission; Board of Directors, United Drug Abuse Council, Inc.; co-chairman, Tidewater Chapter, National Council of Christians and Jews; member, coordinating Committee on Services for the Handicapped Child of the Virginia Council on Health and Medical Care.

Note written by James Sweeney

Language of Materials



Served in the Virginia General Assembly as a member of the House of Delegates (1968-1971) and the Senate (1972-1976). Consists of records of his service in the General Assembly, 1968-1976, including publications of state agencies and correspondence as member of the State Water Control Board.

Arrangement Note

The papers are organized into four series: Series I: Legislative Files; Series II: Records of Service on the State Water Control Board; Series III: Political Papers; and Series IV: Newspaper Clippings.

Source of Acquisition

Thomas R. McNamara

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A76-4

A Guide to the Thomas R. McNamara Papers
Dr. James R. Sweeney
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU Community Collections Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US