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Joseph T. Fitzpatrick Papers

Collection ID: MG 118

Scope and Contents

The Joseph T. Fitzpatrick Papers contain an assortment of documents related to his multiple governmental positions in Virginia, including the City of Norfolk and the Virginia General Assembly. The collection also includes newspaper clippings, personal writings and artifacts.


  • 1895-2004, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/24/1977



12.50 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

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

Joseph Thomas Fitzpatrick was born on June 1st, 1929 in Norfolk, VA. He was born to Clarence Thomas and Alice Fitzpatrick. He graduated from Holy Trinity School in 1947, and went on to attend the Norfolk Division of William & Mary College.He married Ms. Angeline Venuto in 1949, and they stayed married for forty-four years, until she died in 1993. They had three daughters: Barbara Fitzpatrick Cox, Kathleen Fitzpatrick McGinnis, and Mary Regis F. Williams. Their daughters married and began families of their own, making Joseph and Angeline grandparents. Besides the multiple personal achievements, Fitzpatrick also achieved many public government positions. He was Chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia from 1972 to 1979. From 1975 to 1981, he was Senator for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1981, Fitzpatrick became the Treasurer for the City of Norfolk, and stayed in the position until 2001. He was a very prominent governmental figure in Virginia, who wanted to make state and local government more open and transparent. Many people admired him for the unique perspective he brought to politics. Sometimes that unique perspective would cause some friction, that whenever a six foot four tall man with black rimmed glasses and thick silver hair walked through the door, everyone knew that a heated discussion was coming. Garrett Epps immortalized him by creating a character inspired by his personality in his 1997 novel, The Shad Treatment. His achievements followed him everywhere he went. He worked eight years for the Norfolk Southern Railway, and fifteen years as a general traffic manager for Royster Company. He was also a licensed realtor for 20 years. Fitzpatrick was President of the Virginia Catholic High School League Coaches Association for four years, and received the award for Coach of the Year in 1962. During the 1960s, he led a group of young men who took part in Anti-Byrd campaign. He led the Second Congressional District Committee from 1968 to 1972 and the Norfolk Democratic Executive Committee from 1964 to 1968. He began organizing precincts as Norfolk Chair for the 1960 John F. Kennedy campaign. He was also asked to serve as Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign manager for the southern states. In 1971, he was the founding director of the Bank of Commonwealth. He won the Virginia Young Democrat Outstanding Virginian Award in 1975, then the Legislative Conservationist of the Year Award in 1979. He was also the founding director of the Bank of Hampton Roads in 1987. In 1990, he was named Treasurer of the Year by the Virginia Treasurers Association. From 1992 to 2000, Fitzpatrick was Vice President of St. Mary’s Cemetery Board. He also was President of the DePaul Advisory Board from 1994 to 1995. In 1995 he won the Virginia Commonwealth Award. In 1996 he received an honor from the Virginia Association of Local Executive Officers, as well as both the Distinguished Service Award and Virginia Statesman Award, which were created in his honor. Joseph T. Fitzpatrick passed away on July 12, 2006 at DePaul Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia.

Note written by Samantha West; Kathleen Smith

Language of Materials



This collection consists of political documents, correspondence, clippings, artifacts, and other items pertaining to the career of Joseph T. Fitzpatrick.

Arrangement Note

This collection is organized into four series: Series I: Norfolk City Involvement; Series II: Virginia General Assembly; Series III: Campaign Material; and Series IV: Personal Files.

Source of Acquisition

Joseph T. Fitzpatrick

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A77-6

Accruals and Additions

Additional accessions in 1980, 2007, 2013.

Related Materials

Randy Wright Papers (MG 108); Mason C. Andrews Papers (MG 62).

Processing Information

The container list was created by Samantha West in February 2014.

A Guide to the Joseph T. Fitzpatrick Papers
Samantha West; Brooklyn Arrington; Kathleen Smith
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