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Peter Kostas Babalas Papers

Collection ID: MG 17

Scope and Contents

The collection primarily covers legislative duties carried out by Virginia State Senator Peter Babalas. Included in the papers are copies of bill introduced, correspondence, news releases, news clippings, and studies that chiefly relate to banking legislation, the Industrial Development and Revenue Bond Act, Pari-Mutuel Betting, and studies concerning the port of Hampton Roads. Other materials include speeches mad during his campaign for the State Senate in 1965, as well as his military discharge papers.


  • 1943-1979, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 04/25/1977



0.80 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

Peter Kostas Babalas, son of Kostas Babalas and Katherine B., was born July 8, 1922, in Boston, MA and grew up in Cambridge, MA. He attended a vocational high school and went on to receive an A.B. degree in economics from Harvard College in 1945. His college work was interrupted by service in the armed forces of the United States during World War II. In 1948 he married Lillie Macheras of Lexington. They became the parents of two daughters, Marcia A. and Karen E. He received an L.L.B. degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1950 and began the practice of law in Norfolk, VA. In 1951, he opened the law firm of Peter K. Babalas & Assoc., PC. In the late 1960's, he left the firm to start a general private practice with his wife as his para-legal. Babalas' record of military service began in 1942. On September 8, 1942, he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the V-5 Program, US Naval Reserve, and served until March 5, 1943. Two weeks later he enlisted as a Private in the Army and was sent to the Anti-aircraft Military School, Camp Davis, NC, and served until January 26, 1944, during which period he became a First Lieutenant. The next day, January 27, 1944, he began service in the 423rd Infantry and was discharged on June 7, 1946. Recalled during the Korean Conflict, he served in the army from February 1951 to May 12, 1952. From that date he remained as a First Lieutenant in the US Army Reserve until April 1, 1953, when he was honorably discharged. His various commands included the European Theater of Operations where he received the ETO Medal with 4 Battle Stars. Babalas became a Virginia State Senator representing the 5th District Norfolk in 1967. He served the consolidated 5th, 6th, and 7th Senatorial Districts of Norfolk City and Virginia Beach City from 1968 until his death in 1987. He rose through the ranks of the state Democratic Party to become chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee. He was also a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee and thus a participant in the budget-writing process. His papers indicate that he also chaired the following committees: VALC Committee on Virginia Port Authority, Joint Subcommittee on Banking, and VALC Industrial Development and Revenue Bond Study. He is remembered in particular for his work in unifying the Hampton Roads ports and championing the causes of his constituents. He was also known throughout his political career, as well as in his personal fife, as a scrapper. When Babalas returned to the General Assembly at its session on January 9, 1986, he was accused by the Senate Ethics Advisory Panel "of violating two sections of the conflict-of-interest law last year by casting votes that benefited one of his clients, Landbank Equity Corp." (quoting Atty. Gen. William G. Broaddus, Virginia-Pilot, January 9, 1986). In that same month he became the first member of the Virginia General Assembly to be censured by his colleagues for unethical conduct. After several months of study and deliberation, a news item appeared on August 15, 1986, stating that "State Senator Peter K. Babalas of Norfolk was acquitted the preceding Thursday [August 14, 1986], on charges that he violated the Virginia conflict-of-interest act, even though Circuit Judge Thomas N. Vance said Babalas had a personal interest at stake when he helped defeat a bill last year" (Virginian-Pilot). In addition to being a member of the Virginia State Senate, Babalas was also a member of numerous other organizations: Greek Orthodox Church, Saints and Sinners, Masonic Lodges to Shrine (Khedive), Elks, Civitan, Knights of Pythias, American Legion, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, American Bar Association, Virginia Bar Association, and Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association. He died on December 29, 1987, in Virginia Beach, VA, after a near decade-long battle with myeloma.

Note written by Ellis E. O'Neal, Jr.

Language of Materials



Represented the 5th District in the Virginia State Senate from 1967-1987. Collection primarily relates to his service in the State Senate from 1972-1979.

Source of Acquisition

Peter Kostas Babalas

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A77-29

A Guide to the Peter Kostas Babalas Papers
Ellis E. O'Neal, Jr.
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