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Paul Bailey papers

Identifier: MSS-018

Scope and Contents

The papers of Maryland Senator Paul Bailey consist mostly of reports and correspondence. Although Rep. Bailey had two different runs in the Maryland Senate, first from 1947-1954 and again from 1967-1974, the papers of this collection only cover his second tenure, mostly from 1969 to 1974.

A bulk of the collection is concerning the successful fight to stop the Steuart Petroleum Company's construction of an oil refinery in St. Mary's County in the late 1960s, early 1970s. Senator Bailey opposed the construction of most heavy industry in environmentally pristine Southern Maryland, and found in ally for this cause in the Patuxent River Naval Air Station (Pax River NAS), who also opposed industry on the grounds that polluted air, a deep water port, and the establishment of a Foreign Trade Zone would hinder the operation of the Naval Air Base. In addition to fighting the refinery by way of sponsoring a bill to halt construction of oil refineries in St. Mary's County (this bill passed the Senate unanimously), a County-wide referendum in July of 1974 also went against the refinery by a margin of 2 to 1. The Steuart Petroleum Company, which already operated in St. Mary's County, was responsible for an oil spill in 1970, and this greatly hampered their efforts to sway popular opinion in their favor for the establishment of a Foreign Trade Zone and construction of an oil refinery. Although much of the material in the collection is related to the fight against the refinery, pro-refinery points of view are also represented, most notably in a short comic book distributed by Steuart Petroleum (Box 4, Folder 20).

The papers contain a lot of material concerning pollution in general, as well as an unsuccessful fight to halt the construction of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Point. Other topics include the 1970 amendments to the Potomac River Basin Compact (Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia had established an Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin). A large topical file covers a variety of issues related to Southern Maryland and St. Mary's County.


  • 1946-1974
  • Majority of material found within 1969 - 1974

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open without restriction.

Biographical History

State Senator Paul Jacob Bailey was born October 30, 1905 in Chaptico, St. Mary's County, Maryland. He worked as a lawyer and also played clarinet and saxophone in the United States Navy Band and Meyer Davis Orchestra. Served as Justice of the Peace from 1933-1937 and as a Republican Senator representing St. Mary's County 1947-1954 and again from 1967-1974, when he served St. Mary’s and Charles Counties. Between his two stints in the Maryland Senate, Paul Baily served for eight years on the Maryland State Roads Commission. He practiced law in St. Mary's County into his late 80s and was one of the oldest practicing lawyers in Maryland (1).

During his first term as Senator, Bailey sponsored legislation to legalize slot machine gambling in St. Mary’s County in 1947, though “the slots” would eventually be made illegal again. Bailey was a vocal opponent of a proposed oil refinery in Piney Point, Maryland and played a key role in halting the Steuart Petroleum Company’s plans by authoring a bill to limit the constructions of oil refineries in St. Mary’s County (which passed the Senate unanimously) and by holding a successful county-wide referendum, both in 1974. A strong opponent of heavy industry in Southern Maryland, Senator Bailey also opposed the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Calvert County, Maryland, but efforts to stop its construction proved unsuccessful.

Paul Bailey is remembered for being a strong speaker and his use of humor in speeches(2), sometimes playfully referred to as 'Honey Tonsils' or 'Senator Claghorn' (1).

An Oral History Interview from 1991 is available on the college's SlackWater Oral History Collection website:

Paul Bailey 1991 interview

1. Lawyer's talk is cheap, and he's generous with it At 87, 'Honey Tonsils' is smooth as ever. Baltimore Sun. (, accessed July 7, 2014).

2. Maryland Senator Edward Azrael's Biographical Page, Maryland Society of Senates Past (, accessed July 7, 2014).


4 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers of Maryland Senator Paul Bailey, related to his second tenure as State Senator, 1968-1974. Most of the material is related to the successful fight to stop the Steuart Petroleum Company from building an oil refinery in St. Mary's County, Maryland, and pollution in general.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Family of Paul Bailey, 2007.

Separated Materials

Almost no material was separated from the Paul Bailey papers, with the exception of a small number of duplicates.

Paul Bailey papers
Katherine Ryner, College Archivist
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the St. Mary's College of Maryland Archives Repository

Calvert Hall
St. Mary's College of Maryland
47645 College Dr.
St. Mary's City MD 20686-3001 United States