CLELAND, Joseph Maxwell (Max) (1942-2021)
Senate Years of Service: 1997-2003

CLELAND, JOSEPH MAXWELL (MAX), A Senator from Georgia; born in Atlanta, Ga., August 24, 1942; grew up in Lithonia and graduated from Lithonia High School 1960; graduated from Stetson University, DeLand, Fla. 1964; received a Master's degree from Emory University 1968; served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of captain 1965-1968; wounded in combat in Vietnam; member of the Georgia state senate 1971-1975; unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor 1974; consultant to Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs 1975, professional Senate staff member 1975-1977; appointed administrator of United States Veterans Administration by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, and served until 1981; Georgia Secretary of State 1982-1996; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1996, and served from January 3, 1997 to January 3, 2003; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 2002; was a resident of Atlanta, Ga., until his death on November 9, 2021; interment in Georgia National Cemetery, Canton, Ga.

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum

Atlanta, GA
Papers: 1961-1982. 39 linear feet. Correspondence, reports, photographs, press clippings, press statements, speeches, invitations, handwritten notes, and magazines relating to Cleland’s tenure as a Georgia State Senator, Administrator of the Veterans Affairs Agency, and his participation in the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs to improve hospitals. The material reflects his concerns for Vietnam veterans regarding employment, health care, drug abuse, and education. The collection also contains personal correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia. Finding aid available on-line.

Stetson University Archives

DeLand, FL
Papers: 800 items. Max Cleland's personal memorabilia, including items from his time in Vietnam, the U.S. Senate and other political offices. Specifically included are items from his government offices, items from campaigns, plaques, awards, DVDs, CDs, letters from U.S. presidents and prominent government officials, and more than 5,000 photos, many of them autographed. Also video and audio clips from Vietnam and three books, Strong at the Broken Places, Going for the Max!, and Heart of a Patriot. Finding aid available on-line.

University of Georgia
Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Athens, GA
Papers: 1947-2008. 318.75 linear feet, 2.8 gigabytes. Constituent correspondence, legislative subject files, committee service files, press files, campaign records, website, photographs, district state office files, and some records from his pre-Senate service as a Georgia state senator, head of the Veterans Administration, and Georgia Secretary of State. Finding aid available on-line.

  • Cleland, Max. Heart of a Patriot: How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009.
  • Cleland, Max. Strong at the Broken Places: A Personal Story. Atlanta: Cherokee Publishing Co., 1986.