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Partial Collections List: Politicians and Government Officials
Documents by and about many U.S. politicians and government officials (most of them Yale graduates) form a substantial part of the Manuscripts and Archives Department's law-related collections. Many of these individuals were attorneys whose legal expertise informed their political and government service; others were career elected officials or bureaucrats who played important roles in shaping law and social policy. The breadth and scope of the documents varies by collection, but researchers interested in the intersection between law and politics will likely find the sample collections listed below and others like them of some value. If the individual that you are interested in does not appear on this list, search the Yale Finding Aids Database, the Yale Library ORBIS catalog, or the Lillian Goldman Law Library's MORRIS catalog.
The George Jacob Abbot papers consist mainly of correspondence, drafts of speeches, unfinished drafts of U.S. State Department papers, newspaper clippings and other materials related to Abbot's employment as secretary to Daniel Webster and to his diplomatic service. There are some Abbot family materials among the papers as well. Abbot's correspondents include Daniel Webster; judges Charles Jackson, James Kent, and Joseph Story; and Prentiss Mellen, first Chief Justice of Maine.
These papers consist of correspondence, a diary, memoranda, and printed material largely relating to Gordon Auchincloss's position as assistant counselor in the State Department (1917) and to his position as secretary to Colonel E. M. House at the armistice negotiations and the Paris Peace Conference. Some material on personal affairs is also included.
After graduating from Wesleyan University in 1933, Douglas Joseph Bennet went to work in advertising and sales promotion. He moved to Hartford, Connecticut in April 1942 to set up the gasoline rationing program for Connecticut. In the fall of 1943 he joined Chester Bowles at the Office of Price Administration in Washington as chief of the Office of Program Planning, Department of Information. These papers document his service in the Office.
Correspondence, diaries, account books, daybooks, legal papers, deeds, and land books of the Boardman family of New Haven, New Milford, and Ohio. The family also had extensive real estate holdings in Connecticut and the Western Reserve. The papers document family activities and relationships, extensive land holdings in Ohio, business interests in land and manufacturing operations, the legal careers of William Whiting and William Jarvis Boardman, and the career of U.S. Senator Elijah Boardman
Chester Bowles graduated from Yale College in 1924. He was named a Special Assistant to the Secretary General of the United Nations and was elected governor of Connecticut (1948-1950). Bowles served as ambassador to India (1951-1953, 1963-1969) and was elected to the U.S. Congress (1959-1960). These papers consist of correspondence, speeches, writings, photographs, clippings, oral history interviews, and other material documenting his personal life and professional career.
William C. Bullitt began his career as a diplomat in December 1917 when he joined the State Department as a special assistant to the Secretary. From 1919 to 1933, he withdrew from government service. After the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bullitt returned to the State Department in 1933 and served in various capacities, including the first ambassador to the Soviet Union. These papers document his personal and professional life.
This collections contains correspondence and other papers relating to members of the Burr family of Fairfield, Connecticut. Principal figures represented in the papers include Aaron Burr (1756-1836), soldier, politician and third vice-president of the United States; and his father, the Reverend Aaron Burr (1716-1757), scholar, clergyman, and second president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton).
Benjamin Butterworth was an Ohio lawyer and politician. This collection contains scrapbooks of clippings and typed transcriptions of scrapbooks (1882-1898) concerning his career as a lawyer, member of Congress from Ohio (1878-1882, 1886-1890) and commissioner of patents (1883-1885, 1897-1898).
Correspondence and other papers of Champion Spalding Chase, Civil War veteran, lawyer, and politician. The papers are comprised primarily of personal correspondence between Chase and members of his family, although there is some material concerning his Civil War experiences and to his work with the Whig and Republican Parties.
The papers consist of correspondence, subject files, writings, memoranda and reports, research materials, and miscellanea, documenting the personal life and professional career of John Collier. His service with the American Indian Defense Association (A.I.D.A.), as United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and as a teacher and author is detailed. Correspondence files include materials with leading political, literary, and social figures.
A former U.S. Senator from Connecticut, David Daggett was appointed an associate instructor at the Yale Law School in 1824 and was Kent Professor of Law from 1826 until 1848. These papers relate primarily to Daggett's legal and political activities and to Federalist Party politics.
John A. Danaher served as an assistant United States attorney in Hartford (1922-1934), as secretary of state of Connecticut (1933-1935), as U.S. Senator from Connecticut (1938-1944), and as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (1953-1969). These papers consist primarily of John A. Danaher's senatorial files and include political and constituent correspondence, speeches, background material, and copies of legislation.
John Davis was elected to Congress from West Virginia in 1910 and 1912, and served as solicitor general of the United States (1913-1918) and as ambassador to Great Britain (1918-1921). He was also the Democratic candidate for president in 1924. These papers consist of correspondence, speeches and writings, diaries, photographs, extensive material from the presidential campaign of 1924, and material relating to his law practice and public activities.
The Chauncey M. Depew Papers are the later personal papers of Chauncey Mitchell Depew (1834-1928), United States Senator from New York and President and Chairman of the Board of the New York Central Railway System.The papers consist mainly of correspondence and newspaper clippings. The great bulk of the correspondence falls in Depew's later years, when his active career was largely over.
Pierpoint Edwards was a prominent Connecticut attorney and federal judge. These papers contain legal and financial documents relating to Edwards's business activities and his legal career, most of which was carried on in New Haven. Also included are drafts of his political writings and speeches on the Federalist Party, Connecticut's charter government, and other topics.
Henry Leavitt Ellsworth graduated from Yale in 1810. He studied law at Litchfield Law School and in 1832 was appointed Commissioner of Indian tribes in Arkansas and Oklahoma. In 1835, he was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Patents, remaining until 1845. The papers consist of several letters and two journals of Henry Ellsworth's travels to New Connecticut (1811) and to the West (1832) after his appointment as Commissioner to the Indians.
Office files, printed matter, and press releases documenting Franklin M. Foote’s service as commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Health (1959-1972), as a member of the Connecticut Clean Air Commission and Air Pollution Control Program (1970-1971), and the Council on Tuberculosis. Included also are a small amount of papers from 1935 and 1936 of Dr. Stanley Hart Osborn who was then commissioner of the Department of Health.
These papers consist of Supreme Court materials, correspondence, writings, and photographs that document the various aspects of Abe Fortas’s career as a law school professor, government official, lawyer in private practice, presidential advisor, patron and practitioner of the arts, public figure, and Supreme Court Justice.
The John D. Guthrie Papers document half a century of forestry and conservation organization and activity in America. The collection is especially rich in materials concerning the formation and work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Other organizations represented include the United States Forest Service, the Society of American Foresters, the American Forestry Association, and the Yale Forest School.
Hill was a businessman and politician in Norwalk, Connecticut. He was elected to the U.S. Congress and served from 1895-1913 and 1915-1917.The papers consist of correspondence, bills, research materials, and topical files which document his political career. Correspondence files contain constituent mail regarding requests for publications, political appointments, favors, and suggested votes on pending legislation.
Correspondence, memoranda, speeches, press releases, clippings, printed matter, photographs, and memorabilia documenting Hilles's activities as secretary to President Taft (1911-1913), as chairman and committeeman to the Republican National Committee (1912-1937) and as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (1909-1911). His correspondence as Taft's secretary is of special importance as being originally part of the President's office files.
House functioned as President Wilson's chief negotiator in Europe during the negotiations for peace (1917-1919), and as chief deputy for Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference. This collection includes material relating to the Paris Peace Conference such as minutes of meetings of the Supreme Council and memoranda from various countries presenting claims. Writings include essays, reviews, novels, and other works.
This collection includes papers of the diplomat David Humphreys (1752-1818). The bulk of the papers (1789-1808) deals with Humphreys's labors in Europe as an agent of the United States government, both as commissioner for Algerian affairs empowered to negotiate peace with Algiers and arrange ransom for American prisoners, and as minister plenipotentiary to Spain charged with maintaining peaceful relations with Spain and her American colonies.
William Kent was elected to the United States House of Representatives from California (1911-1917) and served on the U.S. Tariff Commission (1917-1921). These papers document Kent's career as a municipal reformer in Chicago and Northern California, his interest in environmental issues, his political service, and his business interests.
These papers include speeches, office files, videotapes, and other materials that document Kessler's tenure as commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (1990-1997), particularly his role in the campaign to regulate nicotine as a controlled substance.
These papers consist of official, personal, and business correspondence, articles, speeches, clippings, recordings, and other papers of Arthur Bliss Lane, career diplomat, public servant, and lecturer. The papers reflect Lane's diplomatic career from the time he entered the service in Rome (1916) until his resignation as Ambassador to Poland (1947). They also contain correspondence from international political figures.
These papers document the career of Richard C. Lee, Mayor of New Haven (1954-1969). The papers contain correspondence and other materials on the practice of urban politics, urban renewal, New Haven's efforts in the war on poverty, civil rights and race relations, town-gown relations, and his interaction with local and state Democratic Party leaders.
This collection contains correspondence during Mason's terms as Attorney General of New Hampshire (1802-1805), as a senator in the United States Senate (1813-1817), and as a representative in the New Hampshire House of Representatives (1820-1824). The correspondence also reflects his activities in private practice and in local issues, such as the Dartmouth College Case (1818-1819).
Correspondence, memoranda, press releases, printed matter, and reports pertaining to the Citizens Committee for the Hoover Report (1948-1958), postwar Germany, the 1968 election, the Veterans Administration, and environmental policies. The papers also contain correspondence, reports and printed matter of Charles E. Smith (1948-1957) and correspondence, memoranda, reports etc. on the American Tariff League , Inc. (1955-1959) and the Trade Relations Council of the United States (1959-1963).
William Moorhead was first elected to Congress in 1958 and represented the 14th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives until 1980. He was active on a wide range of legislative fronts which included rescuing New York City and Chrysler corporation from their respective fiscal difficulties, establishment of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, and establishment of a synthetic fuels corporation. These papers document his service in Congress.
These papers include correspondence, letterbooks, scrapbooks, writings, topical files, photographs, and clippings which document the career of Charles Nagel. The papers highlight Nagel's legal practice and detail his role as counsel to Adolphus Busch and the Anheuser-Busch breweries. They also document some aspects of his service as Secretary of Commerce and Labor in William Howard Taft's cabinet (1909-1913).
These papers contain correspondence, speeches, reports, scrapbooks, and other material documenting the political career of Francis G. Newlands. The papers highlight Nevada Democratic and Silver Party politics and focus on Newlands's legislative programs on transportation, particularly railroads and inland waterways, interstate commerce, irrigation, flood control, land reclamation, currency and silver, conservation and forests, and tariffs.
These papers consist of correspondence, legal and financial documents, printed matter, and other papers of Edwards Pierrepont, attorney, judge, Attorney General of the United States, and minister to Great Britain. Some of the correspondence relates to such questions as Reconstruction, bimetallism, the "whiskey ring" controversy, the Hayes-Tilden election, and the Republican Party.
Correspondence, speeches, scrapbooks, political cartoons, newspaper clippings, printed material, and other personal and family papers of Thomas C. Platt, New York businessman and Republican member of the U.S. House (1873-1877) and U.S. Senate (1881, 1896-1909). The collection deals primarily with the inner workings of the Republican party in the state of New York from the 1870s to 1910, with emphasis on the period from 1896 to 1909.
These papers consist of correspondence, letterbooks, documents, diaries, subject files and other materials documenting the personal life and professional career of Frank Lyon Polk, State Department Counselor (1915-1919), Acting Secretary of State (1918-1919), and Under Secretary of State (1919-1920). Polk headed the American Mission to Negotiate Peace (1919) and managed the 1924 Democratic presidential convention campaign of John W. Davis.
Walter Bedell Smith served as U.S. ambassador to the U.S.S.R. between 1946 and 1949. He was then director of the Central Intelligence Agency between 1950 and 1953, then becoming Undersecretary of State until 1954. These papers consist of his correspondence and writings relating to My Three Years in Moscow, a book published in 1950.
This collection includes the personal and professional papers of former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance (1977-1980). They primarily document Cyrus R. Vance's professional and personal activities. Of particular significance are background materials, correspondence, position papers, and handwritten meeting notes relating to SALT II negotiation, the Camp David Summit and the signing of the Middle East Peace Treaty, diplomatic relations with China, and negotiations during the Iran hostage crisis.
The Washington Family papers consist of correspondence and other papers of George Washington and various members of his family, in particular Martha (Dandridge) Washington and William Augustine Washington, half-brother of George. Letters from Alexander Hamilton, Nathaniel Greene, and George Clinton are also included. The bulk of the material relates to George and Martha Washington. As well as correspondence there are military papers and personal financial papers.