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William Brown McKinley Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: McKinley, William Brown, 1856-1926.
Title: William Brown McKinley Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1906-1920
Quantity: 30.0 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American legislator. McKinley was the Republican U.S. Representative(1905-1913; 1915-1920) and Senator (1920-1926) from Illinois. Collection includes correspondence, financial records, pamphlets, petitions, photographs, press releases, scrapbooks, and speeches, mostly relating to McKinley's roll as director of William H. Taft's renomination campaign prior to the Presidential election of 1912.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

William Brown McKinley, businessman and congressman, was born in Petersburg, Illinois, September 5, 1856, the son of George and Hannah (Finley) McKinley. After attending local public schools, he enrolled at the University of Illinois, Urbana, for two years. In 1881 he married Kate Frisbee of Chicago.

McKinley began a business career in the family firm of J.B. & W.B. McKinley. The company originally specialized in private banking and mortgages, then expanded into public finance and the construction of municipal utilities. In the city of his residence, Champaign, Illinois, McKinley built and controlled the trolley car lines and water, gas and electric utilities. He continued to acquire urban utilities and interurban lines across the state, eventually becoming president of both the Western Railways & Light System and the Illinois Traction Company.

After the turn of the century, McKinley served three years as a trustee of the University of Illinois, then, almost fifty, he embarked on a twenty-year career in politics. As a Republican, he was elected representative of the 19th Illinois district in the 59th, 60th, 61st, and 62nd Congresses (19051913). His unsuccessful candidacy in 1912, the year he directed President William Howard Taft's renomination campaign, was followed by three more terms in the House of Representatives (1915-1921).

McKinley left the House of Representatives for the Senate in 1920. He died on December 7, 1926, months short of completing his first term in the Senate and weeks after the disappointment of losing a renomination for a second term.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The William Brown McKinley Papers are organized into six groups: correspondence, political records, legislative documents, petitions, printed material, and scrapbooks. The larger part of the papers fall within the decade 1908-1918. One of the congressman's major assignments was the organization of the 1912 Republican Presidential Convention in Chicago in support of incumbent William Howard Taft. Most of the collection focuses on the political contest between Taft and Theodore Roosevelt for the Republican party nomination, but correspondence and election records concentrating on other campaign years are present, as well as McKinley's correspondence relating to international affairs, such as the proposed Pan-American Congress of 1906; the national issues debated in Washington, such as the tariff, the trusts and judicial reform; and the special concerns of politics in McKinley's Illinois constituency.

Among subjects of potential research value are the position of the Negro in the Republican Party, the relation of Congressman McKinley to the business community, and an abundance of contemporary comment, both crank and sophisticated, about the election issues of 1912 and the contrasting personalities of William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt.

Correspondence (Boxes 1-51) consists of more than 28,000 letters, most of which were sent to McKinley and his staff in 1912 when McKinley directed the National Taft for President Bureau. Carbon copies of outgoing correspondence are attached to the incoming correspondence from supporters and opponents of the. Taft candidacy. The "Miscellaneous" folders included with some states contain anonymous, unidentified, fragmentary, group and form correspondence; and the "Miscellaneous, United States" folder in Box 51 contains the same type of materials which cannot be identified with any particular state.

Much of the correspondence appears to have been dictated by McKinley's personal secretary, John C. Eversman, as well as by Henry Casson, William Hayward and Leroy T. Vernon, all officers of the Republican National Committee and its organs in the convention, the National Taft Bureau and the Subcommittee on Arrangements. Party correspondence addressed to President Taft at the White House was often referred to McKinley for answer by the Presidential Secretary, Charles D. Hilles. After McKinley succeeded in managing the renomination of Taft at the Chicago convention, Hilles took charge of the national campaign against Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. There is one letter signed by President Taft which covers enclosures advocating legal reforms.

Other notable correspondents include Charles Ballinger; Charles G. Dawes, president of the Central Trust Company of Illinois, associate of McKinley, and a financier who gained prominence after World War I for his plan to cope with reparations payments; Henry A. DuPont of Delaware; and Henry L. Stim5on, Secretary of War in Taft's cabinet. Within the correspondence of several states will be found letters from governors, congressmen, civil servants, political organizers, businessmen, and voters of every opinion about the issues and personalities in the election of 1912.

Political Records (Boxes 52-56) are subdivided into national campaign records, state campaign records, financial records, speeches and position papers, press releases, and memorabilia.

National campaign records (Box 52) contain historical references from conventions antedating the convention of 1912, a few memoranda on strategy, an unbound packet of electoral statistics for all states in 1918, party organizational charts, and a scrapbook of form letters, broadsides, press releases, pamphlets and serial publications issued by the National Taft Bureau in 1912. Among the miscellaneous campaign records is a confidential packet of instructions to doormen, bandmasters, police operatives, "yell captains", and other McKinley functionaries inside convention hall. Rosters of Republican National Committee members and minutes of the Republican National Congressional Committee (Box 53) cover the period 1908-1916.

State campaign records (Box 54) are divided by state (35) and include formal assessments of political conditions on the eve of the 1912 convention, as well as copies of Republican state committee resolutions, lists of party officers, delegates and workers, memoranda on state organization, reports on local issues, and materials referring to the campaign strategy of the opposition.

Financial records (Boxes 54-55) include bills and receipts for the following expenses listed here in descending order of cost: printing, engraving, and campaign novelties; telephone, telegraph and messenger service; office and hotel rent; freight charges; decorations and military bands; office supplies. Also included in this section are expense accounts, bank deposits, drafts, statements and cancelled checks. The bills were accumulated between the years 1907 and 1916, and the larger part fall within the six-months preceding the Chicago convention of 1912. "Studies and reports" consist of lists of campaign contributors, periodic statements of receipts and disbursements of the Republican National Committee, and analyses of campaign expenditures between 1912-1917.

Speeches, position papers and press releases about President Taft and Theodore Roosevelt are located in Box 56. Memorabilia include a brochure of the Taft inauguration, itineraries, two photographs of Taft, the family genealogy, a Taft banner, a campaign ribbon and assorted campaign buttons.

Legislative documents (Box 57) contain a small group of bills and acts in draft and printed form.

Petitions (Box 57) are dated 1910 and concern boiler inspection legislation and the parcels post.

Printed materials (Box 57) consist of broadsides, government publications, magazines, separates, clippings and pamphlets about Taft, his opponents, and a range of political issues between 1906 and 1920. All titles are given in the shelf list.

There are two Scrapbooks of clippings (Boxes 58-59) taken from Chicago newspapers of June, 1912.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged first according to state or territory of origin in alphabetical sequence, and within each state or territory in alphabetical sequence by name of correspondent. A small group of correspondence originating from outside the United States follows and is arranged alphabetically by country of origin. Legislative documents and petitions are in chronological order. Printed material is arranged alphabetically by type and within that in chronological order.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


McKinley, William Brown, 1856-1926 -- Archives.
Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930.


Campaign management.
Legislators -- United States.
Political campaigns -- United States.
Politicians -- United States.
Presidents -- United States -- Election, 1912.
Republican National Committee (U.S.)
Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )


United States -- Politics and government -- 1901-1953.

Genres and Forms

Broadsides (notices)
Financial records.
Press releases.
Speeches (documents)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

William Brown McKinley Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, ca. 1963.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: JEJ
Date: Mar 1969
Revision history: 23 Jul 2008 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Box 1 A-W
Box 1 C-W
Box 1 A-W
Box 2 A-L
Box 3 M-Z
Box 3 Miscellaneous
Box 3 A-W
Box 3 Miscellaneous
Box 3 A-W
Box 3 Miscellaneous
Box 3 B-W
Box 3 A-Z
Box 5 A-Y
Box 5 Miscellaneous
Box 5 [Miscellaneous]
Box 5 A-W
Box 6 A-C
Box 6 Chapman, R. N.
Box 6 Checkley, William N.
Box 6 Clark, C. N.
Box 6 Cline, C. A.
Box 7 D
Box 7 Dawes, Charles G.
Box 7 Deneen, Charles S.
Box 7 E
Box 7 Eversman (miscellaneous)
Box 7 F
Box 7 Farmer, Walter M.
Box 7 G
Box 7 Gregory, Charles A.
Box 7 Grier, T.A.
Box 8 H
Box 8 Harry, M. L.
Box 8 Hayward, W. M.
Box 8 Hook, C. O.
Box 8 I, J
Box 8 James, Edmund Janes
Box 8 K
Box 8 L-Le
Box 8 Lemon, Frank K.
Box 8 Li-Ly
Box 9 M
Box 9 McKinley (miscellaneous)
Box 9 McMillan, H. M.
Box 9 N
Box 10 O-P
Box 10 Power, S. A.
Box 10 Q-Ry
Box 10 Rankin, A. C.
Box 10 Riley, Ozias
Box 10 S-Sl
Box 11 Sm-Sw
Box 11 Sherman, Lawrence Y.
Box 11 Steele, W. A.
Box 11 Torbet, L. K.
Box 11 U
Box 12 W
Box 12 Weir, Joseph C.
Box 12 Y-Z
Box 12 Miscellaneous
Box 13 A-Y
Box 14 A-H
Box 14 Hunter, Edward H.
Box 14 I-W
Box 14 Young, Lafayette
Box 14 Miscellaneous
Box 15 A-L
Box 16 M-Y
Box 17 A-W
Box 17 Miscellaneous
Box 18 A-Y
Box 19 A-P
Box 19 Parkhurst, Frederic H.
Box 19 R-W
Box 19 Miscellaneous
Box 19 A-W
Box 19 Miscellaneous
Box 19 A-W
Box 19 Miscellaneous
Box 20 A-D
Box 20 Diekma, Gerrit J.
Box 20 E-W
Box 20 Young, H. Olin
Box 21 A-J
Box 21 Johnson, Marcus
Box 21 K-Z
Box 21 A-W
Box 22 A-K
Box 23 L-St
Box 23 Stifel, Otto F.
Box 23 Su-Z
Box 23 Miscellaneous
Box 24 B-W
Box 24 A-C
Box 24 Currie, Frank M.
Box 24 D-Z
Box 25 B-W
New Hampshire
Box 25 A-W
New Jersey
Box 26 A-L
Box 27 M-Y
Box 27 Miscellaneous
New Mexico
Box 28 A-W
New York
Box 29 A-Bes
Box 29 Bennett, William S.
Box 29 Bi-Bro
Box 29 Brewster, William B.
Box 29 Brogan, William G.
Box 29 Browning, William J.
Box 29 Bru-C
Box 30 D-K
Box 31 L-Y
Box 31 Miscellaneous
North Carolina
Box 32 A-Y
Box 32 Miscellaneous
North Dakota
Box 32 A-W
Box 33 A-B
Box 33 Brown, M. R.
Box 33 Brown, Theodore F.
Box 33 Butler, Joseph G.
Box 33 C-F
Box 34 G-L
Box 34 Laylin, Lewis
Box 35 M-Y
Box 35 Miscellaneous
Box 36 A-Z
Box 36 Miscellaneous
Box 36 A-W
Box 36 Miscellaneous
Box 37 A-D
Box 37 Dunlap Printing
Box 37 E-K
Box 38 L-P
Box 38 Penrose, Boies
Box 38 R-Z
Box 38 Miscellaneous
Philippine Islands
Box 38 [Miscellaneous]
Puerto Rico
Box 38 [Miscellaneous]
Rhode Island
Box 39 B-W
South Carolina
Box 39 A-Y
Box 39 Miscellaneous
South Dakota
Box 40 A-W
Box 40 Miscellaneous
Box 40 A-W
Box 40 Miscellaneous
Box 41 A-H
Box 41 Hunt, P. B.
Box 41 I-K
Box 41 Keating, Joseph B.
Box 41 L
Box 42 M
Box 42 MacGregor, H. F.
Box 42 N-Z
Box 42 Miscellaneous
Box 43 A-Y
Box 43 A-W
Box 43 A-Z
Box 43 Miscellaneous
Box 44 A-P
Box 44 Perkins, S. A.
Box 44 R-W
Box 44 Miscellaneous
Washington, D.C.
Box 45 A-By
Box 45 Browning, William J.
Box 45 C
Box 45 Cannon, Joseph G.
Box 45 Curtis, Francis
Box 45 D
Box 46 E-H
Box 46 Hilles, Charles
Box 47 J-L
Box 47 Loeb, William, Jr.
Box 47 M
Box 47 McKinley (miscellaneous)
Box 47 N
Box 47 Nagle, Charles
Box 47 O-R
Box 48 S
Box 48 Shipp, Thomas R.
Box 48 Stimson, Henry L.
Box 48 T
Box 48 Taft, William Howard
Box 48 U-Y
Box 48 Miscellaneous
West Virginia
Box 49 A-H
Box 49 Harrison, J. Forsyth
Box 49 J
Box 50 K-Z
Box 50 Miscellaneous
Box 51 A-Z
Box 51 Miscellaneous
Box 51 A-W
United States, general
Box 51 Miscellaneous
Box 51 Austria
Box 51 Canada
Box 51 Cuba
Box 51 France
Box 51 Turkey
Political records
Campaign records, national
Box 52 Convention precedents, quotations and memoranda 1856-1912
Box 52 Electoral statistics 1918
Box 52 Mailing lists and organizational charts, 1903-1918
Box 52 Miscellaneous convention records 1912
Box 52 National Taft Bureau "Record Book" Mar 1912-Jun 1912 - bound volume
Includes form letters, broadsides, Taft Truths, Apr 23, 1912-May 31, 1912, Taft Truths, Mar 11, 1912-Jun 1, 1912, National Taft Bureau press releases, political pamphlets, clippings
Box 53 Republican National Committee lists 1908-1912
Box 53 Republican National Congressional Committee minutes 1908-1916
Box 53 National Republican Congressional Committee, "Executive Committee Minutes" 1914-1915 - bound volume
Campaign records, state 1912
Box 54 Arkansas
Box 54 California
Box 54 Connecticut
Box 54 Delaware
Box 54 Illinois
Box 54 Indiana
Box 54 Iowa
Box 54 Kansas
Box 54 Kentucky
Box 54 Louisiana
Box 54 Maine
Box 54 Maryland
Box 54 Massachusetts
Box 54 Michigan
Box 54 Minnesota
Box 54 Missouri
Box 54 Montana
Box 54 Nebraska
Box 54 New Jersey
Box 54 New York
Box 54 North Carolina
Box 54 Ohio
Box 54 Oklahoma
Box 54 Oregon
Box 54 Pennsylvania
Box 54 South Carolina
Box 54 South Dakota
Box 54 Tennessee
Box 54 Texas
Box 54 Vermont
Box 54 Virginia
Box 54 Washington
Box 54 Washington, D.C.
Box 54 West Virginia
Box 54 Wisconsin
Financial records
Bills and receipts
Box 54 1907-1910 (4 folders)
Box 54 1912, Feb, Mar
Box 55 1912, Apr-Oct
Box 55 1912 Miscellaneous
Box 55 1913-1916 (4 folders)
Box 55 Miscellaneous
Box 55 Studies and reports, Republican National Committee 1912-1917
Speeches and position papers
Box 56 Taft 1912
Box 56 Roosevelt 1912
Box 56 Miscellaneous
Press releases
Box 56 Taft headquarters 1912
Box 56 Roosevelt headquarters 1912
Box 56 Miscellaneous
Box 56 Brochure, Taft-Sherman inauguration 1909
Box 56 Calling cards
Box 56 Cartoons
Box 56 Invitations
Box 56 Itineraries
Box 56 Photographs
Box 56 Taft genealogy
Box 56 Miscellaneous - includes campaign buttons
Legislative documents
Box 57 1907-1912
Box 57 1910
Printed material
Box 57 Miscellaneous
Government publications
Box 57 War Department, Special Orders No. 266 Nov 9, 1906
Box 57 Congressional Record 19 May 1908, 15 Apr 1910, 10 Mar 1911
Box 57 Senate Document No. 44: "Absorption of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company" 1911
Box 57 Hearings on House Resolution No. 314 regarding restraint of trade 1911
Box 57 Taft, William Howard, "The Judiciary and Progress," An Address, Toledo, Ohio 8 Mar 1912
Box 57 Senate Document No. 604, relating to the proposed prosecution of the International Harvester Company 24 Apr 1912
Box 57 "Campaign Contributions and Publicity Acts" 1914
Magazines 1903-1918
Box 57 Outlook, C, No. 9 Mar 2, 1912
Box 57 Pearson's Magazine, XXVII, No. 5 May 1912
Box 57 National City Bank of New York, Bulletin Oct 1917
Box 57 National Security League Bulletin, I, No. 1, Feb 1913
Magazine separates
Box 57 Murphy, W. R., "The Personification of a Square Deal," The Pioneer, XI, No. 12 Dec 30, 1907
Box 57 "Uncle Joe Cannon Hits Back at 'Success'," Printers' Ink Mar 10, 1909
Box 57 Foote, Allen Ripley, "Federal Interference with State and Local Taxation," Ohio Journal of Commerce Dec 16, 1911
Box 57 Leupp, Francis E., "President Taft's Own View," Ou tlook Dec 2, 1911
Box 57 Welliver, Judson C., "Catching Up with Roosevelt," Munsey's Magazine Mar 1912
Box 57 "Notes and Comments on the Reciprocity Bill," Paper Makers Journal, XI, No. 5 Apr 1912
Box 57 Kennaday, Paul, "Industrial Relations," Labor World Mar 12, 1912
Box 57 Turner, George Kibbe and Arthur Wallace Dunn, "The Forces Behind Taft," McClure's Magazine, XXXIX, No. 1 May 1912
Box 57 Durand, Elliott, "Law vs. Politics," The Hamiltonian, XVIII, No. 2 Aug 1917
Box 57 "Taft Denounces Lynching" undated
Box 57 "Three Presidents and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States," The Nation's Business Jan 1918
Newspaper clippings
Box 57 1908-1920
Political pamphlets
Box 57 Bryan, William Jennings, "Government Ownership of the Railroads" ca. 1908
Box 57 The Roosevelt League of New York, "Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft: What Each Has Done. . ." ca. 1912
Box 57 "Hon. Joseph G. Cannon: His Five Years' Service as Speaker of the House" ca. 1912
Box 57 Dampman, John B., "Vote Getting: The Effective, Economical and Successful Way" ca. 1912
Box 57 "Endorsed by the President"
Box 57 "Hepburn: The Friend of Labor"
Box 57 "Tariff on Zinc Ore"
Box 57 "Who Makes the Illinois Farmer and Farmer's Call?"
Box 57 "Mrs. Seward A. Simmons. . ."
Box 57 "O. H. Waddle's Declaration"
Box 57 "Third Term Danger Signals"
Box 57 "xxx Favors Taft"
Box 57 "Square Deal Due Taft"
Box 57 Stuart, T. B., "The Recall of Judges"
Box 57 "Views of the Minority" (tariff)
Box 57 Karger, Gus J., "Two Years of President Taft"
Box 57 "Three Years of Taft: An Index"
Box 57 Beath, Robert B. and others, "Open Letter to the Veterans of the Civil War"
Box 57 "Do You Know Mr. Roosevelt's Exact Position?"
Box 57 "Roosevelt's Broadside"
Box 57 "Odezwa Prezydenta Roosevelta"
Box 57 Roosevelt Progressive Republican League,". . . Circumstances Attending the Movement from LaFollette to Roosevelt"; "Wherein Taft Has Failed"; "Why Women Should Vote for Roosevelt"
Box 57 Feeney, James L., speech Oct 5, 1908
Box 57 "Why Turn Down Taft?"
Box 57 "Addresses Delivered by...William Howard Taft...Touching the Negro Problem" ca. 1909
Box 57 "Full Credit to Taft"
Box 57 Strong, Daniel Bissel, "The Philosophy of the Trust Movement," Part II ca. 1911
Box 57 Longworth, Nicholas, speeches in favor of the Payne Tariff Law 1910
Box 57 Lippitt, Henry F., speech on the Woolen and Cotton Tariff Oct 18, 1911
Box 57 Foote, Allen Ripley, "Importance of a Correct Cost Statement" ca. 1911
Box 57 "War Veterans" ca. 1911
Box 57 "Wm. H. Taft for President," Texas 1912
Box 57 Tawney, James A., Address before the Taft Club of Minneapolis, Minnesota Feb 9, 1912
Box 57 Stafford, Wendell Phillips, "The New Despotism," address before the New York County Lawyers Association Feb 17, 1912
Box 57 "President Taft as a True Friend of the Colored Man" April 1912
Box 57 Jackson, Orville E., "An Open Letter to Republicans of Idaho" Apr 10, 1912
Box 57 "Contested Election Case of Aaron P. Prileau against George S. Legare," contestant's brief Apr 18, 1912
Box 57 Taft, William Howard, address at Boston, Mass. Apr 25, 1912
Box 57 Perkins, George W., An open letter to William B. McKinley, New York Apr 29, 1912
Box 57 Austin, Richard W., Remarks on the Underwood Tariff Law and the American Sugar Industry May 9, 1914
Box 57 "Capt. H. Z. Osborne: Republican Nominee for Congress" Aug 25, 1914
Box 57 "Special Election for Congressman," Martinsburg, W. Va. Apr 29, 1916
Republican presidential news stories taken from Chicago morning papers Jun 1912
Box 58 Volume I
Box 59 Volume II

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