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John Daniel McMahon Papers

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 4 Mar 2013

Biographical History

John Daniel McMahon (1859-1923) was an American lawyer, politican and legislator. Born in Toronto, Canada, his family relocated to Annsville, New York in 1861. He attended the Rome Free Academy, read law in the offices of Johnson & Prescott in Rome, and was admitted to the bar in October 1882. In addition to a long and respected legal career, McMahon also for "a period of forty years...held his hand steadily on the democratic party organization of Oneida County, and there was no man in Rome, Utica or elsewhere in the county who...occupied a more commanding position in part affairs." He served as city attorney, city judge and deputy attorney-general; was a delegate to all but two state conventions after 1888 and in frequent demand as an orator on behalf of candidates and the party; and ran for Congress. According to contemporary reports he was popular and widely respected politically, professionally and personally.

[Biographical sketch adapted from Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West (1925), Nelson Greene, ed., pp.184-189.]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Daniel McMahon Papers consists primarily of correspondence, with a small amount of printed material.

Correspondence consists primarily of incoming correspondence (there are a few items of outgoing) with New York State lawyer, politican and legislator John Daniel McMahon. Much of it concerns Democratic Party politics and activities. Correspondents include Samuel A. Beardsley, democratic leader in Utica; John Carlisle, member of the party's Executive Committee; John Dunham, Utica State Hospital (McMahon was on the Board of Managers); James H. Flanagan, Oneida County politician and businessman; J. F. Gaffney, a fellow judge; James (Jim) Hagarty, New York State Office of Factory Inspectors; D. E. Powers, another attorney; and others.

Financial material contains miscellaneous invoices, etc.

Legal papers contains miscellaneous mortages, rent agreements, depositions, etc.

Printed material contains several items from the Democratic National Convention of 1892, including "A Message From The South!" from the state of Alabama asking Grover Cleveland to decline the nomination, and a large poster announcing the Memorial Day festivities for the town or Oriskany Falls, including the fact that "Hon. J. D. McMahon of Rome, N.Y., will deliver the memorial address."

Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by correspondent.


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.

Related Material

See also the James H. Flanagan Papers.

Subject Headings


Beardsley, Samuel, 1790-1860.
Flanagan, James H., Jr.
McMahon, John Daniel.
Wiggins, Howard C.
Williams, E. Stuart.


Democratic Party (N.Y.)


New York (State) -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950.
Utica (N.Y.) -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950.

Genres and Forms

Broadsides (notices)
Legal documents.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Daniel McMahon Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2013, 2015.

Table of Contents


Financial material

Legal papers

Printed material