Collection inventory

Special Collections home page
printer friendly version

William Sulzer Letters

An inventory of his correspondence at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Sulzer, William, 1863-1941.
Title: William Sulzer Letters
Inclusive Dates: 1898-1941
Quantity: 40 items (SC)
Abstract: Papers of the New York State governor (1913), congressional representative (1895-1913), lawyer. Collection includes mostly outgoing letters, a few of which (Eugene Brewster, Everett Wheeler) refer to Tammany Hall and the impeachment proceedings against the then-Governor. Also a group of 11 incoming letters is in connection with a dinner given by Sulzer in honor of Perry Belmont.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

William Sulzer (1863-1941) was a New York politician, lawyer, governor and congressman. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1895-1912 and as Governor of New York in 1913. An advocate of political reform, Sulzer campaigned for governor of New York as the "unbosses" candidate, and after his election in 1913 quickly ran afoul of Tammany Hall's Charles F. Murphy. In a letter to Eugene V. Brewster, Sulzer writes (8 Mar 1913):

Letters like yours are the real incentive to a public official to do his duty to all the people as he sees is, regardless of personal consequences. That is what I am determined to do.
Of course you know if I had acceded to the ultimatum issued by the gentleman to whom you refer, I would have been praised to the skies. But I listened to my conscience instead. That is all there is to it, and I must submit patiently to malicious abuse.

Facing impeachment in the same year he became Governor, Sulzer writes to Everett P. Wheeler (7 Jul 1913):

When the bosses found out they could not control me, and make a rubber stamp of me, they threatened to destroy me politically, and have been doing everything in their power to that end.
However, I have no fear of the ultimate result. The truth will prevail, and right makes might. I am in the fight to stay, and to the end.

Stung by his impeachment and an ignominious end to his political career in 1916, when the Prohibitionists declined to make him their presidential candidate, Sulzer writes a few months before his death to George A. Zabriskie, President of the New-York Historical Society (9 Jun 1941):

All of this data and material is not only exceedingly personal but is extremely historical, and I know some day writers and historians will be going over it to get the facts -- and facts are important in writing history and historical books.

Return to top

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The William Sulzer Letters is a collection of 40 letters, mostly outgoing, which were written between 1898 and 1941. Nearly half are from 1912-1913, a few of which (Eugene Brewster, Everett Wheeler) refer to Tammany Hall and the impeachment proceedings against then-Governor Sulzer.

The collection also contains a series of 11 incoming letters in connection with a dinner given by Sulzer in honor of Congressman Perry Belmont, among them a single letter from John McDonald to Belmont which contains extracts of regrets from those unable to attend the ceremony.

Return to top

Arrangement of the Collection

Letters are arranged chronologically. At the end of this finding aid is an alphabetical index to correspondents.

Return to top


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.

Return to top

Subject Headings


Bailey, Joseph Weldon, 1863-1929.
Belmont, Perry, 1850-1947.
Brewster, Eugene Valentine, 1869-
Burleson, Albert Sidney, 1863-1937.
Crimmins, John D. (John Daniel), 1844-1917.
Garnett, John J.
Johnston, Joseph Forney, 1843-1913.
Kennedy, Crammond, 1842-1918.
Lenroot, Irvine Luther, 1869-1949.
Levy, Florence Nightingale, 1870-1947.
Martine, James E. (James Edgar), 1850-1925.
Pilgrim, Charles Winfield, 1855-
Rice, William Gorham, 1856-
Sulzer, William, 1863-1941.
Tillman, Benjamin Ryan, 1847-1918.
Wheeler, Everett Pepperrell, 1840-1925.
Zabriskie, George Albert, 1926-

Corporate Bodies

Democratic Party (N.Y.)
Tammany Hall.


Governors, New York (State)
Legislators, United States.
Political parties, New York (State), History, Sources.


New York (State), History, 1865-
New York (State), Politics and government, 1865-1950.

Genres and Forms




Return to top

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

William Sulzer Letters
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: Mar 1989
Revision history: 9 Jul 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC)

Return to top


SC 84 [General] 1898-1905 (5 outgoing letters)
SC 84 [General] 1906-1910 (4 outgoing letters)
SC 84 [General] 1912, Jan-Nov (5 outgoing letters)
SC 84 [General] 1912, Dec (10 incoming letters and 1 letter from John McDonald to Perry Belmont)
SC 84 [General] 1913 (16 outgoing letters)
SC 84 [General] 1925-1926 (5 outgoing letters)
SC 84 [General] 1929 (3 outgoing letters)
SC 84 [General] 1941 (1 outgoing letters)

Return to top

Selected index to correspondence

Outgoing letters written by Sulzer are indicated with an asterisk (*)

  • Keach, Calvin E. : *8 Oct 1906; *19 Nov 1912; *11 Apr 1913
  • Kennedy, Crammond : 3 Dec 1912
  • Lenroot, Irvine Luther : 2 Dec 1912
  • Levy, Florence Nightingale : *2 Feb 1910
  • Loucks, George B. : *6 Mar 1926
  • Martine, James Edgar : 2 Dec 1912
  • McDonald, John (to Perry Belmont) : [Dec 1912]
  • Nichols, J. Osgood : 2 Dec 1912
  • Pilgrim, Charles Winfield : *21 Jan 1913; *12 Jul 1913
  • Press Association Compilers, Inc. : *6 Feb 1925; *26 Feb 1925; *2 Oct 1925; *13 Oct 1926
  • Rice, William Gorham : *9 Nov 1912
  • Smyser, George H. : *29 May 1902; *21 Jun 1902; *7 Apr 1904; *19 Oct 1905; *21 Apr 1908
  • Tillman, Benjamin Ryan : 3 Dec 1912
  • Wheeler, Everett Pepperrell : *9 Jan 1913; *7 Jul 1913
  • Woodward, J.O. : *8 Mar 1912
  • Zabriskie, George Albert : *9 Jun 1941

Return to top