Papers of Henry Lewis Stimson, 1867-1950 Author Index Family Correspondence and Other Family Papers



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Reel: 5
General Correspondence.

December 1, 1908-September 30, 1909

Stimson worked on two additional cases before submitting his resignation as United States attorney to President William Howard Taft in March. On December 9 there is a letter from Theodore Roosevelt seeking Stimson's help, "I do not know anything about the laws of criminal libel, but I should dearly like to have it invoked about Pulitzer, of the World." Between December and February Roosevelt wrote several times concerning the progress of the suit initiated against the World for remarks about his connection with the "Panama Canal deal." The other case involved new charges against the American Sugar Refining Company for attempting to defraud the government of import duties. After his resignation Stimson was retained as a special assistant to the attorney general in the prosecution of this case. During the summer Stimson joined the executive committee of Gifford Pinchot's newly organized National Conservation Association. Stimson also followed the developing Ballinger-Pinchot controversy. He sought opinions of Richard Ballinger from George Wickersham and Elihu Root and warned Pinchot to be careful about his assertions. In September New York City fusionists proposed to nominate Stimson as their candidate for mayor. Stimson wrote his father on September 1 explaining his reasons for not wanting to run and on September 14 outlined his reservations to E.H. Outerbridge and R.V. Ingersoll. In his letter of September 18 Elihu Root encouraged Stimson to accept this call to duty. At the last moment the fusionists disagreed and no ticket was presented. The fate of the fusion ticket is explained in Winfred Denison's letter to Stimson on September 24.

Reel: 17
General Correspondence.

October , 1909-March 31, 1910

Stimson, no longer a candidate for mayor, supported Otto T. Bannard, the Republican candidate. He continued his work as a special assistant to the attorney general in the prosecution of the sugar frauds. In March his duties were expanded to include the prosecution of other frauds upon the revenues of the United States. In this same month he wrote letters to New York legislators supporting prison reform bills. Stimson also took a more active interest in the National Conservation Association. He began a study of government coal lands and corresponded with John F. Bass, Philip Wells, Thomas Shipp, and Gifford Pinchot. During this period Stimson became involved in the Ballinger-Pinchot controversy. Gifford Pinchot and his brother Amos both petitioned Stimson to serve as the former's counsel at the congressional investigation of the case, but he declined. He procured instead the legal services of George Wharton Pepper for Pinchot and consulted with Pepper on the strategy of the case. Charles E. Kelley and Norman Hapgood, both of Collier's, sent Stimson reference material. There is also correspondence with Louis D. Brandeis, the counsel for Collier's, and with William Kent, James R. Garfield, Elihu Root, A.C. Shaw, and George W. Wickersham about the case.

Reel: 18
General Correspondence.

September 23, 1910-June 13, 1913



Volume 1: 1910 October 17 - 1910 December 1; Volume 2: 1910 September 23 - 1911 April 14; Volume 3: 1911 April 17 - 1913 June 13; In 1910 Henry Stimson ran for governor of New York. The first volume filmed contains approximately one hundred letters dated after the election acknowledging contributions to the campaign. In the second volume there are about twenty additional letters dated between September 23 and November 14, but these contain no substantive references to campaign issues. Most of the second letterpress volume is dated after November 14, 1910. After the election Stimson began preparing for a speech to be delivered in Cleveland in January on the progressive movement in the Republican party He wrote to William Kent on December 29, 1910, and to Gifford Pinchot on February 25, 1911, on the future of progressivism, shared his ideas on anti-trust and interstate commerce legislation with Emory Speer on December 2, 1910, discussed the recall issue with Theodore Roosevelt on February 4, 1911, and corresponded with other persons interested in efficient state government including Robert Bass and Charles McCarthy. At this same time Stimson defended himself in letters to Roosevelt and Oswald Garrison Villard against campaign slurs in Villard's paper and campaigned for reforms supported by Frances Kellor and the North American Civic League for Immigrants. In April Stimson began work as chairman of the Committee on Safety and on May 5, 1911, wrote a letter to Governor John A. Dix concerning fire hazards in New York factories. In the middle of May Stimson was appointed Secretary of War by President Taft. Though the third volume spans the years 1911 to 1913 there are few letters which refer to the War Department. There are some acknowledgements of letters of congratulation and a letter to H.C. Emory on May 18 seeking information for a speech on reciprocity which Taft requested Stimson to deliver in May in Boston. The third letterpress volume commences again with a regular outgoing record on March 14, 1913. After leaving office Stimson wrote his successor Lindley Garrison about the problems he would encounter. In June he wrote several letters expressing his satisfaction with the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Chandler-Dunbar Water Power Company which reaffirmed Stimson's ideas on the control of waterpower on navigable streams. For his speech, "Initiative and Responsibility of the Executive; A Remedy for Inefficient Legislation," Stimson corresponded with Henry J. Ford, William Howard Taft, and Felix Frankfurter. He also wrote to A. Perry Osborn, Elihu Root, and Herbert Hadley to discuss progressivism in the Republican party. The organization of a movement of reform Republicans against state party chairman William Barnes was the subject of letters sent to George J. Smith, Herbert Parsons, William Calder, Frederick Hicks, Harvey Hinman, and Horace White. On June 2, 1913, Stimson sent J.N. Palmer a detailed summary of his activities since leaving the War Department.

Reel: 6
General Correspondence.

April 1, 1910-September 27, 1910

In the spring and early summer Stimson was active as a special assistant to the attorney general, preparing a case against Charles R. Heike. He also completed a report concerning the New York Customs house which he sent to the president on April 20. Letters to his wife and his father give an overview of this work. For lectures he was to deliver at the Harvard School of Business Administration in May on federal regulation of corporations, Stimson corresponded with Edwin F. Gay and O.M.W. Sprague. He discussed direct primary legislation in letters to Charles Evans Hughes and George H. Cobb, and corresponded with Edwin J. McGuire of the Committee of Fourteen on the evils of the "Raines Law hotels." Thomas Shipp and Overton Price kept Stimson informed of National Conservation Association business, and Stimson continued his correspondence with George Wharton Pepper and Louis D. Brandeis about the Ballinger-Pinchot controversy. In a letter to his father on July 8 Stimson described two meetings with Theodore Roosevelt at Sagamore Hill; discussion had centered on state and national affairs and Roosevelt mentioned the possibility of Stimson running for governor to succeed Hughes. While vacationing in England Stimson worked on a case against the Arbuckle Brothers Sugar Refineries. On his return to the United States in late summer he sent letters to Roosevelt and Pinchot discussing reform and politics. At the end of September Stimson went to the state Republican convention in Saratoga.

Reel: 19
General Correspondence.

September 28, 1910-October 17, 1910

On September 28, 1910, Henry L. Stimson was nominated for governor of New York at the Republican convention to oppose Democrat John A. Dix. The correspondence in this reel is filled with congratulatory messages and Stimson's acknowledgements. There are also requests for photographs and copies of speeches, letters of endorsement, and questions on issues such as the tariff, race track laws, and his connections with Theodore Roosevelt. Stimson assembled a staff to help him with strategy and the details of the campaign. Joseph P. Cotton, Jr., Lloyd C. Griscom, Henry Moscowitz, and Roosevelt, submitted many suggestions to improve the candidate's image. Felix Frankfurter and George R. Carter handled much of the correspondence, finances, and arranged the whistlestop tour through the state. Letters addressed to Frankfurter or Carter or signed by them have been integrated into the chronological arrangement of the general correspondence. When his campaign activities began to interfere with his work as special assistant to the attorney general, Stimson decided to resign. His letter of resignation to George W. Wickersham on October 12 also summarizes his completed work.

Reel: 20
General Correspondence.

October 18, 1910-November 3, 1910

By the middle of October, 1910, Stimson's campaign for governor was in full swing with a fund raising committee that included Richard Hurd, Thomas D. Thacher, Francis W. Bird, Bronson Winthrop and George R. Carter. Henry Moscowitz chaired the Stimson Independent League. The campaign was also aided by suggestions from Frederic C. Howe, George Alger, J.O. Hammitt and Herbert Parsons. Statements received from William Hepburn Russell, Frederick Trevor Hill and William H. Wadhams were used for publicity. Stimson and his campaign staff sought to disprove several Democratic campaign slurs. They released an affidavit by Bronson Winthrop to explain charges by New York papers that the law firm of Winthrop and Stimson had accepted a retainer from the Bank of America during Stimson's prosecution of Charles Morse of that bank. In a letter to Harvey D. Hinman on November 3 Stimson replied to Judge Alton Parker's accusation that he had resigned as United States attorney at a critical time in the investigation of the sugar frauds knowing that he would have to be retained as a special assistant at a higher fee. The Republicans, in turn, attacked the Democratic candidate by linking John Dix to the Raquette Lake Railway on information supplied on October 28 by H. Leroy Austin. On October 24, Morison Waite sent information to the campaign committee to help establish Dix's personal connection with a wall paper trust.

Reel: 21
General Correspondence.

May 22, 1911-May 22, 1912

Volume 1: 1911 May 22 - 1911 December 20; Volume 2: 1911 December 20 - 1912 May 22; The "personal" letters in this reel were dispatched from the office of the secretary of war, an office assumed by Stimson in the middle of May, 1911. Many of the letters in the first volume are acknowledgements of congratulatory messages. Stimson's letters after assuming office contain discussions of living quarters in Washington, construction on the Panama Canal, his report on the concentration of army posts, and the situation in Mexico. There are also letters of appreciation for hospitality extended on trips to Central America and to Arizona and New Mexico. In December Stimson gave an important speech on the Sherman Act. In letters to Otto T. Bannard he outlined the problems he sought to cover and sent further comments on the Sherman Act to C. Stuart Gutherie. Stimson maintained a strong interest in New York state and national politics. There is a letter to Samuel Koenig on October 27 discussing New York affairs and several letters to Theodore Roosevelt in January and February discussing national politics and judiciary reform. Stimson also wrote to John B. Townsend on February 6 giving his views on the political situation. Stimson's views on the Roosevelt candidacy are contained in a letter to James H. Callanan of the Schenectady Union-Star on March 15. Stimson's concern over Republican disunity and over a proposal for the recall of the federal judiciary is reflected in letters to C. Lloyd Griscom and Herbert Parsons. Additional correspondents include William Michael Byrne, Learned Hand, James Garfield, Henry Moskowitz, Norman Hapgood, and Elihu Root.

Reel: 7
General Correspondence.

May 22, 1911-March 8, 1913

Volume 1: 1912 May 23 - 1913 January 28; Volume 2: 1913 January 20 - 1913 March 8; Volume 3: Memoranda and Orders, 1911 May 22 - 1913 March 5; The first two volumes in this reel contain copies of outgoing personal letters. Letters concerning the national and local political situation are numerous. In May and June letters to A.C. Hill, George Carter, Henry A. Stimson, Samuel B. Clarke, and Richard Templeton discuss the contest between President Taft and Theodore Roosevelt for the Republican nomination for president. On August 7 Stimson wrote to Samuel Koenig explaining his reasons for not seeking the position of temporary chairman of the New York Republican convention. Stimson campaigned for Taft in October and there are letters arranging for his speaking engagements. After the election Stimson kept in contact with progressive Republicans Herbert Hadley, Lloyd Griscom, and Philip McCook. There are only a few references to army matters in these personal letters. On August 23 there is a copy of Stimson's statement on the passage of the Army Appropriation Bill. On his return from a post-election trip to Panama, Stimson wrote several letters thanking his hosts. There are also comments on the question of canal tolls in letters to Edward D. Page, Alfred Stearns, and Thomas Thacher. Stimson's concern over the selection of a knowledgeable successor is reflected in his letters to William Williams. At the end of the second volume there are several letters of appreciation to officers who served under him. The third volume contains copies of memoranda, orders, and letters of transmittal sent by Stimson during his tenure as secretary of war. They are mostly addressed to the chief of staff, chief of engineers, quartermaster, judge advocate general, or the adjutant general. They take up routine business of the department, such as requisitions for supplies, for repair work, or are notes about an issue or conversation.

Reel: 8
General Correspondence.

May 22, 1911-May 7, 1912

Volume 1: 1911 May 22 - 1912 May 7; Volume 2: 1911 December 20 - 1912 May 7; Two volumes of letterpress copies of outgoing letters, marked "semi-official," have been filmed in this reel. These letters deal with areas under the jurisdiction of the secretary of war: the army, the Bureau of Insular Affairs, navigation on inland waterways, and public works constructed by the army. The subjects of most of these letters are routine: setting of hearings, answers to requests about appointments and dismissals, and letters of introduction. Letters especially concerned with the administration of the army include: letters to Oscar Underwood explaining the investigation of charges of anti-Semitism at the United States Military Academy; a January 4 letter to James Hay about legislation affecting the army contained in the Army Appropriation Bill; the letter to Adjutant General Fred Ainsworth on February 14 charging him with insubordination and relieving him of duty and letters to several retired generals requesting their service in court martial proceedings; views on the militia bill to Charles D. Hilles on March 16; letters on the congressional investigation of the Pay Department; and views to James L. Slayden and Henry duPont on April 18 on the bill concerning disposition of military posts and reservations no longer required by the army. Of the many letters concerning the work of the Bureau of Insular Affairs, the construction of the Panama Canal, and the administration of the Canal Zone, those of special interest are: the letter on July 1 offering Felix Frankfurter a position as a legal advisor in the Bureau of Insular Affairs; letters to the secretary of state concerning foreign interests in railroad construction in Panama; a report to President Taft on August 19 on the raising of the Maine in Havana harbor; and letters to Foster V. Brown and W. Cameron Forbes. As secretary, Stimson became involved in decisions about the title to electricity generated on navigable waterways. Dam and lock construction on the Hudson River, improvements on the Black Warrior River, and dam construction on the Connecticut River all came under Stimson's scrutiny. Correspondents include John A. Dix, Thomas F. Carmody, John C. Forney, Oscar Underwood, Joseph Johnston, Knute Nelson, and William Adamson..

Reel: 9
General Correspondence.

January 1911-March 31, 1911

After Stimson delivered an address, "Some Phases of the Progressive Movement in the Republican Party," at the McKinley banquet of the Tippecanoe Club of Cleveland on January 28, many persons wrote for copies of the speech and sent congratulations and comment. The speech also provoked discussions of the progressive movement in correspondence with Gamaliel Bradford, Gifford Pinchot, Charles McCarthy, Seth Low, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Elihu Root, and Theodore Roosevelt. Stimson continued to work on the National Conservation Association constitution and received minutes of the board of directors' meetings from Thomas Shipp. On January 12, he sent George W. Wickersham an account of the investigations in the Arbuckle case. He also received a long report on January 19 from W. Cleveland Runyon on the weighing frauds of the National Sugar Refining Company. Stimson was active in a number of organizations: the North American Civic League for Immigrants, the Judiciary Committee of the New York City Bar Association, the Committee of Fourteen for the suppression of the "Raines Law hotels," and the board of trustees of Phillips Academy, Andover.

Reel: 23
General Correspondence.

April 1911-May 31, 1911

Stimson remained a prominent figure in progressive circles although he held no public office. Letters from Charles W. McCarthy in Wisconsin requested his opinion on the establishment of state industrial commissions. On April 12 he was invited to join the board of directors of the Committee on Safety and was subsequently chosen its president. He also corresponded with John Kingsbury on fire prevention and factory safety. At the end of April Stimson gave a talk, "National Control and Public Welfare," at Cooper Union. Comments solicited from Felix Frankfurter and Herbert Parsons are found in their letters of April 25. On May 6 Elihu Root asked Stimson to meet with him on May 8. At this meeting Stimson was informed that President Taft was offering him the position of secretary of war. The letters of congratulation that followed his acceptance, and the acknowledgements, fill several frames. When Stimson's father wrote on May 12 to express his concern over the president's motives, Stimson explained his decision to accept the appointment in letters of May 12 and 24. As one of his first duties as secretary of war, Stimson spoke, at the president's request, to the Intercolonial Club of Boston on the proposed reciprocity agreement with Canada. Stimson corresponded with Elihu Root and Edwin R.A. Seligman, among others, for information for this speech. His letters to his wife, who remained at Highhold to avoid the summer heat, relate his impressions of his first few days at the War Department.

Reel: 24
General Correspondence.

June 1911-August 31, 1911

The correspondence during Stimson's first summer at the War Department contains memoranda from Chief of Staff Leonard Wood, Adjutant General Fred Ainsworth, and others on such topics as: the executives of colonial possessions, army service schools, the business of the adjutant general's office, and organization of the General Staff Corps. Stimson corresponded with President Taft on tariff policies, reciprocity, the wool bill, and the situation of troops stationed on the Mexican border. There is also correspondence on the wool bill with Felix Frankfurter, Stimson's appointee as solicitor for the Bureau of Insular Affairs. His letters to his wife give summaries of his daily routine. In July the Stimsons made an inspection trip to Panama, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, toured the sites of construction of the Panama Canal, and observed the raising of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor. In letters to his father he described his own activities, personalities encountered on the trip, as well as the climate and conditions prevailing in the various countries. Additional correspondents on the reel include: Gifford Pinchot, George R. Carter, W.H. Cowles, Irving Fisher, W.D. Washburne, and members of the Committee on Safety and the National Conservation Association.

Reel: 25
General Correspondence.

September 1911-November 15, 1911

On September 5 Adjutant General Fred Ainsworth sent Stimson a copy of a memorandum addressed to Chief of Staff Leonard Wood protesting Wood's assignment of officers to general recruit depots. There is additional correspondence from Wood on this subject including a memorandum on September 8 relating to the discourteous attitude of the adjutant general. Stimson responded to Ainsworth on September 19 affirming the decision of the chief of staff and warning Ainsworth that in the army subordinates must act on orders. Other concerns of the secretary of war included new legislation required by the War Department, cases of pollution on navigable waterways, and the dismissal of cadets from West Point. As a member of the board of directors of the Panama Railroad Company Stimson received minutes of meetings from T.H. Rossbottom. Stimson also commissioned Emory Johnson to study canal traffic and tolls. The situation in the Philippines and Puerto Rico was discussed with Governors W. Cameron Forbes and George R. Colton. Letters to Mrs. Stimson describe a fall tour of army installations with Leonard Wood. In September Stimson began work on a speech for the Commercial Club of Kansas City. Felix Frankfurter wrote him on September 9 suggesting that Stimson take the occasion to make a clear definition of progressivism. Stimson chose as his topic the Sherman anti-trust legislation and other governmental controls of business. He corresponded with Winfred Denison and Charles Nagel on the subject. When he had a draft completed he sent it to the president. Taft feared that Stimson's message might misrepresent the administration's view and on November 2 suggested that Stimson change the topic. Stimson wrote a new speech on the Panama Canal which he delivered on November 14.

Reel: 26
General Correspondence.

November 16, 1911-January 26, 1912

The correspondence in this reel reflects Stimson's varied duties as head of the War Department. He received information on plans for construction of the Chicago sanitary canal and wrote letters to Governor John Dix in January discussing improvements on the Hudson River. On January 5 Felix Frankfurter sent him a memorandum on the scope of activities of the Bureau of Insular Affairs. He also received letters describing conditions in Hawaii and the Philippines from Governors George R. Carter (November 29) and W. Cameron Forbes (December 14, January 17). Adjutant General Fred Ainsworth sent Stimson a report on proposed changes of policy regarding deserters and military convicts (November 27) and Elihu Root sent suggestions for Stimson's annual report. By January, the Military Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives had completed a draft of a new appropriation bill for the army. Stimson and Chief of Staff Leonard Wood objected to several features in the bill. Wood sent Stimson a memorandum of his objections and Stimson forwarded these along with several of his on to James Hay, chairman of the committee, on January 4. On December 15 Stimson addressed the Republican Club of the City of New York on the Sherman anti-trust legislation. The talk, titled "The National Regulation of Business," elicited many letters of comment including some extended observations by C. Stuart Gutherie.

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