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



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Reel: 27
General Correspondence.

May 8, 1912-March 5, 1913

Volume 1: 1912 May 8 - 1912 November 12; Volume 2: 1912 November 12 - 1913 March 5; The last two volumes of letterpress copies of outgoing letters, marked "semi-official," have been filmed on this reel. As on the previous reel many of these letters are routine in content. As part of his official duties Stimson was concerned with problems affecting navigation on inland waterways. In letters to W.C. Adamson and Knute Nelson Stimson discussed his views on bills granting private companies the right to build dams on navigable rivers. Stimson also wrote on the waterpower question in letters to Elbert Baldwin, Mark Sullivan, and Francis Newlands. Matters of army reorganization recur frequently in these letters. Stimson worked with the National Militia Board on the passage of a suitable Militia Pay Appropriation Bill. Stimson sent letters on this subject to President Taft, Henry Cabot Lodge, Robert Bulkley, Hoke Smith, James Hay, and Henry duPont. Other problems included: the consumption of beer and wine at army installations; the protection of Texas citizens along the Mexican border; and the proposal for new articles of war. Stimson sent his letter of resignation to President Wilson on March 4, 1913. Before leaving office he recommended legislation to allow cabinet members seats on the floor of Congress, sent several suggestions for army legislation to Senator duPont, and wrote letters of appreciation to Leonard Wood, Enoch Crowder, and William Crozier.

Reel: 10
General Correspondence.

January 27, 1912-April 7, 1912

The resignation of Adjutant General Fred Ainsworth and the subsequent action by Congress on the Army Appropriation bill were major considerations of the secretary of war during this time. There is, however, little correspondence here to document either event. On January 31 Stimson sent George W. Prince a memorandum of objections to riders in the appropriations bill. In February Stimson threatened to court-martial Ainsworth for insubordination after seeing a memorandum Ainsworth had sent to Leonard Wood. There is no copy of this memorandum in the correspondence, but there are many letters supporting Stimson's stand. Stimson's letter to his father on February 19 described the whole affair. There is also a statement for the press on March 9. On February 16, the day Ainsworth resigned, the House passed the appropriations bill with the offensive riders intact. On February 5 there is a long letter from Theodore Roosevelt on the condition of the state and federal judiciary. Late in February Roosevelt announced his candidacy for the presidency. Stimson described his reaction to the announcement in a letter to his father on February 26. Since he had already committed himself to support Taft for renomination and was scheduled to speak on his behalf, he sent a copy of his speech to Roosevelt on March 3 expressing his disappointment over the entire situation. Many persons including Learned Hand, William Michael Byrne, Gifford Pinchot, Lloyd Griscom, and Herbert Parsons sent comments on Stimson's speech and the general outlook for the Republican party. During the winter there was talk that the United States might intervene militarily in Mexico. Stimson received communications on the prospect from James R. Garfield, Francis Adams, Harol Walker, and g. W. Knoblauch. Correspondents on topics related to the construction of the Panama Canal include Emory Johnson, E.T. Chamberlain, and Ricardo Arias.

Reel: 28
General Correspondence.

April 8, 1912-July 31, 1912

The Army Appropriation bill continued to be a controversial proposition through the summer of 1912. On May 18 Stimson reported to President Taft that a new bill had come out of conference containing a provision to prevent Leonard Wood from serving as chief of staff. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge was enlisted in the fight against the new riders. Nonetheless, the appropriation bill that appeared on Taft's desk for signature contained all the offensive riders intact. When Taft asked his advice Stimson returned the bill to the president on June 15 with the recommendation that he veto it. In letters to his father and his wife Stimson discussed the fight over the bill. Various other issues concerning the War Department are discussed in correspondence in this reel. The situation along the Mexican border had grown more tense. Harold Walker and G.W. Knoblauch continued to send their impressions of the internal situation. Stimson also conferred with John Barrett, O.B. Colquitt, and Lewis Warfield over the growing crisis. Charles Francis Adams and J.L. Davenport discussed aspects of military pension policy with him. On July 17 Stimson wrote a long letter to Elbert Baldwin giving his opinions on the militia pay bill. Other letters deal with questions pertaining to Panamanian political reform, access to beer and wine on military posts, the possibility of sending troops to Cuba, and waterpower issues. Stimson did not attend the Republican Convention in June, but corresponded with Felix Frankfurter, Samuel B. Clarke, and his father about the political outlook.

Reel: 29
General Correspondence.

August, 1912-November 30, 1912

Stimson delayed his vacation to settle affairs in Washington. He corresponded with William Kent and W.C. Adamson on waterpower issues, promoted passage of a bill on Panama, worked with Walter Fisher on the tariffs in the Woolens bill, considered an August 6 memorandum from Enoch Crowder relating to military intervention in Cuba, and faced the possibility of censure by a House committee for failing to produce documents requested in an investigation of the Army Pay Department. After Taft's veto of the Army Appropriation bill in June Stimson corresponded with Representative James Hay, Senator Henry duPont, and President Taft on the drafting of a suitable compromise. On August 24 Stimson advised Taft to sign the new bill. His letters to his father and his wife describe his dealings with Capitol Hill. Stimson finally left for the West Coast on August 26 but there was no lessening of problems. Taft sought Stimson's advice on sending the army to quell internal difficulties on Nicaragua. On August 29 Stimson wrote to Elihu Root explaining that before he left he had been approached to run for governor but that only in an emergency would he run again. On reaching the West Coast Stimson granted an interview to Timothy Healy of the San Francisco Evening Post. Healy's article quoted Stimson attacking Theodore Roosevelt. On September 5 Stimson wrote Healy criticizing his story as a gross falsification. Nevertheless, the story was given wide circulation and Stimson received concerned comment from Gifford Pinchot, Felix Frankfurter, and Henry A. Stimson. Stimson concluded the trip with an address to the National Conservation Congress on Taft's position on conservation. Upon his return in October he began work on an article for the Scientific American on the fortifications of the Panama Canal. Later in the month he campaigned for Taft in Buffalo, New York, and complained to Charles D. Hilles about the corrupt Taft organization in New York. The only correspondence with Roosevelt is a note wishing him a speedy recovery after an assassination attempt and Roosevelt's acknowledgement on October 16. There is little correspondence on the outcome of the election except for a few letters from Herbert Hadley and Thomas Shipp. After the election Stimson took a trip to Panama. On November 26 there is a memorandum on canal matters which Stimson was preparing to consider on his return.

Reel: 30
General Correspondence.

December, 1912-February 28, 1913

Before turning the War Department over to his successor Stimson implemented a plan for army reorganization. He also completed work on several decisions involving waterpower issues. He commented on President Taft's veto of the Alabama Coosa Dam bill and wrote to Taft on January 6 concerning the Chicago drainage canal. On January 3 and 15 he wrote memoranda on an agreement with the Connecticut River Company and on a decision concerning pier construction in the Hudson River. During February Stimson worried over the imminent threat of war with Mexico. On February 17 Alice Paul and Cuno H. Rudolph approached Stimson with a request for military protection of a suffragette parade during the inaugural festivities. On February 21 Stimson sent a reply to an article by Charles H. Parkhurst that was highly critical of the United States administration of the Philippines. Stimson wrote to his father almost once a week during this period. In these letters he described his meetings with various persons, cabinet meetings, his position on current issues, and the social life in Washington at the end of the Taft administration. There is also correspondence about Stimson's concerns outside his official duties. Winfred Denison, Henry A. Wise, and John Stanchfield wrote him about the Supreme Court decision in the Heike weighing fraud case. Letters from Frances Perkins kept him informed of the activities of the New York City Committee on Safety. Thomas Thacher asked Stimson to serve on the Sub-committee on Panama Canal, Tolls, and International Obligations of the National Affairs Committee of the Republican Club, and Stimson obliged by reviewing drafts of the committee's report.

Reel: 31
General Correspondence.

March 1913-May 31, 1913

On March 5 President Wilson accepted Stimson's resignation as secretary of war. Stimson still maintained an interest in War Department affairs, however, and communicated with his successor, Lindley Garrison. Leonard Wood and W. Cameron Forbes kept him informed of their activities. Before leaving office Stimson had denied a request from Alice Paul for military protection of a suffragette parade on March 3. Following the attacks on suffragettes Stimson was criticized for his decision in an article in the New York Evening Mail. There are copies of Stimson's angry letters of protest to the Mail's editor Henry Stoddard in March. In April Stimson returned to New York and resumed many of his civic activities. He worked again on the Committee on Safety with Frances Perkins. He accepted an invitation from Louis H. Pink to join the Citizen's Municipal Committee which proposed to endorse qualified candidates for public office regardless of party affiliation. Correspondence with Elihu Root in March discusses this committee. Stimson also corresponded with Herbert Parsons, A. Perry Osborn, Elihu Root, and George J. Smith on the New York Republican party. With Smith and Parsons he sponsored a conference for reform Republicans on May 23. Stimson delivered an important speech to the Law Academy of Philadelphia on May 27. Stimson chose as his title "Initiative and Responsibility of the Executive; A Remedy for Inefficient Legislation" and set out to explore the relation of the executive to the legislature and evils inherent in a system of rigid separation of the branches of government. In preparing for this speech Stimson corresponded with Felix Frankfurter, Winfred Denison, Henry J. Ford, G.H. Hodges, H.S. Gilbertson, F.A. Cleveland, and William Howard Taft.

Reel: 32
General Correspondence.

June 1913-October 20, 1913

Stimson continued to work with reform minded Republicans including Herbert Parsons, Harvey D. Hinman, and Horace White to reorganize the party along progressive lines. He also worked with the Citizens' Municipal Committee on the selection of a slate of candidates for the New York municipal elections. He corresponded with Norman Hapgood, Charles L. Bernheimer, and Joseph Price of this group and received suggestions from William Howard Taft in July on possible candidates. Stimson received many comments on his speech to the Philadelphia Law Academy on the subject of efficient government. In June the correspondence contains discussions of the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Chandler-Dunbar Water Power Company which reaffirmed his ideas on the control of waterpower on navigable streams. He wrote a more detailed discussion on waterpower issues to George F. Swain on October 1. Former associates from the War Department wrote Stimson. They include Leonard Wood, W. Cameron Forbes, William E. Pulliam, Frank McCoy, and William Wotherspoon. There is also correspondence with Herbert Croly, Felix Frankfurter, Charles McCarthy, and Frances Perkins.

Reel: 33
General Correspondence.

October 21,1914-January 31, 1914

In a letter to Alfred Hays on October 31 Stimson explained why, as a progressive Republican, he was unable to support a candidate on the Progressive party ticket. Hays' reply on November 14 continues the discussion. After the election of the fusion candidate John Puroy Mitchell as mayor of New York, state Republicans called a conference to be held on December 5. In preparation for the conference, Stimson corresponded with Elihu Root about the general issues, with Horace White about direct primaries, and received information on the short ballot from H. S. Gilbertson. Comments on the conference can be found in the December 6 letter from John Hays Hammond. After the conference Stimson proposed to Root (January 13) that a special committee take charge of the approaching congressional campaign thus removing power from state chairman William Barnes. Stimson's letter to Harold J. Hinman on January 14 outlined a proposal for implementation of an executive budget. In early November there is correspondence with Gifford Pinchot and George F. Swain on waterpower issues. Stimson was preparing a report with Swain for presentation at the National Conservation Congress later in the month. He also corresponded with Charles Lathrop Pack and Charles Van Hise on certain disputed points in the report. A letter from Felix Frankfurter described his reaction to the congress. Stimson also asked Frankfurter to discover why Winfred Denison's appointment to the staff of the governor general of the Philippines had been delayed. In connection with his post as chairman of a Republican Club committee to report on the act of the Wilson administration toward colonial possessions, Stimson wrote to W. Cameron Forbes and Henry W. Goddard (January 30). He outlined his plans to make the report a protest against the demolition of the merit system. Additional correspondents on the reel include George V. Mosely, Lindley Garrison, Clarence R. Edwards, and Nicholas Murray Butler.

Reel: 34
General Correspondence.

February 1, 1914-May 29, 1914

In February and March Stimson communicated his concern over the administration's waterpower policy to Lindley Garrison and Gifford Pinchot. He continued to receive information on the Committee on Safety from Frances Perkins and became concerned when Felix Frankfurter and Thaddeus Sweet informed him that the state assembly was cutting off funds for the Factory Investigating Commission. Stimson began work on the Republican Club's report on the mistakes of the administration in the treatment of the United States insular possessions. W. Cameron Forbes sent information on February 12 on the administration's policy toward the Philippines. On April 27, however, Henry Goddard wrote Stimson suggesting that due to the threat of war with Mexico the report should be deferred indefinitely. Stimson also believed that war was imminent, and on April 23 he wrote Elihu Root of his hopes for obtaining a volunteer commission and entering active service with Leonard Wood. He also corresponded with Wood, Enoch Crowder, and Frank McCoy. On April 7 the voters of New York approved a proposal to hold a constitutional convention in the summer of 1915. At the beginning of May Stimson sent out several letters asking reform Republicans to begin formulating their ideas for a platform for Republican delegates to the convention. Among the responses are letters from Nicholas Murray Butler (May 5), Elon R. Brown (May 12), and Ezra Prentice (May 16). On May 12 the Republican State Committee sent out an invitation to a meeting on May 28 to consider holding a state Republican convention to nominate candidates for delegates to the constitutional convention. Herbert Parsons and Stimson announced a preliminary meeting to be held on May 27. The purpose of the meeting, Stimson explained to Root in a letter on May 25, was to organize support for a motion to be considered at the May 28 meeting or the appointment of a committee to formulate the platform for the Republican delegate candidates.

Reel: 35
General Correspondence.

June 1914-August 31, 1914

The Republican State Committee authorized Elihu Root to organize a committee to draft the Republican platform on constitutional amendments, and Root asked Stimson to help organize the committee. In June Stimson sent letters to Charles M. Hamilton, Harvey D. Hinman, and John Lord O'Brian seeking suggestions for committee members. Later he discussed committee appointments with Root and Herbert Parsons. Stimson chaired a sub-committee of nine to prepare the draft of the platform. There is much in the correspondence dealing with substantive differences between committee members and with various points in the wording of the platform. Root, O'Brian, Seth Low, Joseph Choate, and William Gutherie all had frequent comments and criticisms to voice. In addition there is much in the correspondence that refers to issues to be considered at the constitutional convention. Stimson circulated copies of his Independent article, "Responsible State Government: A Republican Constitutional Program," and requested comment. From July 14 onward Stimson received letters on the article, some with extended comments on the short ballot, executive budget, and executive privilege in legislative proceedings. These letters and Stimson's replies are an interesting collection of views on the progressive program for efficient government. He also corresponded with Frances Kellor, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Ethel McClintock Adamson, Alice Hill Chittenden, and William Barnes on the issues of women's representation at the convention and woman suffrage. Stimson also served on a committee of the Bar Association of the city of New York to consider amendments to the judiciary article of the state constitution. Serving as chairman of the Sub-committee on Criminal Law he sought suggestions and information from Felix Frankfurter, Tompkins McIlvaine, and Charles McCarthy.

Reel: 36
General Correspondence.

September 2, 1914-December 31, 1914

In the New York primaries held in September Stimson was chosen by both the Republican party and the Independent League as their candidate for the position of delegate-at-large to the constitutional convention. In campaigning Stimson answered questionnaires from various groups on his position on several issues. His response to the New York Constitutional Convention Committee can be found in his letter to Walter T. Arndt on October 15. On October 26 Stimson sent letters to several newspaper editors encouraging them to arouse the interest of their readers in the delegates election. Several letters of congratulation on Stimson's election can be found after November 3. Stimson began to be concerned about the preparedness of the United States for war. During September he volunteered for training at Plattsburgh with Leonard Wood. Letters to his wife describe this experience. In December he spoke to the Merchants Association of New York on preparedness, and this address was later printed and circulated. Stimson also discussed preparedness with Frank R. McCoy, A.P. Gardner, S. Stanwood Menken, A.R. Pinci, William Crozier, John Palmer, and George Haven Putnam. In the middle of October Stimson and Taft exchanged ideas on labor legislation reform. Taft's letter of November 13 suggests plans for the 1916 Republican presidential campaign and his consideration of Charles Evans Hughes as a candidate. There are also several letters from Winfred Denison in November and December concerning criticisms of his work in the Philippines.

Reel: 37
General Correspondence.

January 1915-March 10, 1915

Stimson wrote to Winfred Denison on January 9 in response to Denison's letters on the Philippines. In further correspondence with Denison (February 27), William Howard Taft (February 2, 15), Lindley Garrison (February 15), and Felix Frankfurter (March 3) there is a fuller consideration of Denison's ideas on the administration of the Philippines and the United States' commitment to Philippine national independence. During the winter Stimson and other Republican delegates to the constitutional convention were busy planning their program. There is correspondence with Elihu root and Israel T. Deyo on aspects of organization and with Taft, Frankfurter, Frederic E. Wadhams, and Sidney Roby on suggestions for reforms which the convention might approve. As part of his campaign for "adequate national defense" Stimson accepted the chairmanship of the Army Committee of the National Security League and corresponded with Frederic Huidekoper, William H. Childs, S. Stanwood Menken, Francis V. Greene, and George Haven Putnam of this organization. He also discussed preparedness with Leonard Wood and Lindley Garrison. Stimson had to decline invitations from numerous organizations and publications, but agreed to speak to the Civic Forum on February 3 and to write a tract for the National Security League.

Reel: 38
General Correspondence.

March 11, 1915-May 31, 1915

The New York Constitutional Convention convened in April, and Stimson moved temporarily to Albany. From April 6 he wrote frequently to his wife describing the work of the convention. During April he also corresponded with William S. U'Ren concerning short ballot proposals, with Lillian Wald and Frances Perkins regarding factory bills, and received letters from both woman suffrage and anti-woman suffrage groups. During the convention Stimson served as chairman of the Committee on State Finance. Even before his appointment he had drawn up a tentative plan of state budget procedures, a copy of which is enclosed in a letter from Herbert Parsons on March 16. In late April Stimson began arranging for guests to speak to his committee. For these appearances there is correspondence with William A. Prendergast, James A. Wendell, A. Lawrence Lowell, Frank J. Goodnow, and William Howard Taft. The correspondence also contains proposals for amendments and background information on state and municipal financial issues including some from John F. Fitzgerald, Nicholas Murray Butler, and Lewis B. Franklin. Stimson continued to urge national preparedness and supported the work of the National Security League. General Enoch Crowder sent him a study on May 5 regarding the strength and organization of the armed land forces. On May 12, after the sinking of the Luisitania, Stimson wrote to Lindley Garrison advocating the use of force if necessary to vindicate neutral rights.

Reel: 39
General Correspondence.

June 1915-July 31, 1915

On June 14 Stimson addressed the National Security League's Peace and Preparedness Congress at Carnegie Hall on "The Duty of Preparedness Today." There is correspondence here relating to the work of the league and expressing concern over the war in Europe. A letter from James Bryce on July 14 gives a British view of the fighting. Stimson, however, spent most of his time in Albany as a delegate to the constitutional convention. Serving as a member of the Committee on State Offices and the Committee on Judiciary he received much mail from individual citizens and organizations on such matters as the state hospital system, suffrage requirements, and juries. A memorandum concerning the hearings of the Judiciary Committee can be found on June 4. Stimson also chaired the Committee on State Finance. Stimson and committee secretary Paul Shipman Andrews corresponded with the committee's guests including William Howard Taft. Stimson also received considerable information on financial problems from Lawrence Chamberlain, Lewis B. Franklin, R.A. Seligman, and Frederick A. Cleveland. On June 10 he submitted some of the ideas of the committee to state newspaper editors for comment and publicity. The letters of respnse start on June 12. Frequent letters to his wife give general descriptions of the work of the convention and of his committees.

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