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Guide to the James T. Williams Papers, 1836-1947

Collection Overview

The Williams Papers span the period 1836 to 1947 with the bulk dating from 1904 to 1942. The collection contains the following series: Diaries and Reminiscences; Correspondence; Subject Files; Legal Papers; Financial Papers; Writings and Speeches; Miscellaneous; Clippings; Printed Material; and Pictures. Correspondence comprises the majority of the collection and particularly focuses on Williams's professional career during the period from 1910 to 1925 when he was editor of the Tucson Citizen and the Boston Evening Transcript. While the collection documents aspects of Williams's personal and professional life from his college days through the early 1940s, the last twenty years of his life are not included. There is as well very little information about the Teapot Dome Affair in the correspondence, which occurred during the period covered by the collection.

Williams wrote, spoke, and accumulated material about a variety of topics and concerns which are represented in different parts of the collection. Among the most prominent are Aviation and the Presidential Elections of 1916, 1920, and 1924 which are found in the Correspondence, Subject Files, Writings and Speeches, Clippings, Printed Material and Pictures Series; Military preparedness before the entry of the United States into World War I in the Correspondence, Subject Files, Writings and Speeches, and Pictures Series; Arizona's efforts to achieve statehood in the Correspondence, Legal Papers, and Writings and Speeches Series; Massachusetts politics in the Diaries and Reminiscences, Correspondence, Writings and Speeches, Clippings, and Printed Material Series; and Peace and disarmament in the Correspondence, Subject Files, Clippings and Printed Material Series. Prominent politicians such as Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover are represented in the Correspondence, Writings and Speeches, and Clippings Series. The collection would be of interest to researchers studying the League of Nations, the Republican Party during the first quarter of the 20th century, and the political and social climate in Greenville, S.C..

The Correspondence Series illustrates that as a leading spokesman for the Republican Party, Williams corresponded with many public figures concerning the topics above. After moving to Tucson, Williams became involved in Arizona's efforts to become a state. He represented the positions taken by President Taft and expressed these viewpoints in numerous editorials related to political matters. Many letters criticize Woodrow Wilson and Josephus Daniels for their policies relating to military preparedness and foreign relations. Of particular note are Williams's strong opposition to the League of Nations and his correspondence in the collection with leading opponents of the League, including Henry Cabot Lodge (1850-1924), William Edgar Borah, Hiram Warren Johnson, and Frank Bosworth Brandegee.

Also included in the Correspondence Series is extensive family correspondence containing material about the social life and political affairs in Greenville, S.C., where Williams's father was mayor, and about his mother's family, the McBees of Lincolnton, N.C. Numerous letters were written by his uncles, Silas McBee, a noted Episcopal clergyman and editor in New York; William Ephraim Mikell, Dean of the Law School at the University of Pennsylvania; and William Alexander Guerry, an Episcopal bishop in South Carolina. There are also letters from cousins, Mary Vardrine McBee, who founded Ashley Hall, a school for girls in Charleston, South Carolina, and Alexander Guerry, who served in various positions at the University of Chatanooga and at The University of the South. Other correspondents in the series include William Howard Taft, Leonard Wood, Nicholas Murray Butler, Albert J. Beveridge, Calvin Coolidge, Frank H. Hitchcock, Charles Nagel, Theodore Roosevelt, and John Wingate Weeks.

Related collections include the Vardry Alexander McBee Papers at Duke University, the Silas McBee and the McBee Family collections at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the James Thomas Williams (1845-1936) Papers at the University of South Carolina, and an interview with Williams in the Biographical Oral History Collection at Columbia University.

Descriptive Summary

Collection Number
RL.01385
Title
James T. Williams papers
Date
1836-1947
Creator
Williams, James T., 1881-1969
Extent
48 Linear Feet, 36,000 Items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
English.

Restrictions on Access & Use

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

copyright interests in these papers have not been transferred to the University. For more information consult the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

1. Diaries and Reminiscences Series, 1909-1923

Several diaries, none kept very consistently, and a few pages of reminiscences chiefly relating to Massachusetts politics and social engagements. One reminiscence (March 26, 1909) concerns a meeting with President Taft when Willliams was asked to become the United States Civil Service Commissioner.

Diaries, and Reminiscences, 1909-1923
(2 folders)
Box 1

2. Correspondence Series, 1868-1947 and undated (bulk 1910-1925)

Documents Williams's personal and professional life from college through the 1940s. Contains lengthy correspondence with his parents, siblings, and other relatives. Arranged in chronological order. Also includes two index file boxes numbered 1a and 1b that contain subject entries to the Correspondence. Autograph cards for the most prominent correspondents have been filed into the Manuscript Division's card catalog.

1868-1904, Mar.
(5 folders)
Box 1
1904, Apr.-1904, Nov.
(7 folders)
Box 2
1904, Dec.-1905, Aug.
(8 folders)
Box 3
1905, Sept.-1907, July
(6 folders)
Box 4
1907, Aug.-1909, Mar.
(6 folders)
Box 5
1909, Apr.-June
(6 folders)
Box 6
1909, July-Nov.
(5 folders)
Box 7
1909, Dec. -1910, Mar.
(6 folders)
Box 8
1910, Apr.-July
(6 folders)
Box 9
1910, Aug.-Oct.
(6 folders)
Box 10
1910, Nov.-1911, Feb.
(6 folders)
Box 11
1911, Mar.-Aug.
(6 folders)
Box 12
1911, Sept.-Dec., undated
(7 folders)
Box 13
1912, Jan.-May 20
(6 folders)
Box 14
1912, May 21-1912, Dec., undated
(6 folders)
Box 15
1913, Jan.-Apr.
(6 folders)
Box 16
1913, May-Aug.
(6 folders)
Box 17
1913, Sept.-Nov.
(5 folders)
Box 18
1913, Dec.-1914, Mar.
(6 folders)
Box 19
1914, Apr.-July
(5 folders)
Box 20
1914, Aug.-Nov.
(6 folders)
Box 21
1914, Dec.-1915, Feb. 14
(5 folders)
Box 22
1915, Feb.-Apr.
(4 folders)
Box 23
1915, Apr.-Aug. 15
(5 folders)
Box 24
1915, Aug 16-Nov.
(4 folders)
Box 25
1915, Dec.-1916, Mar.
(6 folders)
Box 26
1916, Apr.-Aug.
(5 folders)
Box 27
1916, Sept.-Dec., undated
(6 folders)
Box 28
1917, Jan.-Aug.
(7 folders)
Box 29
1917, Sept.-1918, Apr.
(6 folders)
Box 30
1918, May-Oct.
(5 folders)
Box 31
1918, Nov.-1919, Apr.
Box 32
1919, May-July
(6 folders)
Box 33
1919, Aug.-Nov.
(6 folders)
Box 34
1919, Dec.-1920, Mar.
(6 folders)
Box 35
1920, Apr.-Aug.
(6 folders)
Box 36
1920, Sept.-1921, Jan.
(6 folders)
Box 37
1921, Feb.-May
(6 folders)
Box 38
1921, May-Sept. 15
(6 folders)
Box 39
1921, Sept. 16-1922, Jan. 15
Box 40
1922, Jan. 16-1922, Apr. 15
Box 41
1922, Apr.16-1922, July
Box 42
1922, Aug.-Nov. 15
(6 folders)
Box 43
1922, Nov. 16-1923, Jan.
(5 folders)
Box 44
1923, Feb.-Apr.
(6 folders)
Box 45
1923, May-July 15
(7 folders)
Box 46
1923, July 16-Oct. 15
(6 folders)
Box 47
1923, Oct. 16-Dec., undated
(6 folders)
Box 48
1924, Jan.-May
(6 folders)
Box 49
1924, June-Sept.
(6 folders)
Box 50
1924, Oct.-1925, Jan. 15
(6 folders)
Box 51
1925, Jan. 16-Apr. 15
(6 folders)
Box 52
1925, Apr. 16-Sept.
(7 folders)
Box 53
1925, Oct.-1926, Apr.
(7 folders)
Box 54
1926, May-Dec.
(6 folders)
Box 55
1927-1930
(7 folders)
Box 56
1931-1938
(7 folders)
Box 57
1939-1942, July
(6 folders)
Box 58
1942, Aug.-1947, undated
(7 folders)
Box 59
undated
(3 folders)
Box 60

3. Subject Files Series, 1906-1941 and undated

Reports, writings, press releases, memoranda, financial papers, and printed materials. Some files may have been used as background material for Williams's newspaper articles. Arranged alphabetically by topic and within each topic chronologically.

Aeronautics and Aviation, 1921-1925
(2 folders)
Box 60
Aeronautics and Aviation:
Box 61
undated
Box 61
War Department Report, 1923
Box 61
American Legion, 1915-1931
Box 61
Federal Council of Churches, 1919-1928
Box 61
Labor, 1907-1925
Box 61
Massachusetts, 1913-1925, undated
(2 folders)
Box 61
Peace and Disarmament, 1919-1920s
Box 61
Politics, 1911-1925, undated
Box 62
Presidential Inaugurations, 1905-1941
Box 62
Railroads, 1913-1922
Box 62
U.S. Army, 1906-1925
(2 folders)
Box 62
U.S. Army, undated
Box 62
U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1925
Box 62
U.S. Department of the Interior, 1925-1926
Box 62
U.S. Navy, 1913-1925, undated
(5 folders)
Box 63
Washington Conference on the Limitation of Armaments, 1921, Sept.-Nov.
Box 63
Washington Conference on the Limitation of Armaments, 1921, Dec. 1-1923
(5 folders)
Box 64
Williams, James T (1881-1969) and family
Box 64
World War I and Aftermath, 1914-1919, undated
Box 64

4. Legal Papers Series, 1910-1943 and undated

Several briefs. Relates to the purchase of printing supplies and a publishing company; the relationship between civilian and military law; and the authorization of the construction and leasing of an airplane landing field in Boston, Mass. to the United States government. Also contains a proclamation proclaiming Arizona a state, rent lease agreements, insurance policies, and contracts for Williams to speak at various events. Arranged chronologically.

1910-1943 and undated
(5 folders)
Box 65

5. Financial Papers Series, 1904-1947 and undated

Chiefly receipts for personal items such as clothing. Also contains a financial statement of the Tucson Printing and Publishing Company for 1911, information about annual dues for different organizations, and income tax returns. Arranged chronologically.

1904-1947
(4 folders)
Box 65

6. Writings and Speeches Series, 1889-1940s

Handwritten and typewritten papers on a variety of topics, including social, political, and business issues. Contains extracts of Herbert Hoover's speeches from the time of his nomination for President in 1928 to 1931. Divided into two sections, one arranged by date, the other by subject and for the most part undated. Also includes fragments. Extracts of Hoover's speeches arranged at the end of the series.

1889-ca. 1913
(5 folders)
Box 66
1914-1916
(5 folders)
Box 67
1917-1920
(5 folders)
Box 68
1921, Jan.-1922, June
(4 folders)
Box 69
1922, July-1924
(7 folders)
Box 70
1925-1929
(7 folders)
Box 71
1920s
Box 71
1920s
(3 folders)
Box 72
1921-1940s, undated
(4 folders)
Box 72
undated
(6 folders)
Box 73
undated
(8 folders)
Box 74
undated
Box 75
Arizona, undated
Box 75
Armament and Warfare, undated
Box 75
Aviation, undated
Box 75
Business and Labor, undated
Box 75
Education, undated
(2 folders)
Box 75
Eulogies and Biographies, 1920s, undated
Box 75
Foreign Relations, undated
(2 folders)
Box 75
Health, undated
Box 76
Immigration, undated
Box 76
Massachusetts, undated
Box 76
Military, undated
Box 76
Press, undated
Box 76
Social Problems, undated
Box 76
Tariffs, undated
Box 76
Transportation and Communication, undated
Box 76
Hoover, Herbert, 1928-1931
Box 76

7. Miscellaneous Series, 1885-1942 and undated

Resolutions honoring various people; report cards of siblings; minutes of various associations; reminders about speaking engagements; and sundry notes. Also contains note, address, and datebooks which may have been used to gather information for newspaper articles. Loose pages arranged chronologically followed by the bound material arranged chronologically.

1885-1942, undated
Box 76
Note, Address, and Datebooks, 1888-1915
Box 76
Note, Address, and Datebooks, 1917-1923 and undated
Box 77

8. Clippings Series, 1912-1945 and undated

Subdivided into two subseries Scrapbooks and Subjects.

Scrapbooks, 1912-1926.

The majority contain Williams' editorials from the Boston Evening Transcript. One contains clippings relating to Carmi A. Thompson's mission as the personal emissary of Calvin Coolidge to the Philippine Islands to make an economic survey in 1926. Arranged in chronological order.

1912, Jan. 3-1916, Apr. 20
Box 77
1916, Apr. 21-1917, Nov. 17
Box 78
1917, Nov. 17-1919, Mar. 1
Box 79
1919, Mar.-1920, Oct. 29(2 vols.)
Box 80
1920, Oct. 30-1922, Feb. 6(2 vols.)
Box 81
1922, Feb. 11-1924, Dec.
Box 82
Philippines, 1926, July-August
Box 82

Subjects, 1909-1926 and undated

Subdivided into topics. Several were either by or about Williams. Represented in the subject clippings is information about the Carmi Thompson investigation in the Philippines while Williams was in the Philippines working for the Boston American. Also contains information about speeches he made on various topics. Arranged in alphabetical order by topic and chronologically within each topic.

Aviation, 1916-1925, undated
Box 83
Coolidge, Calvin, 1920-1926, undated
(2 folders)
Box 83
Harding, Warren G., 1921-1923
Box 83
Ku Klux Klan, 1923-1925
Box 83
Landon, Alf M., 1936
Box 83
League of Nations and World Court, 1919-1925
Box 83
Massachusetts, 1913-1926
Box 83
Mitchell, William, 1925, undated
Box 83
Philippine Independence Movement, 1923-1926, undated
Box 83
Presidential Campaigns, 1912-1920
(2 folders)
Box 83
Presidential campaign, 1924
(3 folders)
Box 84
Prohibition, 1921-1926
Box 84
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1909-1921
Box 84
Taft, William H., 1910-1921
Box 84
Williams, James T. (1881-1969), 1909-1941, undated
(2 folders)
Box 84
Williams family, 1921-1945, undated
Box 84
Wilson, Woodrow, 1913-1924, undated
Box 84
Wood, Leonard, 1903-1927
Box 84
World Disarmament, 1919-1930, undated
Box 84

9. Printed Material Series, 1836-1947 and undated

Subdivided into two subseries, one by date, the other by types of printed material in alphabetical order. Includes printed political speeches, sermons, Boston Evening Transcript editorials, political pamphlets, periodical tearsheets, and material about the League of Nations. Contains political postcards, poetry, flyers, hymns, ribbons, campaign buttons, and press buttons for different state and national conventions, including some from the Republican National Convention in 1912. Also various programs and flyers of clubs where Williams spoke.

1892-1915
(6 folders)
Box 85
1916-1922
(8 folders)
Box 86
1923-1939
(7 folders)
Box 87
1940-1947, undated
(4 folders)
Box 88
Church bulletins
Box 88
Invitations and cards
Box 88
Invitations and cards
(3 folders)
Box 89
Membership cards, Passes, etc.
Box 89
Menus
(2 folders)
Box 89
Political campaign memorabilia
(4 folders)
Box 90
Programs
Box 90
Publications:
Air Service Newsletter, 1921-1925, July
(2 folders)
Box 90
David Lawrence's Weekly, 1933
Box 90
National Council for Reduction of Armaments Bulletin, 1922-1923
Box 90

10. Pictures Series, 1905-1935 and undated

Includes photographs of early airplanes, including those used in the United States air mail service as well as unidentified pilots in front of airplanes. Also two photographs of persons rehearsing for the Equal Rights Pageant to be given by the National Woman's Party in Colorado Springs on September 23 [year unavailable] which are located in the Pictures: Political, 1905-1924 and undated folder; signed portraits of Leonard Wood, Frank H. Hitchcock, and Charles Nagel; a few photographs of Fort Bayard, N.M., where Williams went to recover from tuberculosis; and several of Williams and members of his family.

Agriculture, undated
Box 91
Aviation:
Aerial photographs, 1922 and undated
Box 91
Aircraft, undated
Box 91
Aviation: People, 1911-1927 and undated
Box 92
Military (Miscellaneous), 1916-1923 and undated
(2 folders)
Box 92
People:
Coolidge, Calvin, 1923 and undated
Box 92
Lincoln, Abraham, undated
Box 92
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1918 and undated
Box 92
Williams, James T., (1845-1936) 1918 and undated
Box 92
Williams, James T., (1881-1969) 1918 and undated
Box 92
Williams Family Groups, 1905 and undated
Box 92
Williams Family Photos--Children, undated
Box 92
Williams, James, Vardry, Silas, and Sumner, 1919 and undated
Box 92
Political figures, 1922 and undated
Box 93
Signed portraits, 1904-1919 and undated
Box 93
Identified, 1923-1930
Box 93
Unidentified:
Men, undated
Box 93
Groups, undated
Box 93
With James T. Williams, undated
Box 93
Women, undated
Box 93
Places:
Alaska, 1915 and undated
Box 93
Arizona, undated
Box 93
Fort Bayard, N.M., undated
Box 94
Oxford, England, undated
Box 94
Pacific, 1908-1926 and undated
Box 94
Miscellaneous, 1935 and undated
Box 94
Political, 1905-1924 and undated
Box 94
Rifle Team, undated
Box 94
Miscellaneous, 1920-1922 and undated
(2 folders)
Box 94
Correspondence Series,1918-1940
Box 95
Subject Files Series, 1925
Box 95
Legal Papers, 1921-1925
Box 95
Writings and Speeches, 1925
Box 95
Writings and Speeches, 1921
Oversize-box 97
Miscellaneous Series, 1920
Box 95
Miscellaneous Series, undated
Oversize-box 97
Clippings Series, 1919-1926
Box 95
Clippings Series, 1908-1930
Box 96
Clippings Series, 1914-1926
Oversize-box 97
Printed Material Series, 1836-1923
Box 95
Printed Material Series, 1903-1947 and undated
(3 folders)
Oversize-box 97
Pictures Series, undated
Box 95
Pictures Series, undated
Oversize-box 97

Historical Note

Chronology

Date Event(s)
1881, Aug. 10 Born, Lincolnton, N.C.
1897-1898 Attended Furman College in Greenville, S.C.
1898-1900 Attended the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.
1901 Received B.A. from Columbia University
1901-1902 Employed at The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.
1902-1906 Washington correspondent for Associated Press (AP)
1904 AP representative at Democratic and Republican national conventions
1905 AP representative at Portsmouth Peace Conference
1906-1908 Washington correspondent for the Boston Evening Transcript
1907 Elected member of U.S. Naval Institute
1908 Worked for Republican Party and on campaign staff of William Howard Taft
1909 U.S. Civil Service Commissioner. Contracted tuberculosis and admitted to Fort Bayard Army Hospital in New Mexico.
1910-1912 Editor and part owner of the Tucson Citizen newspaper
1912 Delegate-at-large from Arizona at Republican National Convention
1912-1925 Editor of the Boston Evening Transcript, a Republican newspaper
1917 Applied for service in U.S. Army and was rejected because of physical disability
1920 Decorated Knight of the Order of Leopold (Belgium) and Commander of the Order of the Crown (Italy)
1924 Received honorary (D.C.L.) degree from the University of the South; Appointed to Board of Visitors to the U.S. Naval Academy by President Coolidge
1925-1927 Columnist for the Boston American, a Hearst paper
1925-1937 Contributing editor for Hearst's National Syndicate in Washington, D.C.
1928 Received LL.D. from Norwich University
1937-1938 Washington representative for the Chicago Daily News foreign service
1939-1947 Employed at Sperry Gyroscope Corporation for public relations
1967 Returned to Greenville, S.C. to live with sister
1969, Dec. 26 Died in Greenville, S.C.

After 1937 and for the remainder of his career, he lectured across the country and was a free lance writer. Member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Society of the Cincinnati, and Metropolitan, Cosmos, Army and Navy clubs.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], James T. Williams Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Williams Papers were purchased by Duke University Library in 1970.

Processing Information

Processed by: Janie C. Morris

Encoded by Stephen Miller

Completed October 25, 1991