Guide to the James T. Williams Papers, 1836-1947
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.
- Collection Number
- James T. Williams papers
- Williams, James T., 1881-1969
- 48 Linear Feet, 36,000 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Diaries and Reminiscences Series, 1909-1923
- Correspondence Series, 1868-1947 and undated (bulk 1910-1925)
- Subject Files Series, 1906-1941 and undated
- Legal Papers Series, 1910-1943 and undated
- Financial Papers Series, 1904-1947 and undated
- Writings and Speeches Series, 1889-1940s
- Miscellaneous Series, 1885-1942 and undated
- Clippings Series, 1912-1945 and undated
- Printed Material Series, 1836-1947 and undated
- Pictures Series, 1905-1935 and undated
- Oversize Materials
Access to the Collection
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.
Use & Permissions
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], James T. Williams Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Subdivided into two subseries Scrapbooks and Subjects.
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.
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.
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.
[1836 material is located in Box 95 (Oversize)]
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.
|1881, Aug. 10||
Born, Lincolnton, N.C.
Attended Furman College in Greenville, S.C.
Attended the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.
Received B.A. from Columbia University
Employed at The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.
Washington correspondent for Associated Press (AP)
AP representative at Democratic and Republican national conventions
AP representative at Portsmouth Peace Conference
Washington correspondent for the Boston Evening Transcript
Elected member of U.S. Naval Institute
Worked for Republican Party and on campaign staff of William Howard Taft
U.S. Civil Service Commissioner. Contracted tuberculosis and admitted to Fort Bayard Army Hospital in New Mexico.
Editor and part owner of the Tucson Citizen newspaper
Delegate-at-large from Arizona at Republican National Convention
Editor of the Boston Evening Transcript, a Republican newspaper
Applied for service in U.S. Army and was rejected because of physical disability
Decorated Knight of the Order of Leopold (Belgium) and Commander of the Order of the Crown (Italy)
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
Columnist for the Boston American, a Hearst paper
Contributing editor for Hearst's National Syndicate in Washington, D.C.
Received LL.D. from Norwich University
Washington representative for the Chicago Daily News foreign service
Employed at Sperry Gyroscope Corporation for public relations
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.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Beveridge, Albert Jeremiah, 1862-1947
- Borah, William Edgar, 1865-1940
- Brandegee, Frank Bosworth, 1864-1924
- Butler, Nicholas Murray, 1862-1947
- Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933
- Daniels, Josephus, 1862-1948
- Guerry, Alexander
- Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923
- Hitchcock, Frank H. (Frank Harris), 1867-1935
- Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
- Johnson, Hiram, 1866-1945
- League of Nations
- Lodge, Henry Cabot
- Nagel, Charles, 1849-1940
- Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )
- Roosevelt, Theodore
- Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930
- Weeks, John W. (John Wingate), 1860-1926
- Williams, James T., 1881-1969
- Wilson, Woodrow
- Air mail service -- United States -- Photographs
- Aeronautics -- United States
- Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1916
- Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1924
- Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1920
- Arizona -- Politics and government -- To 1950
- Greenville (S.C.)
- Massachusetts -- Politics and government 1865-1950
- United States -- Military policy
The Williams Papers were purchased by Duke University Library in 1970.
Processed by: Janie C. Morris
Encoded by Stephen Miller
Completed October 25, 1991