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Shelby Moore Cullom Papers

 Collection
Identifier: BC142

Scope and Contents

The collection (1878-1914) consists of approximately 650 incoming letters; 150 condolence letters mounted in a binder; one letter press volume; and five scrapbooks of clippings. The material is unevenly distributed. There are but five items from the gubernatorial years, 1877-1883, and only 44 items from his first term in the Senate, 1883-1887. Almost half of the material, six folders, falls within the years 1889-1892 and relates to Cullom’s unsuccessful efforts to get the Republican nomination for President. There is one folder each for the combined years 1893-1899 and 1901-1903. Letters are fairly numerous for 1905 and 1909. Some of the legislative matters considered in the correspondence are the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887; tariff question, especially regarding wool and the Canadian reciprocity bill; Spanish-American War; annexation of Santo Domingo-Haiti; The Townsend Bill; and the new judicial district in Illinois. Letters referring to these matters are scattered and do not offer information in significant amounts on any one topic. The collection is essentially political in tone and content. Many of the letters are frank appraisals of campaign issues and candidates, and offer significant detail about intra-party struggles that culminated in the split of the Illinois Republican Party in 1912. John R. Tanner was a political ally, and his numerous letters from 1887 to 1898 discuss political situations resulting from the death of John A. Logan in 1886; Cullom’s presidential aspirations in 1888 and 1892; and Governor Joseph Fifer’s campaign for reelection in 1892. Of special note is Tanner’s letter of December 9, 1897, in which he explains his actions at the time of the killing of black miners at Carterville in September 1898. Some of the prominent citizens and office holders who corresponded with Cullom are Joseph Weldon Bailey, S.H. Bethea, William J. Calhoun, William Campbell, Joseph G. Cannon, William E. Chandler, Charles F. Crisp, George R. Davis, Charles G. Dawes, Charles S. Deneen, Charles W. Fairbanks, Joseph W. Fifer, Stuyvesant Fish, Joseph B. Foraker, Walter Q. Gresham, John M. Hamilton, Benjamin Harrison, John Hay, Weldon B. Heyburn, Robert R. Hitt, J. Otis Humphrey, Edmund J. James, William Jayne, Herman H. Kohlsaat, Robert Todd Lincoln, William Lorimer, Bowman H. McCalla, Cyrus H. McCormick, Medill McCormick, Franklin MacVeagh, Joseph Medill, Richard Michaelis, William Penn Nixon, Thomas C. Platt, Henry V. Poor, Whitelaw Reid, George Schneider, Paul Selby, Lawrence Y. Sherman, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, William Windom, Richard Yates, and Charles S. Zane. There is a plethora of letters from local politicians and office holders. In 1909 he sent letters to friends and key personnel throughout the state to ascertain the conditions of the Republican Party in Illinois. On file is a long series of replies, most of which voice dissatisfaction with party affairs. The same element of discontent can be found expressed in Cullom’s own letters of June, 1911 to December, 1912, copies of which are bound in a letter-press volume of 411 pages. In frank, poignant terms, Cullom foretells the defeat of the party in the 1912 election. The letter concerns his own indecision in seeking reelection; his unwillingness to leave office at such a troubled time and his mistrust of Deneen and their candidates. The letter of December 25, 1911, is a scathing denunciation of Deneen, which is followed in December 28, 1912 by a similar attack on Lawrence Y. Sherman. Throughout the letters he repeatedly explains to his reasons for voting as he did in the William Lorimer trial. The longest, most confidential letters in the series are to J. Otis Humphrey, whom Cullom wished to see appointed as Circuit Judge. He tells Humphrey of the many interviews he has had over the matter with President Taft. Taft and Roosevelt come under frequent scrutiny, in which the strengths of the two are compared and contrasted. Other persons and topics referred to Ambassador William J. Calhoun, whom Cullom wished to see nominated governor; re-investigation of the Lorimer case; Lafollette and the Progressive Party; Frank L. Smith as a candidate for governor; Canadian reciprocity bill; and the publication of his personal recollections, Fifty Years of Public Service.

Dates

  • Created: 1878-1914
  • Other: Date acquired: 10/06/1951

Creator

Extent

1.68 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement Note

The materials are arranged by format and then chronologcially there under.

Source of Acquisition

Catharine C. Ridgely Brown (Mrs. Phelps Brown) Granddaughter

Method of Acquisition

Gift

Appraisal Information

The Shelby M. Cullom Papers include some 583 letters and 67 telegrams. Letters are particularly numerous for the years 1903-1906, and 1888-1896. Mounted in a letter book are 152 letters of condolence on the death of Mrs. Cullom in August 1909. Most of the letters in 1892 relate to Cullom’s unsuccessful efforts to get the Republican nomination for President. There are four volumes of newspaper clippings. A copy book of 411 pages contains Cullom’s correspondence from June 29, 1911 to December 29, 1912, his last years in the U.S. Senate. Many of the letters mention his book, Fifty Years of Public Service. Clippings are also numerous on Cullom’s presidential aspirations in 1888 and 1892.

Other Descriptive Information

The following is a list of the letters: Alger, Russel A. (Telegram on death of John A. Logan)  -December 1886 Bailey, Sen. J.W. - August 24, 1905 Butler, Nicholas Murray - May 3, 1906 Campbell, Wm. J. - November 12, 1889; January 18, 1890; October 31, 1891; November 9, 1891; December 8, 17(2), 18, 1892 Cannon, Joseph G. - March 2, 1892; July 1, 1904 Carr, Clark E. - March 18, 1903; April 11, 1905 Chandler, Wm. E.-  June 29, 1889; November 26, 1902 Conkling, Roscoe (Telegram on death of John A. Logan) - December 1886 Cullom, Shelby M. - November 5, 1886; January 14, 1888  (to Medill); February 22, 1889; March 28, 1892; July 11, 1892 (2); December 22, 1892; January 14, 1898; February 12, 1898; April 26, 1899; May 2, 5, 6 1899; September 8, 1903; November 18, 1903; February 12, 1909; September 3, 1909; September 8, 1910 Davis, George R. (Director General, Chicago Fair) - January 10, 1891 Dawes Charles G. - March 6, 11, 1903; December 2, 1903; February 27, 1904; March 14, 21, 1905 Deneen, Charles S. - March 20, 25, 1904; October 3, 28, 1904; December 17, 24, 1904; February 10, 1905; March 1, 1905 Dunne, E.F. - April 14, 1905 Fairbanks, Charles W.H. - September 17, 1906; August 1, 1911; March 7, 1913 Fifer, Joseph W. - December 7, 1883; June 7, 1888; June 16, 1890; April 24, 1891; December 20, 1892; August 20, 1909 Fish, Stuyvesant - July 1, 1902 Foraker, Sen. J.D. - April 3, 15, 1905 Fry, R.T. (Olney, Illinois) - Feb 25(2), 1892 Gresham, Walter Quinton - November 28, 1884; December 11, 1884; January 19, 1888 Hamilton, Gov. John M. - Feb 23, 1892 Harrison, Benjamin (Telegrams Received at Minneapolis Convention) - 1892 Hay, John - July 2, 1904; February 28, 1905 Hepburn, Sen. W.B. - December 17, 1904 Hitt, R. R. - June 15, 17, 18, 1904 Humphrey, J. Otis - December 2, 1886; December 29, 1886; January 30, 1905 James, Edmund J. - November 30, 1904 Jayne, William - August 21, 1909 Jusserand, M. (to John Hay) - February 24, 1905 Kohlsatt, H.H. - July 12, 1892; January 21, 23, 1892 Lincoln, Robert T. (Telegram on death of John A. Logan) - December 1886; May 8, 25, 1905 Leonard, E.F. - January 23, 1893 Logan John A. -  December 13 Logan Mrs. John A. - May 24, 1905; June 1, 1905 Lorimer, William - May 4, 1904; August 24, 1909 McCalla, B.H. - November 19, 1903 McCormick, Cyrus H. - February 7, 1905 McCormick, Medill - November 30, 1904 McVeagh, Franklin - March 2, 17, 1909 Medill, Joseph - January 18, 1888; June 2, 1888; January 3, 1889; February 9, 1889 Nicolay, Helen - August 29, 1909 Nixon Wm. Penn - February 3, 1884; May 31, 1892; Oglesby, Mrs. John G. - March 10, 25, 1905; April 4, 8, 1905; August 27, 1909 Phillips, Issac N. -  July 4, 1886; August 20, 1909 Platt, Sen. T.C. - May 30, 1905 Reid, Whitelaw - August 29, 1892 Ridgley, Wm. Barrett - March 20, 1892 Roosevelt, Theodore - April 2, 1903 Schneider, George - July 6, 1892 Selby Paul - May 22, 1892; July 13, 1892; August 22, 1909 Sherman, Lawrence Y. - August 20, 1909 Sherman Gen. W.T. (Telegram on death of John A. Logan) - December, 1886 Sneed, C.H. (Benton, Illinois) -  February 26, 1892 Stevenson, Adlai E. - August 20, 1909 Taft, Wm. H. - November 20, 1908; July 15, 1909; August 1909 Tanner, John R. - January 2, 1887; November 18, 1887; March 22, 28, 1888; April 15, 18, 21, 29, 1888; May 4, 1888; April 8, 1890; March 7, 1891; October 15, 1891; November 16, 19, 1891; December 5, 12, 30, 1891; March 7, 28, 1892; May 1, 8, 11, 21, 24, 1892; April 24, 1892; December 3, 26, 1892; January 8, 11, 21, 1898; April 1 [?] 1898; April 5, 24, 1898; May 3, 1898; July 11, 1898; December 9, 16, 1898; Wilson, Woodrow - December 22, 1913 Windom, William - February 14, 1887 Yates, Richard - May 24, 1901 Zane, Charles S. - January 7, 10, 1892
Title
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Kendra Ciccone
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collection Repository

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