MSS 0331 - Willard Saulsbury, Jr., papers

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Willard Saulsbury, Jr. (1861-1927), was a prominent Delaware lawyer and a member of a a leading Delaware political family, serving in the United States Senate from 1913-1919 as as President Pro Tempore of the Senate from 1916 to 1919. The bulk of the Willard Saulsbury, Jr., papers belong to Saulsbury himself, dating from 1908-1926 when Saulsbury was at his political and business peak. The collection, consisting of papers, photographs, maps, and political realia, also includes papers and legal documents belonging to Saulsbury's father, items from the settlement of Saulsbury's estate and papers from cases handled by Saulsbury's law firm, which were not closed until after his death.

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  • The General Politics subseries contains material related to Saulsbury's political life and Democratic Party leadership, beginning with his initial involvement in 1888 with the New Castle County Democratic Party. The subseries includes information about his Senate election (1913), his 1924 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his continuing involvement in Democratic Party politics throughout his life. Elected to only one public office in his political career, Saulsbury's primary role in politics was leadership of the Democratic Party at the county, state, and national levels. This subseries reflects Saulsbury's "politicking" and party maneuvers, particularly related to state and national elections. Files consist of Saulsbury's correspondence with other politicians and Party members, political ephemera including advertisements and campaign memorabilia, newspaper clippings, and membership and voting lists.
  • The Senate Membership subseries contains material related not only to Saulsbury's period as U.S. Senator from Delaware, but also to the election campaigns and the issues with which he continued to be involved after his defeat for re-election. This subseries reflects some of the same interests and issues as the General Politics subseries. The bulk of this material, however, is concentrated on Saulsbury's senatorial duties in proposing, debating, and voting on legislation. The files contain extensive correspondence with fellow Congressmen as well as other Democrats in the Wilson administration. Because Saulsbury concentrated his energies on a few particular pieces of legislation, the related files reflect the entire process by which a proposed bill becomes law, with the many debates and amendments in that process.
  • The Letters subseries contains correspondence, which does not relate specifically to the subject file headings in the Politics and Senate Membership subseries. Much of the correspondence in this subseries does not concern major issues or legislation; thus, it provides insight into the areas which were important to Saulsbury but which did not necessarily become the focus of a particular debate during his political career. Some of these issues include Saulsbury's relationship with the Labor vote and his stance on women's suffrage; these issues were not directly addressed in the Politics and Senate Membership subseries. There is also information about Saulsbury's earliest interactions with the national Democratic Party, including letters from nationally-known Democrats.
  • The Addresses subseries contains copies of speeches and articles by Saulsbury from throughout his political career. The bulk of these are from the time of his Senator term. Although he was most effective at party politics, Saulsbury recognized the importance of making public statements to his constituents. Saulsbury's main vehicle for keeping in touch with his fellow Delawareans was his newspaper, The Delawarean, but public appearances provided a more immediate and personal way to speak to his fellow citizens.
  • The Pan American Conference subseries contains material related to Saulsbury's appointment by President Harding to be a U.S. delegate to the Fifth Pan American Conference Santiago, Chile in 1923. The devastation wrought by World War I was fresh in people's minds, and many thought that devastation was largely caused by the alliances and secret treaties between the various Great powers. The Pan American Conference was part of a series of post-war agreements and conferences aimed at increasing communication and cooperation among countries as one of the ways to ensure that there was no repeat of the Great War. The delegates to these conferences generally were among each nation's most distinguished elder statesmen. Saulsbury served in a party of delegates which included Ambassador Henry Fletcher and Senators Frank Kellogg and Atlee Pomerene. The Background file includes biographical information on some of the delegates which Saulsbury had collected as part of his preparation.
  • By subject as kept by Hugh Morris Contents: Letters, legal documents, lists of possessions, financial reports, tax filings, accounts of the estate and its settlement, biographical notes, photographs, pamphlets and booklets. When Saulsbury died in 1927, his will named his law partner Hugh Morris and Victor Wooley as his trustees and Hugh Morris and his wife, May, as executors. These files were apparently assembled by Hugh Morris who took primary responsibility of settling the estate. Consequently, there are some files which do not directly relate to Saulsbury, but which affected Morris's involvement with the estate. These files have been kept with the subseries. The bulk of this subseries relates to the various financial and legal obligations of settling an estate. Saulsbury's complete Will and subsequent changes and comments are included in the first folder. Subsequent files include the collection of Saulsbury's investments, the appraisal of his possessions, the relevant taxes, and other supporting documentation. There are also files related to Morris's job of fulfilling the will in the disbursement of property, which was complicated by the fact of Saulsbury's having died without an heir. One of Saulsbury's instructions was for memorial windows to be purchased and installed at churches in Wilmington, Georgetown, Milton, and Dover in memory of different family members. Records of the final settlement and of Morris's executor's accounts are included in this subseries. There are also two folders of biographical materials, possibly gathered for memorial presentation.
  • The largest subseries is made up of the papers of Willard Saulsbury, Sr., which remained in the possession of his son, Willard Saulsbury, Jr. The father was born June 2, 1820 and attended Delaware College and Dickinson College. He began practicing law in Kent Co., Delaware, and soon entered state politics. In 1850, he was named Attorney General for the state. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1859. Willard, Sr. was a strong believer in slavery and state's rights, and he spoke out repeatedly against what he saw as the abuses of the Union government during the war--particularly the interference of federal forces in the elections of Delaware and other "border" states. He was elected to a second term as U.S. Senator and continued his involvement in national politics after the war. In 1871, however, he was opposed in his bid for election to a third term by both of his brothers, Gove and Eli. Willard, Sr. eventually decided the matter by throwing his support to Eli. Two years later, Willard, Sr. was appointed by his brother-in-law, Governor James Ponder to be state chancellor, the highest legal position in the state, which he held until his death April 6, 1892. Most of the files in this subseries date from the time of Willard, Sr.'s first term in the U.S. Senate (1859-1865), including items from his legal practice and his personal life, but predominantly from his political career, which reflects the unusual circumstances of the Civil War. Letters and documents included relate to slavery and military affairs. A collection of invitations received includes some from the most prominent politicians of his day. Willard, Sr. was best known as one of Delaware's great orators and the Speeches subseries includes originals and copies of speeches from his Senate years. One subseries consists of legal papers from Willard, Sr.'s years as state chancellor. There are also files related to his death and estate. Records relating to Saulsbury, Sr.'s time as State chancellor collection of notes, legal papers, and correspondence. The papers are often incomplete for individual cases and Saulsbury rarely dated papers. As a result, the information on individual cases varies considerably. The files are detailed by the cases in each, however all files contain a mix of related papers, mostly notes.

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