William Sulzer
Scrapbook Collection, 1903-1938

SC14320

Quantity: 16 boxes (5.50 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: See provenance note
Processed By: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts and Special Collections, December 1994, revised November 1997, August 2001, October 2005, October 2012, June 2014

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Biographical Note:

William L. Sulzer, elected the thirty-sixth Governor of New York State in 1912, held office for less than ten months and was the only chief executive to be removed from office after an impeachment trial. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, March 18, 1863, he was educated in public schools there, and at Columbia Law School in New York City, where he was admitted to the bar in 1884. He also became active in the Democratic Party at the time. Five years later he was elected to represent the 14th district in the State Assembly and continued in that office until 1894, serving as speaker in 1893 and minority leader in 1894.  Elected to Congress in 1894, Sulzer held the office for eighteen years, serving during his last term as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.  He resigned in 1912 after he was elected Governor of New York.

Early in his administration, Sulzer broke ranks with Charles Murphy the leader of the Democrat Party organization in New York City at the time. Their dispute initially concerned matters of patronage when Sulzer refused to appoint a number of Murphy’s allies to state posts.  It became more intense when Sulzer promoted a reform agenda that included open primaries for choosing party nominations instead of the party convention.  In the meantime, a special legislative committee was appointed to investigate the governor and impeachment proceedings were commenced. He was charged with misappropriating campaign funds for personal use.  The High Count of Impeachment found him guilty and he was removed from office October 17, 1913.  Subsequently he was elected to the State Assembly and ran for governor again in 1914 on the American Party and Prohibition Party tickets.  In 1916 he declined the American Party nomination for president.  Thereafter, he was not actively involved in politics except in 1928, when he publicly denounced the presidential candidacy of Alfred E. Smith on the grounds of Smith’s religion and ties to Tammany Hall.  Otherwise, Sulzer spent the remaining years of his life engaged in private law practice in New York City. There he died November 6, 1941.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection consists of scrapbooks containing original letters, printed speeches, news clippings, campaign literature and other memorabilia related primarily to Sulzer’s career in New York State politics and government.  In particular, there is material related to his service in Congress, the gubernatorial election campaign of 1912 on the Democratic Party ticket, his service as governor, and subsequent removal from office.  While political redemption are a recurrent theme of the scrapbooks, there also is a considerable amount a material related to his campaign for governor in 1914 on the tickets of the American and Prohibition parties. There are also a number of booklets and leaflets promoting his nomination for President on the American Party ticket in 1916. Volumes covering later years include a considerable amount of material on Sulzer's opposition to Alfred E. Smith’s presidential candidacy in 1928. 

The scrapbooks also include material related Sulzer’s involvement in the Masonic Order and in gold prospecting in Alaska.  Notable correspondents of William Sulzer include Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Ford, Arthur Brisbane, Herbert Hoover, John Dewey, James A. Farley, Senator Key Pittman, Lithgow Osborne, George W. Norris, Harold L. Ickes, Cordell Hall, James A. Farley, and John Dewey.

Each scrapbook contains between 100 and140 pages; the volumes range in height from 24 to 26 cm.  The content of each volume tends to be a hodge-podge of material and is not arranged chronologically or related to a particular topic. Letters and other original manuscript material found in each volume appear to be unique whereas the printed literature tends to be the same.

Provenance Note:

The William Sulzer Scrapbook Collection was assembled by the New York State Library largely through gifts received from other libraries throughout the United States and Canada. Inscriptions found inside the front covers indicate that one of the following individuals compiled a particular volume: Nathan Reich, Emile Carbonnel, Harold Glazer, and Solomon Smith. Their relationship to Sulzer is not revealed in the scrapbooks.  The exact date of compilation is not known, but the content of the volumes altogether range in date from about 1903 to 1938. A number of volumes were originally accessioned as part of the single accession collection, but were later transferred to this collection.  The original accession number is noted in parenthesis at the end of the description for a particular volume.

Container List:


Box Volume Description
1 1 Scrapbook compiled by Emory Chance relative to the impeachment of Governor William Sulzer, 1913. (ca. 100 p.; 31 cm.)
1 2 Index to the Personal Congressional Directory of Hon. William Sulzer, a Member of Congress from the State of New York for the 54th, 55th and 56th Congresses.
2 3 Scrapbook compiled by Harold Glazer for Hanover College; contains letters, invitations, news clippings, leaflets, and printed literature, ca. 1930-1938
2 4 Scrapbook compiled by Harold Glazer for Cumberland University (Lebanon, Tennessee); contains letters, greeting cards, news clippings, and printed literature, ca. 1933-1936.
3 5 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for Cumberland University (Lebanon, Tennessee); contains letters, telegrams, and printed literature, ca. 1932-1933
3 6 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for University of Maryland; contains letters, telegrams, greeting cards, news clippings, and printed literature, ca. 1928-1933
4 7 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, Minnesota); contains letters, greeting cards, news clippings, and printed literature, ca. 1935-1932 (11441)
4 8 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for University of Maine, Orono, Maine; contains letters telegrams, and printed literature, ca. 1930-1933 (15185)
5 9 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for Hobart College, Geneva, New York; contains letters, telegrams, and printed literature, ca. 1930-1931
5 10 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania; contains letters and printed literature, ca. 1926-1931
6 11 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire; contains letters and printed literature, ca. 1928-1933 (12670 v.1)
6 12 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for Alteshein [?] University; contains letters, telegrams, greeting cards, invitations, and printed literature, ca. 1932-1934 (NYSL Book Collection)
7 13 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for University of Rochester; contains letters, telegrams, greeting cards, invitations, and printed literature, ca. 1931-1932. (10620)
7 14 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for LaFayette College (Pennsylvania), 1914-1939.
8 15 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for Alfred University; contains letters, telegrams, invitations, news clippings, and printed literature, ca. 1911-1931
8 16 Scrapbook containing material related to Sulzer’s political career, ca. 1905-1906. (unbound; cover missing)
9 17 Scrap book compiled by Emile Carbonnel for Boston University Library; content relates primarily to Sulzer’s congressional service, ca. 1904-1907. (16382)
9 18 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for Boston University Library; contains letters, news clippings, and printed literature, ca. 1917-1929 (16382)
10 19 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for the Nevada State Library; contains letters, greeting cards, news clippings, and printed literature, ca. 1926-1927.
10 20 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for University of New Hampshire Library; contains letters, telegrams, news clippings, and printed literature, ca. 1921-1929. (12670 v.1)
11 21 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for University of North Carolina Library; contains letters and printed literature, ca. 1913-1927.
11 22 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for Valparaiso University (Indiana); contains letters, invitations, and printed literature, ca. 1927-1928. (16448)
12 23 Scrapbook compiled by Solomon Smith for University of Oregon; contains letters, invitations, news clippings, and printed literature, ca. 1925-1926. (17945)
12 24 Scrapbook compiled by Solomon Smith for Wellesley College (Massachusetts); contains letters, news clippings, and printed literature, ca. 1913-1922.
13 25 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for University of Saskatoon (Canada); contains letters, greeting cards, and printed literature, ca. 1928-1929. (16281)
13 26 Scrapbook compiled by Nathan Reich for University of Montana, Missoula; contains letters, news clippings, and printed literature, ca. 1925-1927.
14 27 Scrapbook compiled by Emilie Carbonnel for Vermont State Library; contains news clippings, leaflets, and other printed literature, ca. 1912-1913.
14 28 Scrapbook compiled by Emile Carbonnel for Wesleyan University (Connecticut); contains news clippings, leaflets, and other printed literature, ca. 1913-1916.
15 29 Scrapbook compiled by Emile Carbonnel for Alfred University; contains news clippings, leaflets, and other printed literature, ca. 1903-1918.
15 30 Scrapbook compiled by Emile Carbonnel for Alfred University; contains portraits, printed speeches, news clippings, leaflets, and other printed literature, ca. 1903-1918.
16 31 Scrapbook compiled by Emile Carbonnel for the University of Florida;, Gainsville, Fla.; contains letters, telegrams, news clippings, leaflets, and other printed literature, ca. 1903-1923.                                                                                                                                                                                                    
16 32 Scrapbook containing material related to Sulzer’s time as Governor of New York, 1913-1923; bookplate was removed, but there is notation indicating the scrapbook came from the University of Georgia.
Last Updated: November 25, 2014