Edwin S. Stuart papers
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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Temple University Libraries Special Collections Research Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
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Edwin Sydney Stuart (1853-1937) was a Philadelphia businessman and politician during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to owning and operating a successful bookstore, Stuart also served as mayor of Philadelphia from 1891 to 1995 and governor of Pennsylvania from 1907 to 1911.
Edwin Sydney Stuart was born December 28, 1853 to Hugh and Anna P. Newman Stuart. He was educated from the age of six to the age of fourteen at the Southwest Grammar School in Philadelphia. After finishing his education, he began work for Leary’s bookstore, as an errand boy or a “boy-of-all-work.” His subsequent rise to salesman and then manager during the illness of W.A. Leary, culminated in his purchasing the company following the death of Leary.
Stuart became politically active in 1880, during President James A. Garfield’s campaign. He applied for membership in the Young Republicans of Philadelphia and quickly became treasurer. Two years later, in 1882, he was elected president, a position he retained until resigning in 1891, and “beloved and respected by its thousand or more members, Mr. Stuart guided the organization through many triumphs in the National and State campaigns in which it … figured,” (Encyclopaedia, page 71). He also participated in the State League of Republican Clubs, serving as president from 1884 to 1886. In 1886, he was elected to represent the Twenty-sixth Ward in the Select Council of Philadelphia (later renamed City Council), a position he held until 1891.
It was in 1891 that he was elected Mayor of Philadelphia, not only as the youngest man in Philadelphia history to hold the office but also, with the distinction of being nominated unanimously by the Republican Party. Under his tenure, “Philadelphia made greater progress in municipal improvements … than in that of any of his predecessors, and he carried through important measures of reform against the severest opposition,” (Morris, page 32). His service was not without difficulties: he was forced to fire both the city’s treasurer, John Bardsley, for mismanaging public funds which resulted in the collapse of several banks, and the Director of Public Safety. Despite these troubles, Stuart gained respect for his “no-nonsense approach,” (PMHC). Stuart was also lauded for his work with public transportation costs; service on Girard College’s Board and the Board of City Trusts; and service as member of the Electoral College of Pennsylvania. His term as mayor ended in 1895.
Following his tenure as Mayor of Philadelphia, Stuart served as president of the Union League of Philadelphia in 1906. He also met and worked with Boise Penrose which resulted in his running for governor against Democrat Lewis Emery Jr.
Stuart was elected Governor of Pennsylvania in the fall of 1906, was inaugurated on January 14, 1907 and served until 1911. While serving as governor, Stuart “helped investigate and prosecute guilty parties in the case [concerning] key officials [inflating] costs for construction of the new State Capitol and in turn … bill[ing] the state for unjustified charges,” (National Governors’ Association). During his tenure, he “applied his leadership in the campaign against tuberculosis, at the time the nation’s leading cause of death, and the improvement of the state’s common school system,” (PHMC). Stuart’s efforts as governor resulted in the State Museum of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Farm Show and expansion and regulation of highways, railroads and communication lines in the state.
Following his tenure as governor, Stuart declined continued activity in politics, but remained an active citizen. In addition to running his bookstore, Stuart served as president of Philadelphia Board of City Trusts, on the board of, and later deputy governor of, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, as president of the Union League of Philadelphia, and as a member of the Pennsylvania Society of New York. Stuart died on March 21, 1937.
Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Biography of Pennsylvania, Volume III. New York: Atlantic Publishing & Engraving Co., 1898.
Morris, Charles, editor. Men of the Century, an Historical Work: Giving Portraits and Sketches of Eminent Citizens of the United States. Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1896.
National Governors’ Association, (http://tinyurl.com/yfhdkuo), accessed May 20, 2011
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/1879-1951/4284/edwin_sydney_stuart/469108), accessed May 20, 2011.
The Edwin S. Stuart papers, as received by Temple University, reflect a portion of the files from the Stuart/Emmons family and material stored at Leary & Co. prior to the closing of the firm in 1969. The records date from 1884 to 1937, and reflect both the archives of the Leary firm and the political and social activities of Governor Stuart. His papers document a variety of personal activities and social functions as well as his work with Girard College and the Union League. While the papers do document some of his political functions in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, this collection does not contain his formal political office files.
The vast majority of the collection consists of correspondence, however, there are also speeches, personal finances, articles regarding Stuart and photographs.
Gift of W. Stuart Emmons, July 1976.
The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos.
- Booksellers and bookselling
- Pennsylvania--Politics and government--1865-1950
- Pennsylvania. Governor (1907-1911 : Stuart)
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--Politics and government
- Philadelphia (Pa.). Mayor
- Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )
- Temple University Libraries Special Collections Research Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Carleton Schwager
- Finding Aid Date
- The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project. Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Temple University Libraries Special Collections Research Center with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
Correspondence pertaining to the Young Republicans Club and requests for help from persons seeking employment; papers relating to the Constitutional Centennial Committee activities, including an invitation to a reception for President Cleveland at the American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, 1877 September 16 (folder 2); programs and related material for a dinner for President Cleveland given by the Hibernian Society, in a celebration of the Constitutional Centennial (folder 3); ticket for the Christmas Fair to raise money to build the Baptist Temple at Broad and Berks Streets (folder 3); and notification of election to membership in Clover Club (folder 2).
Letter from John Baird describing his scale model of the Centennial Exhibition (folder 1); papers on proposed railroad “Beltway” along Philadelphia’s waterfront (folder 1).
Material on the Asphalt Block Company and the American Defense Association (folder 1); letter from Dr. S. Solis-Cohen (folder 3); the opening and dedication program for Bethel A.M.E. Church, 6th St. below Pine, 1890 October 26 (folder 3); correspondence with and about the Honorable Henry H. Bingham, United States Representative; letter from father of namesake, Edwin Stuart Steinler, thanking Stuart for gift 1890 December 27.
Mostly bills and receipts, including bill for the funeral expenses of Stuart’s Mother (folder 1); letter from Stuart to Isaac Bedichimer, February 5, 1891, declining an invitation to the Shekinah Lodge; (MSS 2553, not part of Emmon’s gift)
Ornate Christmas Card, a fine example of engraving, from Postmaster Thomas L. Hicks and officers and employees of the Post Office of Philadelphia (folder 8); correspondence with Moses King over captions for photograph of Leary’s Book Store in: King, Moses. Philadelphia and Notable Philadelphians (copy in Templana 115 Lxl005] (folder 10); holograph letter from Alfred Otherian [sp?], Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Consulate, Philadelphia, reminding Stuart of dinner invitation in Atlantic City to celebrate the 70th anniversary of his Imperial Majesty, The Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary (folder 13); correspondence and ticket for Republican National Convention, June 19, 1900 (folder 15); holograph letter of thanks for wedding gift from a cousin in Cementon, Pennsylvania, whose name is also Edwin S. Stuart (folder 16); several mentions throughout correspondence of an accident Stuart suffered in February; holograph letter from Stuart’s brother Will and Will’s wife, Mary, concerning trip to the American Library Association meetings in Montreal that Stuart financed for them, and a brochure of the meetings (folder 16); Union League material, including engraved invitation to reception at The League for Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and the notice of Stuart’s election to the Board of Directors (folder 18).
References throughout correspondence during 1904 to Stuart being “critically ill”; invitation from Governor of Pennsylvania to meet the President of the United States at a luncheon, 1906 October 4, Harrisburg (folder 21).
All receipts mostly for household purchases of food, goods and services; some receipts for personal purchases such as clothing and gifts.
Programs for dinner honoring Stuart at the Pennsylvania Society, 1907 December 7 (folder 1); correspondence relating to the Pennsylvania School Codes (folder 12); statement of personal expenditures from 1907 January 15 to 1911 June 30 (folder 14); list of contents of scrapbooks consisting of leaflets 52-812, 1907 April 5 to 1911 January 4; remainder of material consists largely of personal receipts including bill for funeral expenses for sister, Cornelia A. Stuart, who died on October 25, 1911 (folder 14).
Invitation from Republican Club of New York to subscribe to dinner at Waldorf Astoria for President William Howard Taft, 1913 January 4 (folder 18); thank-you note from namesake, E.S. Stuart Rains, for attending his confirmation in Keneseth Israel Temple and for sending gift; order for tombstone for sister, Cornelia A. Stuart (folder 7); and some letters of sympathy on her death throughout year (also in folder 20).
Invitation to participate, with the President of the United States and his cabinet, at the inauguration of the National American Indian Memorial in New York Harbor, 1913 February 22 (folder 10).
Extensive correspondence on Pennsylvania Society matters during Stuart's presidency of the Pennsylvania Society in 1914 (folder 9).
Letter to Stuart from Russell Conwell, 1916 January 7 (folder 2).
Letters from H. Arthur Diggert, Vice president and treasurer of Heyl Dairy Equipment Company, 1917 April 30, urging Stuart to consider investing in the “paper milk bottle idea” (folder 4).
In box 22, notices of deaths of Girard College boys from influenza epidemic (box 22, folder 5) and in box 23, material on Liberty Loans and letters from service men throughout correspondence in 1918.
In box 24, correspondence with Nicholas Murray Butler concerning publicity for Butler’s “Philadelphia address,” correspondence from Mary Louise Bok concerning Settlement Music School and correspondence from nephew (?) Charles in camp in Maine (folder 2); and extensive correspondence and related materials on Girard College, including alumni yearbook, 1919 (folder 7). In box 25, letter from James Mott Hallowell, great grandson of Lucretia Mott (folder 1). In box 26, correspondence concerning activities of the Poor Richard’s Club and the Pennsylvania Society. In box 27, copy of letter from Governor Calvin Coolidge to Governor William C. Sproul stating regrets that he cannot come to Philadelphia for Union League reception (folder 1); appointment to Mayor Smith’s official committee to welcome the King and Queen of Belgium, and invitation to reception (folder 1); invitation from Mayor Smith to meet General Pershing (folder 1); invitation to committee to entertain Cardinal Mercier of Belgium (folder 1); correspondence with the Bishop of Bethlehem, Ethelbert Talbot, on Girard Estate Matter concerning the Diocese of Bethlehem (folder 2); letter from Nicholas Murray Butler to Charlemagne Tower (folder 2); invitation to inauguration of Governor Sproul (folder 1); invitation to Rodman Wanamaker’s reception for the Prince of Wales in New York (folder 5); invitation from John Wanamaker “at the request of the musicians of Philadelphia. . . in association with the Philadelphia Orchestra. . .“ for a hearing of the great organ at the Wanamaker Store (folder 5); correspondence with Joseph P. Tumulty, Secretary to President Wilson, and William Potter of the Union League, concerning a rumor that President Wilson refused to sit at the same table with Theodore Roosevelt at a Union League dinner. (Copies of correspondence sent to Woodrow Wilson Papers, Princeton University Library.)
Invitation to Union League Dinner 1927 November 17, honoring President Calvin Coolidge (folder 1); power of attorney, Edwin S. Stuart to William H. Stuart and Katherine Leckler (folder 3).
Souvenirs, printing plates (2), medals, etc. Includes leather bound copy of University of Pennsylvania “University Day" 1908 February 22, at which Stuart received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree; charter, by-laws and membership list of Hibernian Society for 1887; leather bound commendation to Governor Stuart from the Military Committee of Philadelphia’s 225th Anniversary for having the Pennsylvania National Guard participate in the Military Parade, 1908 October 5. Medals: 1) Commemorating the Establishment of the Federal Reserve Banks in the United States of America, Chicago 1915. Bronze, 2 3/4”. Obverse bears relief portrait of unknown man and verso bears inscription “Edwin S. Stuart.” 2) “Commander in Chief” - has relief of Stuart (?) on obverse, verso blank. In Joseph K. Davison’s Sons, Philadelphia, box. 2 medals. 3) “Campaign of 1889.” Obverse bears relief of man (Harrison?). Verso bears words “Presented by the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania. J.K. Davison, Philadelphia, Pa” Leather bound vellum testimonial book, with signatures of Stuart’s “fellow citizens,” presented to him on his retirement as Mayor of Philadelphia. (Gift of George Allen, 1980 January 2).