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William Gibbs McAdoo Papers: Finding Aid
mssMcAdoo papers  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: William Gibbs McAdoo Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1823-1992
    Bulk dates: 1936-1941
    Collection Number: mssMcAdoo papers
    Creator: McAdoo, W. G. (William Gibbs), 1863-1941.
    Extent: 12 boxes, 1 oversize folder, 3 oversize volumes.
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists of papers related to the life and political career of American lawyer and politician William Gibbs McAdoo (1863-1941). Much of the correspondence deals with McAdoo's public appearances and engagements as a United States senator from California and also his failed attempt at re-election in 1938.
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. William Gibbs McAdoo Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of Doris Cross McAdoo, October 1998.

    Biographical Note

    William Gibbs McAdoo (1863-1941) was born in Marietta, Georgia, on 31 October 1863 to Mary Faith (Floyd) McAdoo and William Gibbs McAdoo. He was a practicing lawyer in both Chattanooga, Tennessee and New York City after passing the bar in 1885. William Gibbs McAdoo developed and oversaw the construction of the Hudson River Tunnels, acting as president of the company which operated them from 1902-1913. He served as vice chairman for the Democratic National Committee in 1912 and as a delegate for the Democratic National Convention in the years 1912, 1932, and 1936. McAdoo was also a member of President Woodrow Wilson's cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury from March 1913 to December 1918. He was Director-General of the United States Railroads during World War I from December 1917 to January 1919. One interesting fact about McAdoo that is little known is that he was the leading candidate for the Presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in 1920. He was a United States senator from California from 1933 until his resignation in 1936. He was then an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1938.
    McAdoo was first married to Sarah Hazlehurst Fleming in 1885. His second wife was the daughter of President Woodrow Wilson, Eleanor Wilson, and they were married in 1914 but divorced at a later date. McAdoo's third wife was Doris Cross, whom he married in September 1935.
    William Gibbs McAdoo died of a heart attack on 1 February 1941 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Fort Meyer, Virginia.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of letters, photographs and clippings related to the life and political career of William Gibbs McAdoo. Much of the McAdoo correspondence deals with his public appearances and engagements as a United States Senator and also his failed attempt at re-election in 1938. Also of interest is McAdoo's involvement with the first Pan-American flight in 1936 and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's campaign trip to California in July 1938. There are also materials related to McAdoo's involvement with the Liberty Bond Act during World War I and the construction and management of the Hudson River Tunnels. The earlier materials are letters to and from William Gibbs McAdoo's grandfather, Charles R. Floyd, chiefly dating from 1823 to 1845. Many of the letters are from his wife, Sophie Floyd, but of note are a few letters from Thomas Butler King.
    Persons represented in the collection include: John Anson Ford, J. Edgar Hoover, Cordell Hull, Eleanor Wilson McAdoo, Doris Cross McAdoo, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson.


    The collection is arranged in the following order:
    • Material relating to WGM while Director-General of US Railroads during World War I, 1918-1919 (Box 1)
    • Correspondence of Charles Floyd (grandfather of WGM), bulk 1823-1945 (Box 2)
    • William Gibbs McAdoo Papers (Box 3-11)
    • Oversize Materials (Box 12, 1 folder, and 3 volumes)
    Note: the materials in Box 3-11 are organized broadly by year, but individual items do not follow strict chronological arrangement and there is date overlap among boxes.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Floyd, Charles R.
    Floyd, Sophie.
    McAdoo, Eleanor Wilson, 1889-1967.
    McAdoo, Doris Cross.
    McAdoo, W. G. (William Gibbs), 1863-1941.
    Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
    Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.
    Pan American Airways Corporation.
    Airplanes -- American -- 1930-1940.
    Political campaigns -- California.
    Political campaigns -- United States.
    Legislators -- United States -- Archives.
    Transpacific flights -- History -- Sources.
    Tunnels -- Hudson River (N.Y. and N.J.)
    War bonds & funds -- United States -- 1910-1920.
    World War, 1914-1918 -- Finance -- United States.
    California -- Politics and government -- 1850-1950.
    United States -- Politics and government -- 20th century.


    Clippings -- United States.
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States.
    Photographs -- United States.

    Alternate Authors

    Floyd, Charles R.
    Floyd, Sophie.
    Ford, John Anson.
    Hoover, J. Edgar (John Edgar), 1895-1972.
    Hull, Cordell, 1871-1955.
    King, T. Butler (Thomas Butler), 1800-1864.
    Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
    Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.