The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Spotlight on Collections: Lodge Papers, Part IV

Last time in Spotlight on Collections, I wrote about Henry Cabot Lodge’s (HCL) family, education, and literary and political careers. This week I describe his connections to the MHS and look at the MHS holdings related to his life. 

HCL had many connections to the MHS.  Besides being a good friend of Henry Adams, who was from a long line of politicians and influential members of the MHS, HCL was also a long standing member of the MHS himself.  He spent 48 of his 74 years as a member of the Society.  Elected a member in 1876, HCL attended meetings and other events as a member of the Society while also performing his political duties in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate. 

In 1915, upon the death of MHS president Charles Francis Adams, brother of HCL’s friend and mentor Henry Adams, the nominating committee and MHS Council nominated HCL to sit as the next president. As was often the case with HCL, he had both supporters and critics within the MHS. This made for a very lively election. Those supporting Lodge eventually won out and elected him president. Although often absent due to his responsibilities as U.S. senator, once elected HCL served as president of the MHS until his death in 1924.

According to the MHS bicentennial history written by Louis Leonard Tucker, after the death of HCL the Lodge family placed his personal papers on deposit at the MHS. Almost four decades later a determined Stephen T. Riley, the Director of the Society from 1957 to 1976, made it his mission to convince the grandson of HCL, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (HCLII), to deed the papers over to the Society to ensure their safety then and in the future. Riley, who was known as an “unrelenting pursuer of his quarry” when it came to acquiring manuscripts, tirelessly pursued HCLII for several years.  In 1969 HCLII relented and signed a deed of gift to the Society for HCL’s papers.     

In total the MHS holds five collections directly related to HCL. The main body of manuscripts is in the Henry Cabot Lodge Papers, 1745-1966 containing 51 cartons and 2 oversize boxes of material. The collection includes personal, official, and family papers focusing on Republican Party politics and American foreign policy. This large collection is stored in an offsite facility. To provide more convenient access and long-term preservation for the manuscript materials the MHS microfilmed the collection (183 reels total) and stores the reels onsite for use by researchers. 

The MHS also holds a collection of eleven boxes (10 reels of microfilm) of correspondence between HCL and his long-time friend Teddy Roosevelt in the Lodge-Roosevelt Correspondence, 1884-1924. HCL published about half of these letters in his book Selections from the Correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge which was completed by his Secretary Charles F. Redmond after his death. Other HCL collections held by the MHS include 2,059 photographs in the Henry Cabot Lodge Photographs, ca. 1860-1945, letters to HCL’s nephew Ellerton James in Letters to Ellerton James, 1850-1924, and letters to HCL’s friend and lawyer William C. Endicott in the Henry Cabot Lodge papers IV, 1887-1933.

For more information about Henry Cabot Lodge’s connection to the Massachusetts Historical Society see:

Lord, Arthur.  “Tribute to Henry Cabot Lodge.” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 58, (1924-1925): 97-99.

Morse, John T., Jr. “Tribute to Henry Cabot Lodge.” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 58, (1924-1925): 99-110.

Tucker, Louis Leonard. The Massachusetts Historical Society: A Bicentennial History, 1791-1991. (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1996).

Join me on March 23rd when I turn to Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and his contributions to history.


permalink | Published: Wednesday, 9 March, 2011, 8:00 AM