Spotlight on Collections: Henry Cabot Lodge, Part VI

By Tracy Potter

Over the last several weeks in Spotlight on Collections I discussed the life and influence of the Cabot family, the Lodge family, Henry Cabot Lodge (HCL), and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (HCL II).  Sadly, this week will be my final installment on the Lodges.  To close up the series I will look to HCL II, to his connection with the Society, and to the many collections of his papers available at the Society. 

Like his grandfather, HCL II became a member of the Society early in his career.  In 1947 the nominating committee and MHS council elected HCL II a resident member of the Society.  As the beginning of his membership corresponded with his first term as U.S. senator, HCL II was not available much of the time to take part in many of the member meetings and events.  Although his work in the Senate and then as an ambassador took him away from the normal duties of a Society member, HCL II contributed to the Society by donating important Lodge family papers.  These papers included the previously mentioned two collections of Henry Cabot Lodge papers, the Lodge-Roosevelt correspondence, the John Ellerton Lodge papers, and the papers of his father George Cabot Lodge.  HCL II also donated many other family papers such as correspondence between Henry Adams and Matilda Elizabeth Frelinghuysen Davis in the Adams-Lodge correspondence, the John Davis scrapbook (HCL II’s maternal grandfather), and the George Cabot Lodge collection.

By 1975, as HCL II’s political and diplomatic career was winding down, HCL II retired as a member of the Society.   Although his membership ended, HCL II continued a relationship with the Society by donating a very large collection of his own papers in 1978.  HCL II’s papers, the Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. papers, is made up of over 66 cartons of material, most of which are stored offsite.  This collection contains letters, speeches, scrapbooks, photographs, audio tapes, newsreels, and memorabilia concerning Lodge’s career as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, Massachusetts state representative, United States senator, and representative to the United Nations. Although the Society microfilmed a small portion of this collection (Cartons 30-35 and 37), the majority of the collection is stored offsite and is available for researchers to view with advance notice. 

Upon his death in 1985, HCL II bequeathed a slightly smaller set of his papers, the Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. papers II  which included papers concerning his service in World War II, his diplomatic career in Vietnam and the United Nations, and his 1952 Senate race against John F. Kennedy.  The entirety of this collection, consisting of fourteen cartons, four document boxes, and one oversize box, has been microfilmed.  The original papers are stored off-site, but researchers can make use of the microfilm edition, which is stored onsite for researcher access.

Along with each collection of his personal papers, HCL II also donated a number of photographs.  For preservation purposes, thirteen boxes, two oversize boxes, and thirty-nine volumes of photographs were removed from the Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. papers and renamed the Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. photographs.  This collection includes loose photographs, scrapbooks, and photograph albums that depict his political career and family life.  The 591 photographs removed from the Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. papers II were renamed the Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. photographs II .  This collection contains photographs of HCL II, portraits of Lodge family members and political figures, photographs of Emily Sears Lodge’s charity work in Vietnam, and photos of manuscripts.  Both of these collections are available for researcher use in the library.

Although in different ways, both HCL and HCL II contributed to the Society.  They helped shape its history, its collection, and its reputation.  In their support for the Society both men demonstrated their belief in the importance of preserving history, whether it be books, manuscripts, artifacts, or photographs.  I would like to think that their understanding of the importance of history was a key factor in making them so successful in politics and diplomacy, but I will have to leave the verification of that to the historians.