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J. Warren Keifer Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Keifer, Joseph Warren, 1836-1932.
Title: J. Warren Keifer Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1858-1929
Bulk Dates: 1881-1883
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft. (260 items)
Abstract: U.S. Army officer (U.S. Civil War, Spanish-American War) and legislator (U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio, 1877-1885, 1905-1911). Collection contains correspondence, primarily from 1881-1883, when Keifer was Speaker of the House of Representatives, and two items of miscellany. Incoming letters, mostly from military and political figures, of Susan B. Anthony, James G. Blaine, William Jennings Bryan, Carrie Chapman Catt, James A. Garfield, Marcus A. Hanna, Warren G. Harding, Rutherford B. Hayes, Nicholas Longworth, Whitelaw Reid, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Sherman, William Tecumseh Sherman, William Howard Taft, Leonard Wood, and others.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
http://scrc.syr.edu

Biographical History

Joseph Warren Keifer (1836-1932), Civil War soldier, Ohio congressman, and Speaker of the House, was reared on his father's farm in Ohio. He attended Antioch College and, after admission to the bar, began the practice of law in Springfield, Ohio, in 1858.

After only a few years in the law, he enlisted in the Union army in April 1861. Keifer won successive promotions for his service in campaigns in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. By April 1865 he had fought in twenty-seven battles and had been commissioned as a major general. Keifer was wounded four times in the course of the war, most severely at the Battle of the Wilderness.

At the war's end, he returned to Springfield, where he resumed his law practice, and served in the Ohio state senate. In 1876 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention at Cincinnati and was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he first served from 1877 to 1885. He was Speaker of the House for the Forty-seventh Congress (1881-1883). Keifer returned to active army service in 1898 and 1899 as a major general of volunteers in the Spanish-American War. Later he was commander-in-chief of the Spanish War Veterans. Between 1905 and 1911 he again served in the House of Representatives. The length and variety of his military and political service brought Keifer into contact with many of the notable figures in the period between the Civil War and the' First World War. For more than fifty years he served as a trustee of Antioch College. J. Warren Keifer married Eliza Stout in 1860, and they had four children. Keifer died in Springfield, Ohio, on 22 April 1932, one of the last of the surviving Union generals.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The J. Warren Keifer Papers consist of correspondence, the bulk of which is incoming amd primarily political in nature. There are 260 items, including letters sent as enclosures. The years 1881 to 1883, during which Keifer was Speaker of the House, are the most heavily represented, although there are letters from all but four of the years from 1874 to 1929. An index of the correspondents appears at the end of this inventory.

Keifer's correspondents include notable Americans of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, among them five presidents of the United States, six other Speakers of the House, an odd-dozen cabinet officers, as well as congressmen, senators, and military figures. Presidents Hayes, Garfield, Taft, Harding, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the latter writing as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, are represented. Other political notables are James G. Blaine, William Jennings Bryan, "Uncle Joe" Cannon, Roscoe Conkling, Mark Hanna, Nicholas Longworth, and John Sherman. Many of his other correspondents were military figures, mostly former Union generals: Fitzhugh Lee, James Longstreet, William S. Rosecrans, Philip Sheridan, William Tecumseh Sherman, Daniel Sickles, and Leonard Wood. Other notable correspondents are Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, William C. Gorgas, Edward Everett Hale, Oliver 0. Howard, Robert Todd Lincoln, Whitelaw Reid, Elihu Root, and Carl Schurz.

In an 1881 letter written to Keifer as the Speaker of the House, Susan B. Anthony requests that the House appoint a standing committee on the rights of women citizens. A group of six letters, written to Speaker Keifer and to David Davis, president pro tempore of the Senate, concern arrangements for memorial services for the late President Garfield. One letter, dated May 1887, from William Tecumseh Sherman, offers Keifer some rather pungent advice for dealing with a political rival, while Warren G. Harding's letter of March 1917 contains his defense of the Senate's resistance to cloture rules. Other letters contain reminiscences of events of the Civil War: H. G. Wright's letter of 1893 gives an account of Lee's surrender, and the novelist and Civil War general Lew Wallace wrote about the Battle of Monocacy in a letter of 1897. In a letter of August 1907, FrederiAMcCormick, an Associated Press reporter in Seoul, Korea, describes Korea and Imperial Russia. As a group, these letters do not focus on any single issue, but reflect Keifer's interests and associations over many years.

Among the collection's few items of non-correspondence material is a program for a dinner in honor of General William Tecumseh Sherman's sixty-third birthday on 8 February 1883, autographed by Sherman, Keifer, and most of the other guests. There are also three petitions, presented to Keifer as Speaker of the House, two on behalf of a candidate from Oregon for membership on the Committee on Commerce, and one on behalf of a candidate from Kentucky.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings

Persons

Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906.
Blaine, James Gillespie, 1830-1893.
Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925.
Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947.
Garfield, James A. (James Abram), 1831-1881.
Hanna, Marcus Alonzo, 1837-1904.
Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923.
Hayes, Rutherford B., 1822-1893.
Keifer, Joseph Warren, 1836-1932.
Longworth, Nicholas, 1869-1931.
Reid, Whitelaw, 1837-1912.
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919.
Sherman, John, 1823-1900.
Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891.
Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930.
Wood, Leonard, 1860-1927.

Corporate Bodies

United States. -- Army -- Officers.

Subjects

Legislators -- United States.

Places

United States -- Politics and government, 1865-1933.

Genres and Forms

Correspondence.

Occupations

Legislators.
Soldiers.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

J. Warren Keifer Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: -
Date: circa 1975
Revision history: 11 May 2010 - converted to EAD (MRC); 8 Nov 2012 - container number fix (MBD); 12 Dec 2016 - index code corrected (MRC)

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Inventory

Correspondence
Box 1 General 1858-1929, undated (59 folders)
Miscellanea
Box 1 Petitions to the Speaker of the House 1898
Box 1 Program of a dinner honoring William Tecumseh Sherman 8 Feb 1883

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Index to correspondence

All correspondence is incoming to Keifer, unless otherwise noted.

  • [ ], George A. : 1881 Jan 4 [n.p.]
  • Alger, Russell Alexander : 1890 Nov 29 Detroit; 1890 Dec 4 Detroit; 1897 Feb 12 Detroit; 1902 Oct 1 Detroit
  • Allen, Elisha Hunt : 1882 Feb 28 Washington; 1882 Feb 28 Washington (to [David] Davis)
  • Anthony, Susan B. : 1881 Dec 5 Tenafly, N.J.
  • Blackburn, Joseph C. S. : 1882 Mar 4 Washington
  • Blaine, James G. : 1881 Apr 11 Washington; 1881 Sep 10 Washington; 1882 May 12 [Washington?]; 1882 May 19 [Washington?]
  • Bounder de Melsbroeck, [ ] de : 1882 Feb 27 Washington
  • Brewster, Benjamin Harris : 1882 Apr 4 Washington; 1883 Mar 2 Washington
  • Bryan, William Jennings : 1898 Dec 10 Savannah; 1899 Nov 11 Lincoln, Neb.; 1900 Jan 13 Lincoln, Neb.; 1901 Oct 1 Lincoln, Neb.; 1914 Jul 9 Washington; 1915 Feb 26 Washington
  • Butler, Benjamin F. : 1878 Feb 4 Washington
  • Butler, Matthew C. : 1882 Jun 5 Washington
  • Cannon, Joseph G. : 1881 Apr 20 Danville, Ill.; 1881 Dec 10 Washington; 1881 Dec 19 Washington; 1904 Jul 17 Danville, Ill.; 1904 Dec 6 Washington; 1905 Jul 10 Danville, Ill.; 1918 May 4 Washington; 1922 Feb 27 Washington; 1924 May 12 Danville, Ill.; 1924 Dec 14 Danville, Ill.; 1925 Jul 11 Danville, Ill.; 1925 Jul 23 Danville, Ill.; 1925 Dec 10 Danville, Ill.
  • Catt, Carrie Chapman : 1920 Mar 15 New York
  • Chandler, William Eaton : 1884 Apr 28 Washington; 1885 Feb 23 Washington
  • Clem, John Lincoln : 1882 Mar 8 Galesville, Wisc.; 1884 Jun 6 Fort McHenry, Md. (to Commissioner of Agriculture); 1884 Jul 6 Fort McHenry, Md.; 1910 Jun 1 San Antonio; 1910 Jun 11 San Antonio; 1926 Jul 26 Washington
  • Conkling, Roscoe : 1879 Sep 6 Utica
  • Corbin, Henry Clark : 1881 Dec 15 Washington; 1900 Aug 4 Washington; 1901 Nov 19 Washington
  • Cortelyou, George B. (for President McKinley) : 1898 Sep 13 Washington; 1899 Feb 27 Washington
  • Cox, Jacob Dolson : 1874 Jul 20 Toledo, Ohio
  • Cox, James Middleton : 1913 Jul 18 Columbus, Ohio
  • Cox, Samuel Sullivan : 1885 Mar 28 Washington
  • Davis, Cushman Kellogg : 1898 Aug 8 St. Paul, Minn.
  • Dawes, Charles G. : 1926 Feb 1 Washington
  • Day, William Rufus : 1903 Dec 25 Canton, Ohio
  • Department of the Interior : Undated Washington
  • Dove, George Washington (to President Garfield) : 1881 Mar 30 Yohamo, Japan (copy, enclosed in Fred. J. Phillips letter to Keifer, 1882 Jan 28)
  • East Washington Garfield & Arthur Club : 1881 Dec 9 Washington
  • Elmore, J. Frederico : 1882 Feb 26 Washington
  • Evarts, William M. : 1878 Nov 9 Washington; 1879 Jun; 18 Washington
  • Fairbanks, Charles W. : 1905 Oct 3 Indianapolis
  • Folger, Charles J. : 1882 May 6 Washington
  • Force, Manning Ferguson : 1878 Jul 15 Pomeroy, Ohio n.y. Apr 10 [Washington]
  • Foster, Charles : 1881 Apr 19, Columbus, Ohio (to President Garfield); 1882 Jan 28 Columbus, Ohio; 1883 Feb 1 Columbus, Ohio; 1892 May 21 Washington; 1904 Jan 2 Fostoria, Ohio
  • Furay, W. S. (to John Sherman) : 1882 Mar 5, Columbus, Ohio
  • Garfield, James Abram : 1864 Apr 28 Washington; 1880 Jul 19 Mentor, Ohio; 1880 Jul 28 Mentor, Ohio; 1880 Sep 2 Mentor, Ohio; 1880 Oct 4 Mentor, Ohio
  • Garfield, James R. (to him) : 1908 May 20 Washington
  • Garfield, Lucretia R. : 1882 Jul 11 Mentor, Ohio
  • Gillett, Frederick H. : 1924 Feb 23 Washington
  • Gordon, John Brown : 1894 Oct 1 Atlanta; 1899 Jan 4 Washington
  • Gorgas, William C. : 1908 Feb 26 Ancon, Canal Zone; 1910 Aug 26 Ancon, Canal Zone; 1912 Mar 6 Ancon, Canal Zone
  • Hale, Edward Everett : 1900 Sep 29 Roxbury, Mass.
  • Hanna, Marcus A. : 1896 Mar 21 Cleveland; 1896 Mar 28 Cleveland; 1896 Apr 7 Cleveland; 1898 Dec 3 Cleveland; 1900 Sep 20 Chicago; 1900 Sep 21 Chicago; 1902 Jan 11 Washington
  • Harding, Warren G. : 1915 Nov 4 Marion, Ohio; 1917 Mar 12 Washington; 1918 Mar 7 Washington; 1921 Feb 9 St. Augustine, Fla.
  • Hayes, Rutherford B. : 1877 Aug 31 Washington; 1883 Dec 2 Fremont, Ohio; 1884 Jan 7 Fremont, Ohio; 1886 Oct 21 Fremont, Ohio
  • Hendricks, Thomas Andrews : 1858 May 11 [Washington]; 1858 May 22 [Washington]
  • Herrick, Myron Timothy : 1903 Jan 26 Cleveland; 1903 Mar 19 Cleveland; 1908 Jun 9 Chicago
  • Hoar, George Frisbie : 1898 Jan 10 Washington
  • Holabird, Samuel B. : 1884 May 21 Washington
  • Howard, Oliver Otis : 1897 Sep 24 Burlington, Vt.; 1899 Nov 11 New York (to "Gen. Keifer's Adjutant-General"); 1899 Nov 11 New York; 1901 Aug 6 Burlington, Vt.; 1909 Jan; 19 New York. undated [n.p.]
  • Ingersoll, Robert Green : 1881 Dec 30 Washington undated Washington
  • Jerome, David H. : 1882 Feb 24 Lansing, Mich.
  • Jordan, David Starr : 1911 Feb 14 [Palo Alto, Calif.]
  • Knott, James Proctor : 1886 Dec 24 Frankfort, Ky.; 1886 Dec 24 Frankfort, Ky.
  • Lamar, Lucius Q.C. : 1885 May 20 Washington
  • Lee, Fitzhugh : 1898 Jun 25 Jacksonville, Fla.; 1898 Jul 11 Jacksonville, Fla.; 1898 Jul 16 Jacksonville, Fla.; 1898 Oct 28 [circa] Richmond
  • Lincoln, Robert Todd : 1882 May 26 Washington; 1884 Dec 8 Washington; 1885 Feb 13 Washington
  • Long, John Davis : 1899 Feb 25 Washington
  • Longstreet, James : 1881 Dec 3 Gainesville, Ga.
  • Longworth, Nicholas : 1918 Dec 19 Washington; 1924 Jan 19 Washington; 1928 Feb 16 Washington; 1929 May 1 Washington
  • Ludlow, [George Craig] (to David Davis) : 1882 Feb 21, Trenton, N.J.
  • MacVeagh, Franklin : 1912 Dec 28 Washington
  • Manning, Daniel : 1885 Mar 30; 1885 May 13 [Washington] [Washington]
  • McCormick, Frederick : 1907 Aug 6 Seoul, Korea
  • McCrary, George W. : 1878 Nov 9 Washington; 1879 May 15 Washington
  • McEnery, Samuel Douglas : 1898 Oct 7 New Orleans
  • McKinley, William : 1881 Oct 25 Canton, Ohio; 1892 Apr 26 Columbus, Ohio
  • Menocal, Mario G. : 1913 Jan 22 Chaparra, Cuba
  • Merritt, Wesley : 1885 Feb 9 West Point; 1885 Mar 4 West Point
  • Meyer, George von L. : 1910 Jun 2 Washington; 1911 Feb 1 Washington
  • Miles, Nelson Appleton : 1901 Apr 15 Washington; 1912 Sep 30 Governors Island, N.Y.; 1914 Jan 30 New York; 1914 Jan 31 New York; 1914 May 4 Washington; 1915 Jan 12 Washington; 1915 Aug 7 Hague, N.Y.; 1921 Aug 11 Willsboro, N.Y.; 1921 Oct 6 Washington; 1922 Jan 2 Washington; 1922 Jan 17 Washington; 1924 Jan 3 [n.p.]; 1924 Jan 22 Washington
  • Milroy, Robert Huston : 1876 Apr 26 Olympia, Washington Territory; 1882 Jul 4 Olympia, Washington Territory; 1884 Jan 25 Fort Simcoe, Washington Territory
  • Noyes, Edward F. : 1878 Mar 29 American Legation, Paris
  • Phillips, Frederick J. (for President Arthur) : 1882 Jan 28 Washington
  • Platt, Thomas Collier : 1881 Dec 5 New York; 1885 Feb 4 New York
  • Pomerene, Atlee : 1917 Aug 15 Washington
  • Randall, Samuel Jackson : 1881 Dec 13 Washington; 1882 Jan 27 Washington n.y. Jul 25 Berwyn, Pa.
  • Reed, Thomas B. : 1881 May 16 Portland, Me.; 1881 Jun 3 Portland, Me.
  • Reid, Whitelaw : 1885 Jan 15 New York; 1910 Feb 28 London; 1911 Apr 25 London
  • Republican Executive Congressional Committee, Presidential Campaign of 1860 : 1860 Apr 30 Washington; 1860 Jul 13 Washington
  • Ricketts, James Brewerton : 1865 Jul 22 Washington (plus enclosure); 1865 Aug 4 Washington; 1865 Oct 3 Annapolis; 1880 Dec 20 [Washington]; 1885 Mar 23 Washington; 1885 Mar 25 Washington
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. : 1913 Jun 26 Washington
  • Root, Elihu : 1916 Jan 6 New York
  • Rosecrans, William Starke : 1877 Dec 17 San Francisco; 1882 Jan 13 Washington; 1882 Mar 29 Washington; 1882 May 20 Washington
  • Schenck, Robert C. : 1870 Apr 9 Washington; 1884 May 6 Washington
  • Schurz, Carl : 1879 Jan 20 Washington
  • Schuyler, W.A. : 1906 Jul 7 Woodmere, N.Y.
  • Seymour, Truman : 1866 Jun 28 Pensacola Harbor; 1866 Sep 22 Pensacola
  • Shaw, Leslie M. : 1902 Jan 11 Des Moines
  • Sheridan, Philip H. : 1883 Dec 26 Chicago ; 1885 Jan 22 Washington
  • Sherman, John : 1865 Mar 7 Washington (with franked envelope); 1865 Nov 8 Washington ; 1865 Dec 14 Washington ; 1866 Jan 31 Washington ; 1866 Apr 2 Washington ; 1870 Jul 16 Washington ; 1879 Jan 13, Washington (to John E. Ayres) ; 1882 Jun 27 Washington (to W.S. Furay); 1882 Nov 8, Mansfield, Ohio (to James M. Brown) ; 1882 Nov 17 Washington ; 1887 Mar 7 Washington ; 1888 Mar 24. Washington ; 1888 Apr 20 Washington ; 1889 Feb 11 Washington ; 1890 Dec 25 Washington ; 1891 Apr 10 Washington ; 1891 Jul 23 Mansfield, Ohio; 1891 Aug 31 Mansfield, Ohio; 1891 Nov 11 Mansfield, Ohio; 1894 Dec 22 Washington ; 1895 Aug 1 Mansfield, Ohio; 1896 Mar 21 Washington
  • Sherman, William Tecumseh : 1881 Dec 5 Washington ; 1882 Feb 1 Washington (to H.G. Ramsdell); 1882 Jul 21 Washington ; 1887 May 18 New York ; 1888 Aug 26 New York
  • Sickles, Daniel Edgar : 1910 Mar 8 New York ; 1910 Mar 16 New York ; 1911 Dec 19 New York
  • Smith, Henry H. : 1896 Aug 15 Washington ; 1896 Aug 22 Washington
  • Stephens, Alexander H. : 1882 Jun 12 Washington
  • Taft, Alphonso : 1881 Oct 3 Columbus, Ohio (to him); 1881 Dec 4 Cincinnati ; 1882 Nov 25 Vienna
  • Taft, Charles Phelps : 1894 Sep 29 Cincinnati
  • Taft, William Howard : 1925 Jan 15 Washington
  • Teller, Henry Moore : 1882 Aug 5 Washington ; 1883 Jun 20 Washington
  • Wallace, Lewis : 1897 Nov 6 Crawfordsville, Ind.; 1897 Nov 19 Crawfordsville, Ind.
  • Wheeler, Joseph : 1889 Oct 23 Angeles, Luzon, P.I.; 1900 Mar 27 Washington; 1900 Aug 2 Chicago; 1900 Aug 16 Chicago; 1900 Oct 26 Wheeler, Ala.; 1904 Jul 4 New York
  • Williams, Philip : 1865 Dec 11 Winchester, Va.
  • Willis, Frank Bartlett : 1915 Dec 6 Columbus, Ohio; 1916 May 20 Columbus, Ohio; 1916 Dec 13 Columbus, Ohio (to Amos Huffman)
  • Wilson, John U. : 1882 Jun 26 Bremen
  • Wood, Leonard : 1913 Jun 28 Washington
  • Wright, Horatio G. : 1879 Aug 4 Washington; 1885 Jan 5 Washington; 1893 Sep 6 Washington

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