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John Hays Hammond Sr. papers

Call Number: MS 259
Scope and Contents

The papers of mining engineer John Hays Hammond (1855-1936) include correspondence, letter books, and printed material (1893-1936) concerning the economic development of South Africa and the Jameson Raid, and articles and speeches (1893-1934).

Hammond's experiences, related in vivid detail in his two-volume autobiography published in 1935, were dramatic and adventurous enough to inspire the writing of Richard Harding Davis' Soldiers of Fortune, which was published in 1897. Before the age of forty, Hammond had amassed a sizable fortune. His almost uncanny talent for discovering and developing a good prospect was internationally recognized, and in 1893 Barney Barnato persuaded him to manage his mining interests in South Africa. Soon after, Hammond was employed by Cecil Rhodes, whom he came to admire greatly. An early advocate of deep-level mining, Hammond was given complete charge of Rhodes' gold and diamond mines and made each undertaking a financial success. After the dismal failure of the Jameson Raid, the leaders of the Johannesburg Reform Committee, including Hammond, were arrested and subsequently sentenced to death. In the collection are many letters, and photostatic copies of the papers of Richard Olney, petitioning for his release. The bulk of the correspondence, however, pertains to business affairs of the Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa.

In 1903, Hammond became consulting engineer for the Guggenheim Exploration Company, sharing in the profits of their North American mines. After his retirement in 1907, he engaged actively in public and philanthropic affairs. Hammond (Yale, 1876) had known Taft since his student days, and although he did not accept any of the political posts offered him by the president, he delivered numerous speeches for the Republican Party. In 1911, he was appointed Special Ambassador and Representative of the President to the Coronation of George V. The peace movement attracted him; Hammond served as president of the American Society for the Judicial Settlement of International Disputes in 1911 and organized the World Court League in 1915. Above all, he was interested in the education and training of young people. Largely out of his own funds, he reorganized the National League of Republican Clubs. Hammond was a professor of mechanical engineering at Yale from 1902 to 1909 and donated funds for the Hammond Metallurgical Laboratory. As vice-president of the Boys' Clubs of America, he worked to promote the founding of new clubs. His generous efforts in these and other areas are fully described in the Articles and Speeches section.

Additional Hammond material is located in the Papers of Edward M. House and Henry L. Stimson, and in the Howell Wright Collection.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of John Hays Hammond, Jr., 1941, and Paul F. Cranefield, 1983.


The collection is arranged by type of material.

10 Linear Feet (16 boxes, 1 folio)
Related Names
Hammond, John Hays, 1855-1936
Language of Materials