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William Howard Taft papers

Call Number: MS 480

Scope and Contents

These papers consist of a miscellaneous collection of items — letters, speeches and lecture notes — by William Howard Taft, acquired by purchase or gift between 1940 and 1948. Of the eighteen letters, seven were written while he was president of the United States. The most substantive of these is a letter dated July 28, 1911 which discusses Senator Robert M. LaFollette's attempt to introduce protectionist legislation on wool. Taft's lifelong interest in Yale University is shown in letters on nominees for honorary degrees, in letters concerning his sons when they were students at the College, and in a group of letters that he wrote to classmates in 1917 in preparation for the class's fortieth reunion.

The collection also includes two speeches, White House memorabilia and a sketch by Sir Francis Carruthers Gould, cartoonist for theWestminster Gazette,drawn on Taft's leaving office in 1914.


  • 1874-1928


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Existence and Location of Copies

Notebooks of lectures and other teaching materials are available on microfilm (circa 600 frames on 1 reel, 35mm.) from Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, at cost. Order no. HM131.

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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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

Acquired by purchase and gift between 1940-1948, transferred from the Yale Law School, 1983.

Existence and Location of Originals

Two ms. volumes (electrostatic copies) of case study notes, outlines and texts of lectures on constitutional law and government and other matters pertaining to the Yale Law School (1913-1916) date from the period when he served as Kent Professor in the Law School. The originals are in the Yale Law School Library.


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Miscellaneous letters by William Howard Taft, two speeches (one on strikes, the other on liberty under the law) and a colored pen and ink drawing by Sir Francis Carruthers Gould, entitled "Ex-President Taft in Retirement." Among the letters the most important was written to Colonel J.C. Hemphill from the White House, July 28, 1911 and discusses Senator Robert M. La Follette's attempt to introduce protectionist legislation on wool. In a number of letters in 1917 Taft writes to classmates of his Yale College class of 1878 to raise money for a special fund for their fortieth reunion. Also included are copies of notebooks of lectures and other teaching materials (1913-1916) kept while he was Kent Professor at the Yale Law School. A student essay, "The Third Term Question," circa 1874-1875 is included in the papers.

Biographical / Historical

Admitted to Ohio bar in 1880; practiced law in Cincinnati, 1883-1887; judge of Superior Court, Cinncinati, 1887-1890; solicitor general of U.S., 1890-1892; U.S. Circuit judge, 1892-1900; president, U.S. Philippines, 1900-1901; first civil governor of Philippines, 1901-1904; secretary of war, 1904-1908; 27th president of U.S., 1909-1913; professor of law, Yale University, 1913-1921; appointed chief justice of U.S., 1921.

Guide to the William Howard Taft Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Manuscripts and Archives Staff
February 1980
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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