Skip to main content

Franklin MacVeagh papers

Call Number: MS 996

Scope and Contents

The papers of Franklin MacVeagh consist of correspondence from the years 1861-1925. Bulk dates for the approximately one hundred items contained here are 1910-1925. The papers are arranged in one box and measure two and one-half inches of material.

The correspondence is entirely routine in nature and focuses almost entirely upon matters pertaining to Yale University. MacVeagh's political activity in Chicago and later in Washington, D.C. as secretary of the treasury (1909-13), is virtually entirely ignored in this material. Rather, the subjects of these letters include a variety of alumni and ceremonial matters relating to MacVeagh and the class of 1862. The great quantity of correspondence consists of incoming letters, with only randomly scattered carbon copies of outgoing letters present.

Among the individual correspondents included in the papers are: James H. Crosby, William W. Farnam, William H. Hale, William Kent, and Cornelius Ladd Kitchel. Crosby, as secretary for the Yale class of 1862, contacted MacVeagh for financial and informational contributions to Yale funds and publications. Letters from Farnam, Hale, and Kent are examples of the courtesies extended to a successful alumni by fellow Yale men. Correspondence with C. L. Kitchell involves the usual discussion of alumni activities. A 1904 letter, however, urges MacVeagh to contribute financially to the Yale-in-China movement.

Several other manuscript collections contain the correspondence of Franklin MacVeagh. The Charles Dewey Hilles Papers (Mss. Gr. 281) contains over two hundred letters relating to MacVeagh's service as secretary of the treasury. For additional materials the following collections should be consulted: William Kent Family Papers (Mss. Gr. 309), Samual R. Betts Autograph Collection (Mss. Gr. 548), and the Chauncey Mitchell DePew Papers (Mss. Gr. 180).


  • 1861-1925


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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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

Purchased in 1959.


0.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Franklin MacVeagh Papers consist of correspondence largely relating to alumni activities of the Yale College Class of 1862. Prominent correspondents are James H. Crosby, who was secretary of the class, William W. Farnam, William H. Hale, William Kent and Cornelius Ladd Kitchel.

Biographical / Historical

Franklin MacVeagh was born on November 22, 1837, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. from Yale in 1862. MacVeagh studied at Columbia University Law School (1862-64) and received his LL.B. in 1864. Although selected valedictorian of his law school class, a breakdown in health prevented his appearance in that role.

MacVeagh joined with Charlton T. Lewis (Yale, 1853) to form Lewis & MacVeagh, a New York City law firm. Again poor health required his withdrawal from service. He served with the Pennsylvania Militia for a time during the Civil War.

After a respite in Minnesota to alleviate health problems MacVeagh settled in Chicago, Illinois. He established the firm of Franklin MacVeagh & Company, wholesale grocers, in 1866. MacVeagh served as president of the firm from 1866-1909 and 1915-1932. An active public life in Chicago included service as first president of the Citizens Association of Chicago (1874), president of the Chicago Bureau of Charities (1896-1904), vice-president of the Civil Service Reform League of Chicago (1884-85) and the American Civic Association (1905), trustee of the University of Chicago (1901-13), member of the executive committee of the National Civic Federation, and chairman of the First International Congress of Social Insurance (1914). In addition, MacVeagh was also involved with the Municipal Art League and the Chicago Yale Association (1881-82).

In 1894 MacVeagh was nominated by the Democratic State Convention of Illinois for the office of U. S. Senator, but he was defeated in the general election. By 1896 MacVeagh had joined the Republican Party and later served the nation as secretary of the treasury (1909-13) in the administration of President William Howard Taft.

MacVeagh married Emily Sherrill Eames on October 2, 1866. They had five children. Franklin MacVeagh died July 16, 1934, in Chicago, Illinois.
Guide to the Franklin MacVeagh Papers
Under Revision
compiled by William E. Brown, Jr.
October 1982
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

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours