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Charles & Anna E. Curtis Collection

Charles CurtisCorrespondence, Papers, & Autobiography, 1860–1992 (bulk 1892–1932)

Manuscript Collection No. 22

Charles’s papers consists of an autobiography; correspondence, 1892-1932; Orren A. Curtis family data; genealogical history of the William & Permelia Hubbard Curtis family; deeds & abstracts; certificates; programs & invitations; and biographical information on Orren A. Curtis. Anna’s papers contain 25 letters, 1900-1923, written to Mrs. C. C. Nicholsen, a friend.

 

Introduction

Abstract

Charles Curtis: Shawnee County, Kan., attorney; member of Congress; only Native American vice president. Of Topeka, Kan.; Washington, D.C.

Anna E. Curtis: civic club leader, wife of Charles Curtis. Of Topeka, Kan.; Washington, D.C.

Charles’s papers consists of an autobiography; correspondence, 1892-1932; Orren A. Curtis family data; genealogical history of the William & Permelia Hubbard Curtis family; deeds & abstracts; certificates; programs & invitations; and biographical information on Orren A. Curtis, collected by Eileen Charbo. Charles’s correspondence largely concerns his election campaigns, politics, and Republican Party affairs.

Anna’s papers contain 25 letters, 1900-1923, written to Mrs. C. C. Nicholsen, a friend.

Correspondents include Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, George A. Huron, Mrs. C. C. Nicholsen, William H. Taft, and William Allen White.

Dates

1860-1992 (bulk 1892-1932)

Quantity

0.4 ft. (11 folders)

Creator

Curtis, Charles, 1860-1936.

Title

Charles & Anne E. Curtis correspondence, papers & autobiography

Identification

Ms. collection no. 22

Language

Text is in English.

Notes

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Repository

Kansas Historical Society (Topeka)

Biography

Charles Curtis

Charles Curtis was born January 25, 1860, in North Topeka, Kansas. He was descended from White Plume, chief of the Kaw Tribe, and Louis Pappan, one of the original settlers of North Topeka. His mother died when he was three. He and his sister lived with his grandparents at the Kaw Indian Agency in Council Grove until he was eight; at that time, he returned to North Topeka where he lived with his paternal grandparents until he completed his schooling. Curtis attended Topeka High School for one year, but did not graduate. Instead, in1878, he began the study of law, reading in the law office of A. H. Case. In 1881 he was admitted to the bar. He served as County Attorney from 1884-1889. In 1892, he was elected to the House of Representatives; he served in that body until his election to the Senate in1907. He continued to serve in the Senate until his election to the vice-presidency under Herbert Hoover in 1928. He was the first Native American to be elected to national office.

In 1884, Curtis married Annie Baird. They had three children. She died in1924. Charles Curtis died on February 8, 1936. He is buried in Topeka Cemetery.

Anna Elizabeth Baird Curtis

Anna Elizabeth Baird, often called “Annie,” was born December 24, 1860, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, to John M. and Jane Baird. The Bairds also had a son, Essington Baird. When Annie was nine, the family moved to Topeka, Kansas. She married Charles Curtis on November 27, 1884 (Thanksgiving Day), in Topeka. She was a member of the North Topeka Baptist Church until she and Charles built their home near downtown Topeka; at that time she tranferred her membership to First Baptist Church. She was prominent in her work with women’s civic groups in Topeka including the Topeka Women’s Club, Minerva Club, and Portia & Argonaut literary clubs. She and Charles had three children. She died June 20, 1924, in Washington, D.C., after an illness of several years’ duration. She was buried in Topeka Cemetery.

Contents List

 Organization of the Papers

Organized into 2 sections (subgroups) by individual.

Section 1: Charles Curtis. Papers (8 ser. ; 10 folders), 1860-1992 (bulk 1892-1932)

Series 1: Autobiography (2 folders) (Microfilm: LM 938), [not before 1890]

This file contains articles written by Curtis describing his family background, childhood, his teen-age experiences as a jockey in post Civil War Kansas, his election and service as Shawnee County Attorney, his marriage, his participation in various trials as a defense attorney, his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and describes in detail many of the political machinations of Kansas politics in the 1890 campaigns in which he participated. Folders arranged chronologically. This is only part of his Autobiography; the entire work is on Kansas Historical Society microfilm roll LM 938.

Folder 1: Autobiography (1 of 2) : 1860-1884

This file contains articles written by Curtis describing his family background, childhood, and his teen-age experiences as a jockey in post Civil War Kansas. It concludes with his election and service as Shawnee County Attorney.

Folder 2: Autobiography (2 of 2) : 1884-1892

In this file, Curtis continues his autobiography describing his marriage, his participation in various trials as a defense attorney, his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and describes in detail many of the political machinations of Kansas politics in the 1890 campaigns in which he participated.

Series 2: Correspondence (2 folders), 1892-1925

Folder 3: Correspondence (1 of 2), 1892-1925

1. Five letters dated from April 29, 1892 through May 3, 1892, written by Curtis to C. F. Foote regarding the Emporia Republican Convention;

2. Letter dated March 3, 1905 from President Taft inviting Curtis to participate in a 90 day trip to the Philippines;

3. Letter dated May 9, 1908, from Catholic Indian Missions prelates thanking Curtis for his interest in mission work among the Indians;

4. Letter dated May 21, 1909, from Curtis to George Huron regarding Curtis’ opposition to the appointment of “Mr. Stone” to a position in the Attorney General’s office;

5. Letter dated August 20, 1909, from President Taft inviting Curtis to meet him (Taft) at some point on his western trip;

6. Letter dated August 23, 1909, from President Taft regarding Congressional patronage;

7. Letter dated June 1, 1912, from Curtis to H. Leone Miller thanking him for his help in organizing “Curtis Clubs”;

8. Letter dated January 15, 1913, from R. Bailey, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, explaining the gift of Confederate money to Curtis;

9. Letter dated November 14, 1917, from C. L. Mitchell of Crane and Company, Topeka, in which Mitchell cleverly satirizes the leading political figures in Kansas;

10. Letter dated November 23, 1917, from J. T. Botkin, Kansas Secretary of State, enclosing a copy of a letter that Botkin wrote to C. L. Mitchell, President of the State Chamber of Commerce;

11. Letter dated November 7, 1918, from C. B. Slemp, Representative from Virginia, celebrating Republican victories in the 1918 elections;

12. Letter dated February 10, 1919, from Curtis to C. H. Tennyson, Topeka, regarding Tennyson’s request for Curtis to assist him in securing his son’s discharge from the Army;

13. Letter dated October 31, 1924, from Clyde Miller, Director of Kansas Republican Speaker’s Bureau, thanking Curtis for his work in the 1924 election;

14. Copy of letter dated November 6, 1924, written by J. R. Burrow to Charles Sessions regarding a dinner honoring Curtis and mentioning a telegram which he had sent in June, 1924, in a failing effort to get Curtis selected as vice-president on the Coolidge ticket in 1924;

15. Copy of letter dated November 21, 1924, from William Wrigley to George Sanderson, Secretary of the United States Senate, in which he discusses his contributions to the Republican party;

16. Letter dated February 17, 1925, from H. Turner Lewis thanking Curtis for his assistance in helping disabled veterans;

17. Letter dated March 6, 1925, from Will H. Hays, President of the Motion Picture Producers & Distributors of American, thanking Curtis for tickets to an unnamed event provided to him;

18. Letter dated March 10, 1925, from S. L. Seabrook praising Curtis as an old friend who had made good and rightfully could be President of the United States;

19. Letter dated November 23, 1925, from President Coolidge thanking Curtis for a telegram which the senator had forwarded to him;

20. Letter dated Dec 4, 1925, from President Coolidge regarding thesituation on the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma.

Folder 4: Correspondence (2 of 2), 1926-1932, undated

1. Letter dated January 1, 1926 from William Allen White regarding his (White’s) reasons for including Curtis in a book which he had recently written (the book’s title is not mentioned).

2. Note dated February 8, 1926 from Grace Coolidge in which she mentions his recent illness and inability to attend a party.

3. Undated letter from Grace Coolidge in which she sent Curtis some photographs. (Photos not in file.)

4. Letter dated February 13, 1926, from the Women’s World Court Committee thanking Curtis for his support of a resolution for the entrance of the United States into the Court of International Justice.

5. Letter dated August 16, 1926, from William A. White enclosing a copy of a letter White wrote to Secretary of Agriculture William Jardine inviting him (Jardine) to a dinner at his home. White’s letter to Curtis is to reassure the Senator that nothing will be said or done at the dinner to embarrass Curtis politically. The specific source of controversy seems to be the Haugen Bill.

6. Letter dated March 3, 1927, from A. Pomerene, a lawyer involved in federal prosecutions, asking Curtis to reconsider his opposition to a bill granting immunity to witnesses who refuse to testify on the grounds that they may incriminate themselves.

7. Letter dated March 5, 1927, from Curtis to A. Pomerene explaining that he was not opposed to the above-mentioned bill but had not realized it was the measure affected by a parliamentary decision not to call it before adjournment.

8. Letter dated March 19, 1927, from the Indiana Defense Association of Central and Northern California thanking Curtis for his help in defeating the Flathead Power Amendment in committee.

9. Letter dated April 2, 1927, from Calvin Coolidge thanking Curtis for information on appropriations which Curtis had sent him.

10. Letter dated April 4, 1927, from Albert Lasker thanking Curtis for a testimonial given for Lucky Strike cigarettes.

11. Letter dated August 10, 1927, from the Kansas Woman’s Christian Temperance Union condemning Curtis (who did not smoke) for his support of cigarettes and warning him that his action could cost him votes in the next election. Attached to this letter is a telegram form written by Curtis and sent to the KWCTU in which he explains that he had made the endorsement to help a friend and would not do so again.

12. Letter dated August 29, 1927, from Calvin Coolidge inviting Curtis to join him in South Dakota or to meet him on his train in Chicago to travel back to Washington.

13. Letter dated September 15, 1927, from F. A. Cogswell offering to support Curtis for president in 1928.

14. Letter dated September 28, 1927, from Henry Lippitt of Rhode Island explaining that, while Curtis may be a favorite of Kansas voters, the people of Rhode Island would be more likely to support Hughes or Hoover.

15. Letter dated September 28, 1927, congratulating Curtis on his selection as “favorite son” by the Kansas Republican Party.

16. Letter dated October 1, 1927, from John A. Simpson of the Farmers’ Educational and Co-Operative Union of America urging Curtis to become a candidate for President.

17. Letter dated October 10, 1927, from William A. White thanking Curtis for suggesting that White would make a good delegate to the Presidential Convention.

18. Letter dated October 29, 1927, from Ralph Snyder, president of the Kansas State Farm Bureau, wishing Curtis well in his bid for the presidential nomination and offering him his support as long as there is a possibility of obtaining the nomination.

19. Letter dated November 1, 1927, from Curtis to Snyder thanking him for his support.

20. Letter dated November 22, 1927, from Curtis to Mrs. J. D. McFarland of Topeka thanking her for organizing a “Curtis for President” Club.

21. Letter dated November 29, 1927, from Calvin Coolidge thanking him for his letter endorsing James G. Strong for appointment as a member of the U. S. Customs Court.

22. Letter dated December 3, 1927, from William A. White urging Curtis to select Sam Fitzpatrick as delegate to the Republican Convention in 1928.

23. Letter dated December 3, 1927, from Curtis to five fellow Senators regarding the consideration of legislation they want brought to a vote during the 1928 Congressional session.

24. Letter dated December 12, 1927, from Calvin Coolidge thanking Curtis for a letter in support of Judge Townsend as a U. S. Judge.

25. Letter dated February 3, 1928, from Curtis to Rabbi Maurice Teshnor expressing his thanks for the rabbi’s support.

26. Letter dated March 7, 1928, from William A. White describing the Republican state convention and all the support which was given to Curtis’ candidacy.

27. Letter dated June 8, 1928, from Maud Park congratulating Curtis on his selection by the Republicans.

28. Letter dated July 11, 1928, from Don Seitz asking Curtis two questions in regard to his youth.

29. Letter dated July 11, 1928, from Frederick A. Stokes Company, Publishers, granting a waiver to Curtis on material he had given author Don Seitz.

30. Letter dated July 17, 1928, from Calvin Coolidge thanking Curtis for his interest in supporting a judge candidate.

31. Letter dated July 11, 1928, from Elihu Root to Mr. Henry Rose complimenting Curtis.

32. Letter dated November 27, 1929, from Calvin Coolidge discussing various political items and expressing his appreciation for all the “great help” Curtis was during his time in Washington.

33. Letter dated October 15, 1930, from Simeon D. Fess, Ohio senator who recounts the experience of his and Curtis’ travels across Ohio in celebration of the anniversary of the victory of George Rogers Clark.

34. Letter dated November 20, 1930, from National Magazine asking Curtis for a Christmas Greeting to be included in their magazine. Attached to the letter is a copy of Curtis’ reply.

35. Letter dated June 29, 1931, from Curtis to W. H. Fernald, offering to meet him at his Topeka offices.

36. Letter dated September 21, 1931, from George Pepper in reply to a letter from Curtis and his (Pepper’s) inability to answer a question of Curtis’.

37. Letter dated November 13, 1931, from Alice Denton Jennings in which she encloses a newspaper article and her own analysis of Curtis’ personality and future from a right palm print which she had acquired form him during a visit to Atlanta.

38. Letter dated November 14, 1931, from the Young Men’s Republican Club of Maricopa County, Arizona, extending a life time membership to Curtis.

39. Letter undated from Gertrude Remey, Curtis’ sister, asking him to speak at a memorial service.

40. Letter dated March 30, 1932, from Herbert Hoover in regard to Curtis’ request to have the president consider a candidate for the Shipping Board.

41. Letter dated April 1, 1932, from Herbert Hoover regarding Curtis’ interest in the appointment of General Metcalf.

42. Letter dated April 15, 1932, from Raymond Preston expressing his love and admiration of his friend, Curtis.

43. Letter dated June 16, 1932, from J. Phil Schock, in regard to renomination for vice-presidency in 1932 election.

44. Letter dated July 14, 1932, from Wichita Beacon publisher supporting Curtis for renomination to vice-presidency.

45. Undated note from Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover wishing Curtis a Merry Christmas.

46. Letter dated January 25 (no year) from James Shera Montgomery, Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, congratulating Curtis on his 70th birthday.

47. The last item in this folder is a three page document in which Curtis writes about the Indians and Indian affairs through history. Attached to this three-page document is a poem about Franklin D. Roosevelt—authorship unknown.

Series 3: Deeds, abstracts, etc. (folder 5), 1916-1932

1. A book inscribed “Vice-President Curtis” in which there are memorabilia from various Republican National Conventions from 1916 to 1932;

2. abstract of title for property owned by Curtis in North Topeka, Kansas;

3. abstract of title for property owned by Curtis in North Topeka.

Series 4: Miscellaneous certificates, etc. (folder 6), 1863-1881

This folder contains three original certificates and (one copy) regarding Curtis, including:

1. Certificate of admittance to the Kansas state bar, 1881;

2. Certificate of admittance to practice in U. S. Circuit Court District of Kansas;

3. Certificate of appointment as a notary public in 1879.

It also contains three original certificate relating to Orrin A. Curtis, Charles Curtis’ father:

1. Certificate appointing Orrin A. Curtis as 2nd Lt. Of the Kansas Volunteers, dated September 5, 1863;

2. Certificate appointing Orrin A. Curtis as Captain of Company F, Kansas Volunteers, dated October 2, 1863;

3. Certificate of Discharge from United States Army, dated 186?

This file contains the original diploma from Topeka High School awarded to Annie Baird, Curtis’ wife.

This folder also contains a copy of a handwritten note from Theodore Roosevelt.

The final item in this folder is a hand-written note from Curtis found in the files of Topeka High School, dated Jan 29, 1880. .

Series 5: Miscellaneous programs, invitations, etc. (folder 7), [between 1897 and 1901]-1929

This folder contains 11 items:

1. 3 invitations to White House receptions from President and Mrs. McKinley, Mrs. Roosevelt, and Mrs. Taft;

2. a program of events surrounding Curtis’ visit to Manila with Secretary Taft in 1905;

3. a program for a cruise to the West Indies in March 1907, with autographs of all the dignitaries seated at the table of Hon. William B. McKinley;

4. a program from a luncheon held in honor of Pres. Taft in 1909 at St. Louis;

5. an invitation and ticket to a ceremony honoring Charles Curtis on the occasion of his nomination to the vice-presidency of the U.S.;

6. invitation and ticket to the Inauguration of Hoover and Curtis in 1929;

7. Official Program of the Inaugural Ceremonies on March 4, 1929.

Series 6: Saga of the William & Permelia Hubbard Curtis family (folder 8), July 1992

This folder consists of two copies of a genealogical history of the family of William and Permelia Hubbartd Curtis, with special emphasis on Charles Curtis and his family. It was compiled by Roberta Hubbard Palmer in July, 1992, for the Charles Wesley Hubbard Organization. (Charles Wesley Hubbard was the brother of Permelia Hubbard Curtis.)

Series 7: Orren A. Curtis family data (folder 9)

This folder consists of nine sheets of genealogical information on the family of Charles Curtis, including ancestors, relatives, and family members. There was no court data found in the file; this material may be in Series 8.

Series 8: Eileen Charbo, collector. Biographical material on Orren A. Curtis (folder 10), 1870-1966

This folder contains research material about the Curtis family as follows:.

1. genealogical notes; newspaper clippings; copy of Indian Patent relating to Curtis property; copy of schedule of heirs of Julie Gonvil Pappan, grandmother of Curtis, from U. S. Department of the Interior; copy of census of Kaw Indians from 1922; copies of pension applications made by Orren A. Curtis, father of Charles;

2. copies of newspaper articles relating to the damage done by the 1966 tornado to Curtis’ former mansion in Topeka; the wedding of Dolly Curtis and Edward Gann; copy of their marriage license; newspaper clippings about the death of Dolly Curtis Gann; copy of Gann’s death certificate; newspaper clipping about the Curtis Cemetery in North Topeka, undated; copies of war records relating to Orren Curtis; marriage certificate of Orren Curtis and Isabel Quick; page from Military History of Kansas regarding O. Curtis; copies of papers regarding the court martial of O. Curtis; divorce papers relating to O. Curtis and Isabel Quick;

3. Census records of 1870 for various Curtis relatives; newspaper clipping on death of Permelia Curtis, Charles Curtis’ grandmother (1903); copies of war records and legal files in regard to Orren Curtis; census records about the extended Curtis family; correspondence between Eileen Charbo and various researchers.

Section 2: Anna E. Curtis. Correspondence (folder 11), 1900-1923

This file consists of twenty-five letters written from January, 1900, to November, 1923, by Anna Curtis to Mrs. C. C. Nicholsen, a friend. They contain references to family, church, Washington events and customs, and other everyday affairs.

Related Records and Collections

Other letters of Charles Curtis are in the Ross Burns/Howel Jones collection (unprocessed)

Index Terms

Persons

Charbo, Eileen Miles. (co-author)

Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933. (co-author)

Curtis, Anna E. (Anna Elizabeth Baird), 1860-1924. (co-author and subject)

Curtis, Charles, 1860-1936.

Curtis, Orren Arms, 1829-1898 – Biography.

Curtis, Permelia Hubbard – Family.

Curtis, William – Family.

Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964. (co-author)

Huron, George A. (co-author)

Nicholsen, C. C., Mrs (co-author)

Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930. (co-author)

White, William Allen, 1868-1944. (co-author)

Corporate Names

Republican Party (Kan.)

Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )

United States. Congress.

United States. President (1923-1929 : Coolidge) (co-author)

United States. President (1929-1933 : Hoover) (co-author and subject)

Family Names

Curtis family – Genealogy.

Geographic Names

Kansas – Politics and government – 1865-1950.

Shawnee County (Kan.) – Politics and government – 19th century.

United States – Politics and government – 1865-1933.

Subjects

Election campaigns.

Election campaigns – Kansas.

Election campaigns – United States.

Indians of North America – Politics and government.

Occupations

Legislators – United States.

Vice presidents — United States.

Vice presidents’ spouses – United States.

Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions on Access

None

Restrictions on Use

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The user is cautioned that the publication of the contents of this microfilm may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the copyright law of 1976 as amended, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right; the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of a user or his or her publisher to secure the permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing.

The subject of literary rights was not addressed when most of the components of this collection were donated. Consequently, literary rights that have not reverted to the public domain due to age may belong to the creators' heirs or assigns. Please contact the Kansas Historical Society staff about specific items.

Acquisition Information

Gifts: various sources.

Notes

Archives box title.