Biography and History

Biography of William F. McCombs

William F. (Frank) McCombs was born on December 26, 1875 in Hamburg, Arkansas. He was graduated from Princeton University in the Class of 1898 and obtained an LL.B. from Harvard University in 1901. He was associated with the law firm of McCombs & Ryan in New York City.

In 1910, William McCombs enlisted in Woodrow Wilson's campaign for Governor of New Jersey. In 1911, he worked with members of the Democratic National Committee campaigning to bring about the nomination of Woodrow Wilson for the Presidency. McCombs was elected Chairman of the Democratic National Committee at the request of Woodrow Wilson. He collapsed from overwork in September 1912 but recovered in October 1912, he again managed the campaign which resulted in the election to the Presidency of Governor Wilson. In 1921 William McCombs published a book entitled Making Woodrow Wilson President (New York) describing his campaign experiences. In poor health, he died on February 22, 1921.

Biography of Maurice F. Lyons

Maurice F. Lyons studied shorthand at the Harlem Shorthand School and took liberal art courses at the New York Preparatory School, New York City.

In 1904-05, he was secretary to Richard Barry, American war correspondent with General Nogi during the Japanese-Russo War. A freelance reporter from 1906-1911, he became secretary to William F. McCombs (1911-12) during the prenomination campaign of Woodrow Wilson. McCombs was Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during Wilson's presidential campaign of 1912.

Maurice Lyons received his LL.B. degree from Georgetown University in 1916 and published a book entitled William F. McCombs, the President Maker, (Cincinnati, 1922).

Source: From the finding aid for MC090

  • Collection on William F. McCombs. 1910-1948 (inclusive), 1912-1921 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC090

    The Collection on William F. McCombs contains materials on and by William F. McCombs, a lawyer who was actively involved in Woodrow Wilson's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns. McCombs' secretary, Maurice F. Lyons, provided transcripts of correspondence and notes authored by McCombs to Arthur S. Link, as part of Link's work on The Papers of Woodrow Wilson. Correspondence between Lyons and Link concerning the typescripts is also located in this collection, as well as a set of bound newspaper clippings on Wilson's campaigns and administrations created by McComb's sister.