Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Edge, Walter E. (Walter Evans), 1873-1956
Walter E. Edge Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1782-1968 (mostly 1905-1956)
26 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-26


Walter Evans Edge (1873-1956) was a notable New Jersey businessman and politician, serving New Jersey as Governor from 1917-1919 and 1944-1947 and as a United States Senator from 1919-1929. The Walter E. Edge Papers document Edge's personal and professional life through correspondence, speeches, government documents, photographs, memorabilia, and scrapbooks.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Walter E. Edge Papers document Edge's personal and professional life through correspondence, speeches, government documents, photographs, memorabilia, and scrapbooks. Though much of the correspondence is personal, there are some letters that pertain to the New Jersey Republican Party. Edge's writings of note include speeches given after his term as Ambassador to France. The Documents and Printed Matter series includes materials Edge accumulated while Ambassador to France and during his second term as Governor of New Jersey. The collection contains numerous Edge family photographs. The Awards, Certificates, and Scrapbooks Series combines many of the accolades and mementos Edge collected during his career. Many of his numerous honorary degrees and certificates of election are included.

Please see series descriptions in contents list for additional information about individual series.

Collection Creator Biography:

Edge, Walter E. (Walter Evans), 1873-1956

Walter Evans Edge (1873-1956) was a notable New Jersey businessman and politician. He was elected to serve New Jersey as Governor (1917-1919, 1944-1947) and as a United States Senator (1919-1929). Edge was born in Philadelphia on November 20, 1873 but moved at a young age to New Jersey. Edge's parents passed away shortly thereafter and he was forced to find gainful employment at age 17. His first job at a printing office in Atlantic City involved working as a "printer's devil;" from there, he moved onto advertising, with Dorland Advertising Agency in Atlantic City. The firm started small but grew quickly while promoting local resorts and attractions. Edge rapidly rose through the ranks, ultimately gaining control of the agency and expanding it internationally. Having gained financial independence, Edge moved into politics; his first political position was journal clerk of the New Jersey State Senate. Edge quickly moved up the ranks of the Republican Party and in 1901, was appointed Secretary of the State Senate. He served as a delegate from New Jersey at the 1908 Republican National Convention.

Edge first held office in 1909, when he was elected to the lower house of the New Jersey State Legislature. He was elected to State Senate in 1910, eventually becoming majority leader in 1912 and president in 1915. Edge was elected to his first term as Governor of New Jersey in 1916. Edge completed his quick ascent up the ranks of the Republican Party when he was elected to represent New Jersey as U. S. Senator in 1918. While in office, Edge supported the repeal of prohibition, the creation of the Port Authority of New York and the building of the Holland Tunnel; he also championed increased international trade and supported various Republican nominees for President, including Warren Harding and Herbert Hoover.

Edge resigned from the Senate in 1929 after Hebert Hoover appointed him Ambassador to France. He resigned from the ambassadorship in 1933 and spent the remained of the 1930s enjoying a temporary retirement. He traveled to Europe and purchased Sunny Hill Plantation, a hunting retreat in Georgia. Though retired, Edge remained active in Republican Party affairs, including campaigning for Wendell Willkie in 1940. Edge was ultimately motivated to return to public office after the onset or World War II. He again ran for Governor of New Jersey and was elected in 1943. Among Edge's accomplishments during his second term were revisions to the State constitution. Edge retired for the second time in 1947 after the completion of his second term. He was an active Republican for the remainder of his life, and was one of the first politicians to support Dwight Eisenhower's presidential campaign.

Edge married Lady Lee Phillips in 1907. They had one child, Walter, Jr., together before Mrs. Edge passed away in 1915. Edge remarried, wedding Camilla Sewall in 1922. They had two daughters and a son together. Edge died on October 29, 1956.

Collection History


The collection was acquired by the Special Collections on November 20, 1979 ; no additional information is available.


Various books, stock receipts, and galley proofs of Edge's autobiographical work, A Jerseyman's Journal, have been separated from the collection.


These papers were processed with an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Casey Babcock in November 2007. Finding aid written by Casey Babcock in November 2007.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Walter E. Edge Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-26

Find More

Related Materials

Other material at the Mudd Manuscript Library relating to Walter E. Edge can be found in the H. Alexander Smith Papers (MC120), the Faculty Off-Prints Collection (AC121), and Edge's faculty file, part of the University Archives Collection. Additional Edge correspondence can be found in the James M. Beck Papers (MC007).


Material within Walter E. Edge's faculty file, part of the University Archives Collection, and A Jerseyman's Journal: The Autobiography of a Businessman, Governor, Diplomat (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1948) was consulted during the preparation of this finding aid.

Subject Terms:
Historians -- New Jersey -- Princeton -- 20th century -- Correspondence.
Genre Terms:
Political cartoons.
Republican Party (N.J.)
Morven (Princeton N.J. : Estate)
Edge, Camilla Sewall, 1902-1984.
Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel) (1865-1923)
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
Teagle, Walter C. (Walter Clark), 1878-1962
New Jersey -- History.
New Jersey -- Governors -- 20th century.
New Jersey -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950.
United States -- Ambassadors -- France.