Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Hardy Family
Lyons, Maurice F. and McCombs, William F.
Collection on William F. McCombs
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1910-1948 (mostly 1912-1921)
9 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-9


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.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Collection on William F. McCombs contains materials on and by William F. McCombs. It consists of typescripts of correspondence and notes by William F. McCombs regarding Woodrow Wilson's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns, provided to Arthur S. Link, editor of The Papers of Woodrow Wilson by Maurice F. Lyons (correspondence between Lyons and Link concerning the transcripts is also included). Additionally, the collection is comprised of volumes of newspaper clippings also relating to Woodrow Wilson's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns and administrations. The volumes were created by McComb's sister, Corinne Hardy.

The collection includes Maurice F. Lyons' typed notes on William F. McCombs, campaign contributors, and remembrances of others such as William G. McAdoo, Colonel Edward M. House, and Joseph P. Tumulty. Transcripts of correspondence include letters from McCombs to Wilson and McAdoo relating to the presidential campaign and administration of Wilson, 1911-1917, letters relating to Lyons and President Charles Seymour of Yale University regarding a review of Arthur S. Link's book on Wilson and the relationships of McCombs, McAdoo, House, and others (published in the Virginia Quarterly October 29, 1947), and correspondence to and from Josephus Daniels and Lyons relating to a the controversy over McCombs advising Wilson to withdraw from the presidential race at Baltimore. Lyons's original correspondence to Link is interspersed throughout the collection. Also included is a typed copy of Governor Wilson's address at the Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C., January 8, 1912 by Lyons (who was the only reporter present at the time) and a preliminary report of Rolla Wells, Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee dated October 24, 1912, Additionally, the collection includes cartoons relating to Woodrow Wilson and the Democratic Party, as well as photographs and negatives of the Democratic National Convention, Woodrow Wilson, William F. McCombs, William J. Bryan, William R. Hearst, James R. Nugent, James Smith, Jr., Colonel E. M. House and Champ Clark.

Volumes of newspaper clippings from 1912-1921 regarding the Wilson campaigns and administrations are also included in the collection.


Series 1 is arranged alphabetically by subject. Series 2 is arranged chronologically.

Collection Creator Biography:

Biography of the Hardy Family

William F. McCombs's sister, Corinne, married Moses Wilson Hardy in 1913 in Arkansas. Their son, Willaim McCombs Hardy, graduated from Princeton in 1938 as a geology major. He worked as a consulting geologist, founding his own firm in 1955.

Lyons, Maurice F.

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).

McCombs, William F.

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.

Collection History


The material that comprises Box 1 of this collection was placed on deposit in the Special Collections unit of Firestone Library (Deposit #9239) and was given by Arthur S. Link on April 27, 1992 . An additional gift of McCombs scrapbooks was made in 2004 by William McCombs Hardy '38 and his son, Mosley Hardy (accession number ML.2004.018).


No materials were separated from Series 2.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jean Holliday in April 1992. Finding aid written by Jean Holliday in April 1992. Finding aid updated by Jennifer Cole in May 2007 and by Rachel Van Unen in 2014.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

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:

Collection on William F. McCombs; 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 1-9

Find More

Related Materials

Researchers interested in William F. McComb may also wish to consult the Woodrow Wilson Collection (MC168) (See Box 60, Folders 1-7, relating to William F. McComb's shorthand notes, diaries and notebooks in connection with the 1911-1912 Presidential campaign). The Mudd Library also holds the Undergraduate Alumni files of William F. McCombs.

This collection is part of a group of over 20 collections held at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library related to Woodrow Wilson, which can be located by searching for the subject "Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924" on the Princeton Finding Aids website or in the Princeton Library Main Catalog.

Please see Woodrow Wilson: A Guide to Selected Resources in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library for more particulars.

Subject Terms:
Campaign literature, 1912 -- Democratic.
Political campaigns -- United States -- 20th century.
Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1912.
Genre Terms:
Democratic National Committee U.S.
Democratic National Convention (1912 : Baltimore, Md.)
House, Edward Mandell, 1858-1938
McAdoo, W. G. (William Gibbs), 1863-1941
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.