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Politics and Government: Resources

Executive Branch

The listing below describes political material relating to individuals who served as local, state, or federal executive officers (e.g. mayors, governors, and presidents), as well as individuals who served in executive departments (e.g. cabinet members).

Links on the list take two forms: highlighted entries not accompanied by descriptive text lead to an entry elsewhere within the Politics and Government Guide; highlighted collection titles accompanied by descriptive text lead to a guide that details the contents of those collections.

[Click here for a list of Bowdoin alumni who have served in the federal government.]

Presidents -- United States

M148 - Franklin Pierce Collection, 1823-1869. 0.25 linear feet.

Pierce (1804-1869, Bowdoin 1824), a New Hampshire lawyer, entered politics in 1829 as a member of the New Hampshire state legislature and served as its Speaker (1831-1832). He was elected to Congress as a Jacksonian Democrat, serving in the House (1833-1837) and the Senate (1837-1842). Pierce returned to private practice in his home state (1842-1852), but continued to be active in politics by managing state democratic campaigns (1842-1847) and supporting the Compromise of 1850. In 1852 Pierce was selected by an otherwise deadlocked convention as the Democratic candidate for president, and won all but four states in the election. During his presidency (1853-1857) Pierce worked to acquire new territories, including the successful Gadsden Purchase and the unsuccessful attempt to annex Cuba; and to calm rising tempers in Kansas. He retired from public life in 1857.

The small collection of 31 letters (1837-1869 and undated), documents (1854-1857), and essays (1823-1824), include many letters from Pierce to his friend Horatio Bridge, or from his wife, Jane A. Pierce, to her sister, Frances A. Packard. More than one-third of the collection is from his presidential term.

Cabinet Members and Other Officials

M59 - Fessenden Papers, 1786-1982 (bulk 1823-1869).

M95 - Hubbard Family Papers, 1789-1934 (bulk 1831-1917).

M129 - Clara Hawkins Mellen Papers, 1774-1968: William P. Mellen correspondence, 1856-1880 (bulk 1861-1873). 0.25 linear feet

This series, part of a larger collection, centers on the correspondence of William P. Mellen (1814-1873), supervising agent of the Treasury Department and a Special Agent of the Post Office Department, stationed in Cincinnati. Principal among his correspondents was Salmon Portland Chase (1803-1873), first secretary of the Treasury under Lincoln and chief justice of the United States.

The correspondence between Mellen and Chase is mostly from Chase's years in the Lincoln cabinet and deals largely with Treasury Department business, much of it related to the waging of the Civil War and the activities of the department agents in the Mississippi Valley.

M115 - William E. Lunt Papers, 1918-1926 (bulk 1918-1819).

Governors -- Maine

M167 - Samuel E. Smith Papers, 1786-1880 (bulk 1822-1860). 0.5 linear feet.

Smith (1788-1860, Bowdoin boards) was admitted to the bar in 1812 and practiced in Wiscasset, Maine. He was a member of the Massachusetts General Court (1819) and, after the separation of Maine and Massachusetts, of the Maine Legislature (1820-1821). He served as chief justice of the original Court of Common Pleas of the Second District (1821), and after a reorganization of the court system, associate justice of the Maine Supreme Court (1822-1830). During three terms as governor (1832-1834), Smith oversaw the move of the capital from Portland to Augusta, and participated in the negotiations with New Brunswick and Great Britain over the location of the northeast boundary of the United States. Smith was later re-appointed to the Court of Common Pleas (1835) and served until his retirement in 1837.

The collection contains letters (1810-1880 and undated), documents (1786-1880), financial records (1830-1870?), and ephemeral material. The letters include many relating to the northeast boundary controversy.

M95 - Hubbard Family Papers, 1789-1934 (bulk 1831-1917). 22 linear feet.

John Hubbard (1794-1869) and his son, Thomas Hamlin Hubbard (1838-1915, Bowdoin 1860), are the central figures of this collection which also includes material relating to other members of the family. Although Thomas was interested in politics, his father, John, was the principal political figure in the family. A physician with a practice in Hallowell, John Hubbard served as a Democratic governor of Maine (1850-1853), as special agent for the U.S. Treasury examining New England customs houses (1857-1859), and as U.S. commissioner negotiating the Reciprocity Treaty with Great Britain (1859-1861).

Among the correspondence, diaries and journals, account books, student notes and teacher records, business records, addresses, etc., is material relating to John Hubbard's political career. It includes letters to and from his family, his political colleagues, and individuals such as President James Buchanan, Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb, Maine governors Robert P. Dunlap, Anson P. Morrill, Lot M. Morrill and Samuel E. Smith, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, and railroad official John Alfred Poor. There are also private and business account books, early records of the Maine Democratic Party, records relating to the negotiation of the Reciprocity Treaty, and other relevant materials.

M200 - Ralph Owen Brewster Papers, 1909-1962.

Governors -- Massachusetts

M15 - Bowdoin Collection, 1687-1996 (bulk 1687-1848). 3.75 linear feet.

This colonial and early American family's collection includes several items relating to Governor James Bowdoin of Massachusetts. Bowdoin, a member of the Massachusetts Council, was appointed to lead the Massachusetts delegation to the Continental Congress, but failed to attend because of ill health, was a president of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, and was the second governor of the Commonwealth (1785-1787), serving during Shays' Rebellion. He was an avid amateur scientist, and the author of several tracts, including A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston ...

The collection contains correspondence, documents, wills and their drafts, etc. (1687-1996). About 30 items (1750-1787) relate to James Bowdoin II and his gubernatorial term, including a message "to the Chiefs, Sachems, and Young Men of the different Tribes of Indians …", August 23, 1780; several appointments; and a warrant for the arrest of Daniel Shays and others, January 19, 1787.

Mayors -- Portland, Maine

M50 - Neal Dow Papers, 1852-1887 (bulk 1852-59).

Mayors -- Cleveland, Ohio

M24 - Harold Hitz Burton Papers, 1927-1965.