University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Timothy Lester Woodruff Papers 1897-1909

© 2006 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Woodruff, Timothy Lester. Papers




0.5 linear feet (1 box)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Timothy Lester Woodruff (1858-1913), Republican politician. Lieutenant Governor of New York, 1896-1902. Contains correspondence and a speech. Material deals primarily with campaigns, patronage, and other political issues, some with references to Theodore Roosevelt and Lemuel Quigg. Correspondents include Thomas Platt, Frank S. Black, John D. Rockefeller, James Sherman, and James Wadsworth.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.

Digital Images

Original documents, texts, and images represented by digital images linked to this finding aid are subject to U. S. copyright law. It is the user's sole responsibility to secure any necessary copyright permission to reproduce or publish documents, texts, and images from any holders of rights in the original materials.

The University of Chicago Library, in its capacity as owner of the physical property represented by the digital images linked to this finding aid, encourages the use of these materials for educational and scholarly purposes. Any reproduction or publication from these digital images requires that the following credit line be included: Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

The images presented here may include materials reflecting the attitudes, language, and stereotypes of an earlier time period. These materials are presented as historical resources in support of study and research. Inclusion of such materials does not constitute an endorsement of their content by the University of Chicago.

The University of Chicago Library appreciates hearing from anyone who may have information about any of the images in this collection.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Woodruff, Timothy Lester. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Timothy Lester Woodruff (1858-1913), a New York Republican politician, was Lieutenant Governor of the state for three successive terms, from 1896 to 1902. He was political leader of Kings County (Brooklyn) and made it the chief stronghold of the Republican Party in the New York metropolitan area. In 1896, he was elected Lieutenant Governor, with Frank Swett Black as Governor. In 1900 Woodruff was a contender for the vice-presidential nomination. It ended up being given to Theodore Roosevelt, then Governor of New York. In 1906 Woodruff became chairman of the executive committee of the New York Republican State Committee. Woodruff supported Roosevelt in 1912 and was active in the Progressive Party.

Scope Note

The collection is made up of twenty-eight items, mostly letters to Woodruff from various political figures. The papers are divided into six main sections. The first contains two letters from Thomas-Boss-Platt, 1897, 1898, concerning patronage. Reference is made to Lemuel Quigg, a portion of whose correspondence with Theodore Roosevelt is in the Library collection.

The second section contains six letters written in 1898, four to Woodruff from Governor Frank S. Black, one a copy of a Woodruff letter to Black, and the sixth a letter to Woodruff from one of his political lieutenants, Harry Bates. The letters concern Black's attempt to gain re-nomination as Republican gubernatorial candidate against Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodruff's participation in this struggle, apparently as a Black supporter, though Woodruff was later nominated for Lieutenant Governor with Roosevelt. Again the influence of Quigg is mentioned.

The third section contains three letters between John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and Woodruff. One, dated 1901, concerns personal matters, and the others, 1907, 1908, concern Rockefeller's campaign contributions. One of these letters returns a check for $5000 to Rockefeller since it was not needed for the campaign.

The fourth section contains three letters from James S. Sherman, Republican Congressman from New York and Vice-President of the United States under William H. Taft. The letters concern routine matters of the campaign of 1908, such as campaign funds and speaking engagements.

The fifth section contains three letters from James W. Wadsworth, Jr., then speaker of the New York State Assembly, later U.S. representative and senator. The letters, dated July, August 1909, deal with local New York politics, one extensively.

The sixth group contains miscellaneous documents and letters concerning New York politics. A letter (from George J. Smith, Republican State Treasurer to Woodruff) comments on a talk with President Roosevelt about the New York gubernatorial race in 1908. There is also one letter from Charles F. Murphy to Woodruff dated 1909, a speech or article about Woodruff entitled “The Successor and Heir of Roosevelt,” and 7 cancelled checks signed by Smith and one cancelled note all apparently concerning the campaign of 1908.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


Strauss collection of Theodore Roosevelt papers

Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1


View digitized documents.

  • Thomas Collier Platt to TLW, TLS, January 4, 1897, 1 p
  • Thomas Collier Platt to TLW, TLS, January 25, 1898, 1 p
Box 1   Folder 2


View digitized documents.

  • Frank Black to TLW, TLS, August 3, 1898, 5 pp
  • Frank Black to TLW, TLS, August 23, 1898, 3 pp
  • Frank Black to TLW, TLS, September 16, 1898, 3 pp
  • TLW to Frank S. Black, TL, September 17, 1898, 6 pp (copy)
  • Harry Bates to TLW, TLS, September 20, 1898, 4 pp
  • Frank S. Black to TLW, TL, September 21, 1898, 3 pp
Box 1   Folder 3


View digitized documents.

  • John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to TLW, ALS, August 21, 1901, 1 p
  • TLW to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., TL, April 15, 1907, 2 pp
  • TLW to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., ALS, November 2, 1908, 1 p
Box 1   Folder 4


View digitized documents.

  • James S. Sherman to TLW, TLS, August 10, 1908, 2 pp
  • James S. Sherman to TLW, TLS, August 12, 1908, 2 pp
  • James S. Sherman to TLW, ALS, November 1(?), 2 pp
Box 1   Folder 5


View digitized documents.

  • James W. Wadsworth, Jr. to TLW, ALS, July 20, 1909, 5 pp
  • James W. Wadsworth, Jr. to TLW, ALS, July 25, 1909, 1 p
  • James W. Wadsworth, Jr. to TLW, ALS, August 14, 1909, 1 p
Box 1   Folder 6


View digitized documents.

  • George J. Smith to TLW, TLS, August 19, 1908, 2 pp
  • 1 loan form for $5,000, ADS, August 25, 1908, 1 p signed George J. Smith
  • Cancelled checks signed George J. Smith, ADS, October 14 - 27, 1908
Box 1   Folder 7

Charles F. Murphy to TLW, TLS, August 4, 1908, 2 pp

View digitized documents.

Box 1   Folder 8

Speech, "The Successor and Heir of Roosevelt," AD (1900), 8 pp

View digitized documents.