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November Collection of the Month: Chauncey M. Depew Papers, 1856-1934

Chauncey Depew, 1908  (Library of Congress)Have you heard of this 19th century orator, senator, lawyer, and railroad mogul? The Chauncey M. Depew papers are a hidden gem here at Special Collections, received by the university back in 1929 when Depew’s widow also endowed the professorship here that still bears his name.

Depew first gained fame as an orator while campaigning for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Over the course of his career he was Secretary of State, counsel for and then president of the New York Central Railroad, then chairman of the board of directors of the Vanderbilt system of railroads, and ultimately a U.S. Senator from New York.

This collection contains fifty boxes of material documenting Depew's career in public speaking from approximately 1880-1920. It features handwritten and typescript speeches and notes, in addition to scrapbooks, memorial books, clippings, and photographs, as well as correspondence with such luminaries as Mark Twain, Harry Houdini, John D. Rockefeller, William Vanderbilt, and many U.S. Presidents. Come take a look at this collection to see what this turn-of-the-century VIP was writing and speaking about in his time.

Please browse the finding aid for the Chauncey M. Depew Papers here: http://library.gwu.edu/ead/ms2095.xml

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