Thomas H. Robinson Papers, 1877-1930, MS 1473

Thomas H. Robinson Papers, 1877-1930


Maryland Historical Society
 

  

(Text converted and initial EAD tagging provided by Apex Data Services, March 1999.)
 

Thomas H. Robinson Papers, 1877-1930
Maryland Historical Society

Contact Information:
Manuscripts Department
Maryland Historical Society Library
201 West Monument Street
Baltimore MD 21201-4674
410.685.3750
Fax: 410.385.2105
library@mdhs.org
www.mdhs.org

 


Descriptive Summary

Register of the Thomas H. Robinson Papers, 1877-1930

MS 1473

Maryland Historical Society

Baltimore MD 21201-4674

by

William G. LeFurgy

 


Biographical Note

Thomas Hall Robinson was born on a farm in Harford County, Maryland in 1860. Son of Dr. Samuel S. and Mary E. (Prigg) Robinson, the young Robinson grew up in a well-to-do Catholic household. His education was received from the county's public schools and from private tutors.

In 1884, two years after his admission to the Bar, Robinson became a member of the Daniel Scott and Henry D. Farnandis Law Firm in the Harford County town of Bel Air. Here he assumed responsibility for a general load of legal casework. Evincing an interest in politics, Robinson successfully ran for the State Senate in 1891 on the Democratic ticket. Despite his avid desire to remain in the Senate, Robinson lost his re-election bid in 1893.

Robinson had a marked ability to make crucial political contacts while assuming numerous and influential responsibilities in the Democratic organization. He rapidly became a power in Harford County Democratic politics, eventually becoming party boss. He developed direct connections with members of the State Democratic hierarchy such as Murray Vandiver, Spencer C. Jones, Stevenson A. Williams, Lloyd Wilkinson, John Walter Smith and Fred C. Talbott. With these connections, Robinson became arbiter for all aspects of the party in Harford County, including the dispensation of patronage.

Robinson regained his State Senate seat in the 1901 elections. Firmly entrenched in Harford County, he held onto this office for several terms. In 1923 and again in 1927 Robinson was elected as Attorney General of Maryland. He died in the midst of campaigning for a third term in 1930.

The singlemost remarkable attribute Robinson possessed was his capacity for being deeply involved in a number of pursuits concurrently. In addition to his duties as an elected official, Robinson was also long-time President of the Second National Bank of Bel Air as well as five-time delegate to the Democratic

National Convention (He was Chairman of the Maryland delegation in 1920 and in 1924.) His law practice was busy at all times, dealing mostly with civil and corporate disputes. The emphasis on corporate law was probably a direct result of Robinson's position as Counsel for several large businesses such as the Pennsylvania Railroad. In addition to these responsibilities, Robinson was also active in the support of the Conrad Sanitarium and the Female House of Refuge.

 


Scope and Content

This collection consists primarily of Thomas H. Robinson's correspondence, both incoming and outgoing. The nature of the correspondence is directly related to Robinson's political involvement as a State Senator, Attorney General, and Harford County Democratic Party leader. Robinson's legal practice is also well represented. Other materials include a variety of papers associated with legal cases handled by Robinson along with a number of his personal accounts, bills and receipts. Most of the items in the collection are dated from 1890 to 1924, a period covering most of Robinson's political and legal activities.

The numerous letters detailing political strategy on both the local and state levels are a clear strength of this collection. Workings of the Democratic State Central Committee, especially as it related to Harford County, are well illustrated. Letters exchanged by Robinson with Democratic leaders such as A.P. Gorman, Charles J. Bonaparte, John Walter Smith, Albert C. Ritchie, Murray Vandiver and Stevenson A. Williams deal with topics such as political patronage, campaign issues, fund raising activities and general electioneering.

The one major gap in the collection is the period Robinson served as Maryland Attorney General. What material does exist between 1925 and 1930 concerns general political matters and does not give much information as to Robinson's official activities. These files no doubt were kept separately from those comprising this collection.

Robinson's correspondence also reflects an extensive legal pracice dealing primarily with civil and corporate suits. Content of these letters usually relate to details and particulars of specific cases, of which there are many. Often, correspondence is associated with the group of legal papers contained in the collection.

Much of Robinson's legal work from about 1893 to 1924 was related to his position as the local Counsel for the Pennsylvania Railroad and its affiliates such as the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. Many letters were exchanged with the chief legal personnel of the railroad discussing elements and strategies of pending civil suits. Standard communications regarding Company policy and administrative details are also included.

Robinson also did much legal work for other concerns such as the Havre de Grace and Perryville Bridge Company, the Conowingo Bridge Company, the Maryland Shell Fish Commission and the town of Havre de Grace. Large amounts of correspondence were generated from his extensive activities on the behalf of these clients. Largely dealing with the particulars of active suits, this correspondence reveals a great deal about the legal, social, and political problems faced by early 20th Century institutions in Maryland.

Personal and family items are rare in this collection. Small groups of letters to Robinson from his daughter Madeline and son Thomas, Jr. are included, but other family connections are difficult to locate. Personal items are for the most part confined to accounts, bills and receipts.

 


Introduction

The Thomas H. Robinson Papers span the years 1877 to 1930 with the bulk of the material falling into the period 1890 to 1924. Filling 28 boxes, the collection contains an estimated 15,000 items. No restrictions are imposed upon the papers.

It can be assumed most of this material was similarly kept and used as it is now arranged. The particulars of the Maryland Historical Society's acquisition of the collection, however, are not known.

 


Series Description

THOMAS H. ROBINSON, INCOMING CORRESPONDENCE

1884 - 1930,

9½ boxes

 

Arranged chronologically by year.

Letters sent to Robinson discussing political and legal activities. Subjects include Robinson's campaigns for the State Senate and for Attorney General; state and local Democratic party strategies; legal case work, especially in regard to the Pennsylvania Railroad. Those writing most frequently include: Herman Stump, Charles F. Bonaparte, Daniel Scott, Henry D. Farnondis, Murray Vandiver, John Z. Bayless, James P. Gorter, G. S. Hawkins, Spencer C. Jones, Rep. J. Fred C. Talbott, Stevenson A Williams, John Walter Smith, Samuel Bradford, Benjamin W. Carskadden, W. J. Harwood, C.A. Macatee, Stacey B. Lloyd, T. Scott Offutt, A.P. Gorman, Francis J.Gowen, Father James P. Fitzgerald, Walter Dulany and Co., The Front Royal and Riverton Improvement Co., James A. Logan, John S. Wirt, Marion De K. Smith, C.C. Pusey, William S. Bryan, A. Freeborn Brown, W. Calvin Chestnut, Millrd E. Tydings, Rep. Canville Benson, Samuel K. Dennis, James J. Archer, John E. Semmes, John M. Dennis, Thomas F. Cadwalader, F. Howard Warfield, J.H.C. Watts, H.P. Blair, and John J. Donaldson.

 


Outgoing Correspondence

THOMAS H. ROBINSON, OUTGOING CORRESPONDENCE (Letterpress copies)

1895 - 1919

12 boxes

 

(3 volumes missing: Aug 16, 1902 to Mar 6, 1903; Jun 10, 1904 to Jan 14, 1905 Feb 2, 1910 to Aug 28, 1910)

 

Arranged chronologically by day, bound into volumes,

Copies of Robinson's letters to political and legal associates and to his law practice clients. Those written to most frequently include: James J. Archer,

George R. Allen, A.J. Bradly, H.P. Blair, John Blakely, R.W. Baldwin, W.R. Barnard, Charles P. Bentley, W.N. Bannard, Henry Bikle, James A. Logan, Messrs. John and C.W. Sparhawk, J.H.C. Watts, John S. Wirt, members of the Farnandis family, M.A. Prigg, Murray Vandiver, James S. Calwell, Benjamin W. Carskadden, Francis J. Gowen, Herman W. Hansen, Frank W. Hunt, George V. Massey, John R. Ramsay, Elmer J. Cook, Bernard Carter, Henry Flottemesch, James H. Harlow, Stacy B. Lloyd, William Middendorf and Co., T. Scott Offutt, F. Howard Warfield, William F. Coale, Arthur O. Fording, P.B. Prince, W.A. Hulshart, A. Freeborn Brown, Alfred Edge, C.C. Mahoney, Richard A. Maloney, Lloyd D. Reynolds, Joseph C. France, W. Calvin Chesnut, and George M. [UNK] George R.E. Gilchrist, Wilfred C. Roszel, Lt. Col. John S. Dean, Harry B. Wolf.

 


Scope and Content

 

THOMAS H. ROBINSON, LEGAL PAPERS

ca. 1880 - 1930,

4½ boxes

 

Arrangement by Case Title

Materials relating to Robinson's legal casework. Includes legal briefs, writs, warrents, notes, some items of correspondence, statements, affadavits, deeds, and other related items. The series is divided into two parts: large groups of related legal papers that have been identified and pulled together under the case title and a body of unseparated material labelled Legal Papers. Both groups deal heavily with civil and corporate law, especially with respect to cases involving the Pennsulvania Railroad and its affiliates.

 

 

 

THOMAS H. ROBINSON, ACCOUNTS, BILLS and RECEIPTS

ca. 1880 - 1930,

2 boxes

 

No arrangement.

Personal and some business accounts, bills and receipts of Robinson. Includes items relating to liquor, food, clothing and sundries purchased. Also a number of bills for legal services performed by Robinson.

 


Container List

Box 1

Thomas H. Robinson, Incoming Correspondence, 1884-1891

 

 

 

Box 2

Thomas H. Robinson, Incoming Correspondence, 1892-1897

 

 

 

Box 3

Thomas H. Robinson, Incoming Correspondence, 1898-1901

 

 

 

Box 4

Thomas H. Robinson, Incoming Correspondence, 1902-1904

 

 

 

Box 5

Thomas H. Robinson, Incoming Correspondence, 1904-1907

 

 

 

Box 6

Thomas H. Robinson, Incoming Correspondence, 1907-1910

 

 

 

Box 7

Thomas H. Robinson, Incoming Correspondence, 1911-1915

 

 

 

Box 8

Thomas H. Robinson, Incoming Correspondence, 1916-1918

 

 

 

Box 9

Thomas H. Robinson, Incoming Correspondence, 1919-1923

 

 

 

Box 10

Thomas H. Robinson, Incoming Correspondence, 1924-1930

 

 

 

Thomas H. Robinson, Correspondence From Madeleine Robinson, 1904

 

 

 

Thomas H. Robinson, Correspondence From Thomas H. Robinson Jr., 1908-1918

 

 

 

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence, 1902-1926

 

 

 

Box 11

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1895-1899

 

 

 

Box 12

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1899-1901

 

 

 

Box 13

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1901-1903

 

 

 

Box 14

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1903-1906

 

 

 

Box 15

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1906-1907

 

 

 

Box 16

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1907-1909

 

 

 

Box 17

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1909-1911

 

 

 

Box 18

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1911-1913

 

 

 

Box 19

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1913-1915

 

 

 

Box 20

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1915-1917

 

 

 

Box 21

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1917-1918

 

 

 

Box 22

Thomas H. Robinson, Outgoing Correspondence--Letterpress Copies, 1918-1919

 

 

 

Thomas H. Robinson, Check Books, 1899-1905

 

 

 

Thomas H. Robinson, Cash Book, 1898

 

 

 

Thomas H. Robinson, Bank Book, 1886

 

 

 

Thomas H. Robinson, Business Diaries, 1888-1899

 

 

 

Thomas H. Robinson, Credit Balances, 1899

 

 

 

Sadtler and Son, Day Book, 1877

 

 

 

Box 23

Circular Letters and Announcements, ca. 1890-1930

 

 

 

Estate of Joseph E. Robinson, 1890-1891

 

 

 

J. Winslow Jones Co. vs Martha Rutledge, 1891

 

 

 

Roberts, et al. vs Cook, Executor of John W. Billingslea Will, 1891

 

 

 

Estate of John R. Ramsay, 1891

 

 

 

Baltimore and Lehigh Railroad--Claims Due Labor, 1892-1894

 

 

 

John N. Spencer vs Michael Blumenthal, et al., 1892-1901

 

 

 

Thomas G. Forwood and Co., Receivership Papers, 1896

 

 

 

Estate of Mrs. S.S. Silver, 1896-1897

 

 

 

Daniel Scott vs William Barnes, 1898

 

 

 

Box 24

Pontier vs the Philadelphia, Wilimington and Baltimore Railroad Co., 1898

 

 

 

Henry Flottewesch and Son vs the B and O Railroad Co., 1900

 

 

 

Richardson vs Smith, Rouse and Webster, ca. 1900-1903

 

 

 

Gleason vs Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Co., 1903-1904

 

 

 

The Old Town Bank of Baltimore vs Joseph W. Archer, 1905

 

 

 

The Plano Manufacturing Co. vs Charles A. Devoe, et al., 1905-1907

 

 

 

United States vs George W. Hulshart, 1914

 

 

 

Box 25

Thomas H. Robinson, Legal Papers, ca. 1880-1930

 

 

 

Box 26

Thomas H. Robinson, Legal Papers, ca. 1880-1930

 

 

 

Thomas H. Robinson, Accounts, Bills, and Receipts, ca. 1880-1930

 

 

 

Box 27

Thomas H. Robinson, Accounts, Bills, and Receipts, ca. 1880-1930

 

 

 

Box 28

Thomas H. Robinson, Accounts, Bills, and Receipts, ca. 1880-1930

 

 

 

Thomas H. Robinson, Appointment as a Director of the Female House of Refuge, 1892

 

 

 

Henry D. Farnadis, Legal Papers, 1829-1889

 

 

 

Harford Boat Club, ca. 1903-1905

 

 

 

Clippings, ca. 1884-1930

 

 

 

Envelopes, ca. 1884-1930

 


Index

Banks and Banking,

2

 

Bannard, W.N.,

7

 

Bayless, John Z.,

6

 

Bel Air, Harford Co. Md.,

2

 

Bikle, Henry,

7

 

Blair, H.P.,

6;

7

 

 

Brown, A. Freeborn,

6;

7

 

 

Calwell, James S.,

7

 

Carskaddon, Benjamin W.,

6;

7

 

 

Carter, Bernard,

7

 

Chesnut, W. Calvin,

6;

7

 

 

Conowingo Bridge Co.,

5

 

Conrad Sanitarium,

3

 

Cook, Elmer J.,

7

 

Courts of Law,

6-7

 

Dean, Lt. Col. John S.,

7

 

Democratic Party,

2

 

Democratic State Central Committee,

4

 

Dulany, Walter and Co.,

6

 

Farnandis Family,

7

 

Female House of Refuge,

3;

10

 

 

Flottesmesch, Henry,

7;

9

 

 

Front Royal and Riverton Improvement Co.,

6

 

Gorman, A.P.,

4;

6

 

 

Gowan, Francis J.,

7

 

Harford Co., Md.--Politics,

2-4;

6

 

 

Harford Co., Md.,

2

 

Harlow, James H.,

6;

7

 

 

Havre de Grace, Md.--Legal Affairs,

5

 

Havre de Grace and Perryville Bridge Co.,

5

 

Hawkins, G.S.,

6

 

Hunt, Frank W.,

7

 

Jones, Spencer C.,

6;

7

 

 

Lawyers,

2-4;

6

 

 

Lloyd, Stacey B.,

6;

7

 

 

Logan, James A.,

6;

7

 

 

Maryland Shell Fish Commission,

5

 

Offutt, T. Scott,

6;

7

 

 

Pennsylvania Railroad,

3;

5;

7

 

 

Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad,

5;

9

 

 

Politics--Md.,

2;

4

 

 

Pusey, C.C.,

6

 

Railroads--Legal Affairs,

3;

5;

7;

9

 

 

Ramsay, John R.,

7;

9

 

 

Robinson, Mandeline,

5

 

Robinson, Thomas Jr.,

5

 

Second National Bank of Bel Air,

2

 

Smith, John Walter,

2;

4;

6

 

 

Sparhawk, Messrs. John and C. W.,

7

 

Stump, Herman,

6

 

Talbott, J. Fred. C.,

2;

6

 

 

Upshur, George M.,

7

 

Vandiver, Murray,

2;

4;

6;

7

 

 

Watts, J.H.C.,

7

 

Williams, Stevenson A.,

2;

4;

6

 

 

Wolf, Harry B.,

7

 

 

 

 

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