Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

William McMurtrie Speer papers, 1880-1936

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1183
Bib ID 4079809 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Speer, William McMurtrie, 1865-1923
Title William McMurtrie Speer papers, 1880-1936
Physical Description 17 linear feet (34 boxes 3 oversize volumes 1 oversize folder)
Language(s) English .
Access

The following boxes are located off-site: Boxes 2-34. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

Selected materials cataloged; remainder arranged chronologically within professional categories. Box 1-2: 1888-1936, Cataloged correspondence & Misc.; Box 3-14: 1884-1923, Journalist & Publisher; Box 15-24: 1889-1921, Public Official & Political Appointee; Box 25-29: 1890-1923, Attorney in Private Practice; Box 30-34: 1891-1923, Inventor, Promoter & Businessman.

Description

Summary

Correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, contracts, legal briefs, patents, and other documents, music scores, cartoons, technical drawings, account books, blueprints, photographs, clippings, printed legal briefs & transcripts, proofs, scrapbooks, and other printed materials of William M. Speer.

There are 14 manuscript boxes & 3 oversize volumes concerning his work as a journalist & publisher. Speer was the Albany correspondent for "The Sun" from 1884 until 1893. From 1893 to 1896 he was editor and part owner of "The Argus" in Albany and there are business records from this period. There is a scrapbook of his articles for "The Buffalo Express" for the period from 1896 until 1903. In 1896 he founded The Law Press as a commercial printer for lawyers, and The Cornucopia Company to publish music and a literary periodical. From 1904 to 1909, he was editorial and legislative writer for the "Evening World" in New York City and there are files of his correspondence, editorial writing, and his investigations of the insurance industry and the Panama Canal libel suit. From 1903 until 1922, he contributed to periodicals and wrote books and pamphlets on many subjects. Starting in 1919, he worked on a scenario and publicity for the Fox Film Corporation's film on wounded veterans of the war. In 1922, he became an editorial writer for "The Evening Mail".

There are 10 boxes of material covering his activities as a public official and political appointee. In 1889, he was Secretary of the Johnstown Flood Committee; in 1889 and 1890, Secretary to The Committee for The International Exposition of 1892; in 1890, Secretary to Mayor of New York City Hugh J. Grant; in 1894, Delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention. In 1910, he was appointed Special Counsel to New York City for the Ashokan Reservoir Compensation Claims, advising the city on landowners' claims in Ulster County. In 1912 and 1913, he was Special Counsel for the Aldermanic Police Investigation in New York City during the anticorruption drive of Mayor William J. Gaynor. In 1920, he became a Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States to investigate profiteering in the coal industry.

There are 5 boxes of case files from his private legal practice for the period 1890 to 1923.

And there are 4 boxes of papers and an oversize folder of drawings concerning his interests as an inventor, promoter, and businessman. These are files about the Snow Melter (his device to clear city streets), his New York & Brooklyn Economic Power & Construction Company (for the transmission of electricity), The Pneumatic Co. (to manufacture stencil cutting machines), The Philippines Company (a shipping business), hinge making machines (patents and contracts for manufacturing), rack cutting apparatus, an old age pension plan (for the sale of annuities), the Food Committee (a planned co-operative purchasing company), Fabricated Concrete Corporation (which built, rented, and sold houses made of cinder block), Sunlight Gas Machine Co. (which sold equipment for gas lighting), timber mill and timber land sales (acting as an agent for selling land in the southern states), and public transit reorganization (his plan for improving the transportation system in New York City).

Among the cataloged correspondents are: Maxwell Anderson, Charles A. Dana, David B. Hill, Walter Hines Page, S.S. McClure, and Elihu Root.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

The following boxes are located off-site: Boxes 2-34. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); William McMurtrie Speer papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Ownership and Custodial History

Gift of Mrs Ann Satterthwaite, 1991.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers Processed HR 05/19/1992.

Revision Description

2020-10-16 EAD document created by CCR.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Abstracts (summaries) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Account books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Accounts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Agreements Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Announcements Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architectural drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Articles Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Articles of incorporation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Artifacts (object genre) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bankruptcy proceedings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bills (financial) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bills (legislative) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Biographies Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Briefs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brochures Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bylaws (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cartoons Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Case files Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Certificates Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Charts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Claims Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Commissions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Contour maps Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Contracts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Decisions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Depositions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diagrams Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Drafts (literary) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Essays Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fiction (general genre) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Galley proofs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Geologic maps Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Illustrations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Indictments Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Insurance Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Insurance policies Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Inventories Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Maps Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mechanical drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Patent drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Patents Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Patents Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photoengravings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Printing blocks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Proceedings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Proofs (printed matter) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Receipts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scores (documents for music) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scripts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sheet music Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Specifications Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Statistics Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stock certificates Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Surveys Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Tables Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Testimonials Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Testimony Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Topographic maps Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Writs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
blueprints (reprographic copies) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Actions and defenses Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Agriculture Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Anderson, Maxwell, 1888-1959 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Annuities Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ashokan Reservoir (N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bankruptcy Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brooklyn Edison Company, Inc Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Businessmen Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cinder blocks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Coal -- Transportation -- Law and legislation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Coal trade Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Comstock, Anthony, 1844-1915 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Concrete houses Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Consumer cooperatives Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cooperation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cornucopia Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dairy laws -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dana, Charles A (Charles Anderson), 1819-1897 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dana, Paul, 1852-1930 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Deeds Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Delaware and Eastern Railway Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dixie Transportation Co., Inc Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Douglass Barnes Corporation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Editors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Eminent domain -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Equitable Life Insurance Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fabricated Concrete Corporation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Floods -- Pennsylvania -- Johnstown (Cambria County) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Food Committee Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Food supply Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fox Film Corporation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gas-lighting Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gaynor, William Jay, 1849-1913 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Glynn, Martin Henry, 1871-1924 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Government attorneys Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Government litigation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Grant, Hugh John, 1855- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hill, David Bennett, 1843-1910 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hinges -- Manufacture Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Insurance companies -- Investigation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
International Exposition of 1892 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Inventions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Inventors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Johnstown Flood Committee Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Kingston (N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Laffan, William M Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Law Press Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lawyers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Libel and slander Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Local transit -- New York (State) -- New York -- Reorganization Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lord, Chester Sanders, 1850-1933 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lumber trade -- Southern States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Machinery Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McClure, S. S (Samuel Sidney), 1857-1949 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Music publishers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Music publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.). Board of Aldermen Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.). Board of City Record Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.). Department of Water Resources Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.). Law Department Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.). Office of the Mayor Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.). Police Department -- : Investigation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (State). Constitutional Convention (Date of meeting or treaty signing: (1894).) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York Mail and Newspaper Transportation Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York and Brooklyn Economic Power and Construction Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Newspaper publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
O'Connor, Joseph, 1841-1908 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Old age pensions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Page, Walter Hines, 1855-1918 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Panama Canal (Panama) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Philippines Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pneumatic Co Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Police corruption -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Precast concrete construction Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Printing -- Technological innovations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Promoters Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Public officers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pulitzer, Joseph, 1847-1911 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ralph, Julian, 1853-1903 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Real property Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Representation in administrative proceedings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Root, Elihu, 1845-1937 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sawmills -- Southern States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scrapbooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Shipping Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ships, Concrete Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Snow removal -- Technological innovations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stencils and stencil cutting -- Technological innovations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sulzer, William, 1863-1941 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sunlight Gas Machine Co., Inc Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Transportation -- New York (State) -- New York -- Reorganization Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Trials (Libel) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ulster County (N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. Attorney-General Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Untermyer, Samuel, 1858-1940 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1914-1918 -- Veterans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

William M. Speer was born in Huntingdon PA in 1865 and died in Piermont NY in 1923. He graduated from Yale University in 1880 and from the Albany Law School in 1887. He was a journalist, public official, lawyer, inventor, businessman, publisher, and author.