apap119
New York State Modern Political Archive
Collection ID: apap119

New York Republican State Committee Records, 1888-2001

Collection description

Summary

Abstract:
The New York Republican State Committee (NYRSC) is a representational legislative branch for the New York Republican Party which nominates Republican candidates for state and federal positions.
Extent:
5.39 cubic ft.
Language:
English .
Preferred citation:
Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, New York Republican State Committee Records, 1888-2001. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the New York Republican State Committee Records).

Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to this record group is unrestricted.

Terms Of Use:

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Background

Scope and Content:

The records of the New York Republican State Committee document the activities of this organization and its role as the coordinator of state and federal Republican elections in New York from 1888-1994. This record group contains meeting agendas and minutes, political literature, speeches, correspondence, photographs, political films, membership lists, and delegate information for state and national Republican conventions. In addition to the NYRSC's records, this collection also includes their reference collection consisting of several volumes that contain the names and addresses of officers in the state and federal legislature, the New York State constitution, and other volumes.

A great deal of the material was found in binders or folders arranged chronologically, so the original order has been maintained for the most part. Materials arranged under the Speeches and Correspondence Series did not fit in with a particular meeting found within the Conventions and Committee Meetings Series, so rather than interrupt the natural order of the series by interspersing items that were not originally grouped with them, it seemed more logical to put them into their own series. This series makes up the bulk of the NYRSC's records. It includes an almost uninterrupted run of minutes and agendas from 1911-1994.

Some items in the collection can be found in both bound and unbound versions. This is the case for the minutes of the New York Republican State Committee, Republican National Committee (RNC), and the Republican Organization. The minutes of the NYRSC and RNC can be found unbound covering the years from 1911 to 1994 in Series 1 and in bound versions covering the years from 1906-1928 and from 1930-1934 in oversized boxes. The New York Republican Organization can be found unbound covering the years 1908 to 1949 in Series 2 and unbound covering the years from 1908 to 1936 shelved with Series 8.

Biographical / Historical:

The New York Republican State Committee (NYRSC) is the legislative branch for the New York Republican Party. Acting as an oversight committee for all of the county committees in the state of New York, the State Committee nominates Republican candidates for state and federal positions. The NYRSC consists of a group of elected officials including at least one delegate from each assembly district. The State Committee has two parts: the main body and an executive committee that acts as the ruling body within the NYRSC. During times when the NYRSC is not in session, the executive board acts in its place [New York Republican State Committee. Rulebook for the Republican State Committee of New York State (New York: New York Republican State Committee, June 13, 1978)]. The chair of the NYRSC presides over the full committee while a separate chair presides over the executive committee. This group sends two delegates to the Republican National Convention, along with three delegates and three alternate delegates from each Congressional District and six at large delegates.

The official date set for the founding of the NYRSC is 1855, one year after the founding of the Republican Party in the United States. William Seward and Thurlow Weed are credited with the creation of the state party. In the beginning, the NYRSC met infrequently. Besides the occasional meeting during campaign time, the only mandatory meeting for the NYRSC was every three years to make arrangements for the National Convention. The Committee also did not have a written code of rules [Booraem, Hendrik V. The Formation of the Republican Party in New York: Politics and Conscience in the Antebellum North (New York University Press: New York, 1983)]. Currently, the NYRSC is required to meet following every election.

Until 1911, with the passage of the Direct Primary Law, the State of New York nominated candidates through a primary or caucus system. In the primary system, the Republican Party candidate for state and federal offices was chosen by a select few. The party voters, or those designated as official electors for each election district met several months before the primary and selected candidates for local offices and delegates to the county, assembly, senatorial and congressional district conventions. The county chairs then nominated candidates for county offices and delegates for the state committee. The average voter had little input in the choice of candidate for the various state and federal offices [Ray, P. Orman. An Introduction to Political Parties and Practical Politics (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913.), 94].

Referred to as "machine-controlled" or "boss-controlled" politics, this system of nominating candidates for state and federal offices was considered a corrupt practice that left the majority of the voting populous of the Republican Party out of the process of nominating candidates. The electors tended to be selected from the highest officials in the Republican Party. In 1909, Governor Charles E. Hughes brought this issue to the statewide level. He believed that allowing the power to nominate candidates to rest on the shoulders of party leaders tempted them to manipulate the "party machinery" for their own gain [Feldman, "The Direct Primary in New York State", The American Political Science Review 11, Issue 3 (August 1917), 494]. The State Convention of New York had essentially become a ratifying body to support the whims of the party bosses. The current system, established in 1911 with the passage of the Direct Primary Law, allows for more input from the entire voting populous present at the primary. The party voters are allowed to choose unofficial party candidates but the rest of the NYRSC is allowed to petition this decision by writing in another candidate who can then be voted on.

In 1894, a clause in the New York State Constitution established the legislative districts in both houses of the state legislature. Fearing that the influx of immigrants would tip the balance of Democratic voters in the demographically larger New York City, the NYRSC reapportioned the voting districts in Upstate New York in such a manner that allowed more votes to be cast per voting district. This clause also stated that every county, except for Hamilton and Fulton, must have at least one member in the assembly and that no two counties divided by a river (New York, Manhattan, and Kings) could hold one-half of the seats in the State Senate [Colby, Peter W. "New York State Today", New York State Today (State University at Albany Press: Albany, 1985]. This clause had a major effect on the political landscape of New York until the U.S. Supreme Court repealed it in the 1970s with the one-person one vote decision.

In 1974, the long standing uneven distribution of voting districts that gave Republican Upstate New York an edge over Democrat controlled New York City came to an end. The United States Supreme Court ruled that the clause creating the top-heavy Upstate New York voting districts was unconstitutional. This ruling caused a massive reapportioning of the voting districts of New York. This had a profound effect on New York State politics. The Republican Party in New York lost its formidable hold on the state legislature. Most of the NYRSC's limited money went to the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of Malcolm Wilson in 1974. This loss ushered in a 20-year period during which the Democratic Party dominated the governor's office and the state legislature.

Past chairs of the New York Republican State Committee [Kestenbaum, Lawrence. New York Republican Party Offices [on-line index] (Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2001) 30 July 2002] include:

Edwin Morgan, 1856-1858

James Kelly, 1858-1860

Simeon Draper, 1860-1862

Henry R. Low, 1862-1863

Charles Jones, 1863-1865

William R. Stewart, 1865-1866

Hamilton Harris, 1866-1870

Alonzo B. Cornell, 1875-1877

John F. Smyth, 1877-1878

Alonzo B. Cornell, 1878-1879

Chester A. Arthur, 1879-1881

B. Platt Carpenter, 1881-1882

John F. Smyth, 1882-1883

Chester S. Cole, 1885-1887

Cornelius Newton Bliss, 1887-1889

John N. Knapp, 1889-1891

William Brookfield, 1891-1894

Charles W. Hackett, 1894-1898

Benjamin B. Odell, 1898-1900

George W. Dunn, 1900-1904

Benjamin B. Odell, Jr., 1904-1906

Timothy L. Woodruff, 1906-1910

Ezra P. Prentice, 1910-1911

William Barnes Jr., 1911-1914

Fredrick C. Tanner, 1914-1917

George A. Glyn, 1917-1922

George K. Morris, 1922-1928

Edmund Machold, 1928-1929

William J. Meier, 1929-1930

W. Kingsland Macy, 1930-1934

Melvin C. Eaton, 1934-1936

William S. Murray, 1936-1940

Edwin F. Jaekle, 1940-1945

Glen R. Bedenkapp, 1945-1949

William L. Pfeiffer, 1949-1953

Dean P. Taylor, 1953-1954

Judson Morhouse, 1954-1963

Fred Young, 1963-1973

Charles T. Lanigan, 1973-1976

Richard Rosenbaum, 1976-1978

Bernard Kilbourne, 1978-

Sandy Treadwell, 2001-2004

Stephen J. Minarik III, 2004-

Acquisition information:

All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by the New York Republican State Committee in July 2001.

Arrangement:

The collection is organized as follows:

Sub-series 1: Legislative Manuals of New York, 1888, 1893-1913, 1915, 1917-1967, 1969-1970, 1973-1975, 1977-1983 Sub-series 2: New York Red Book, 1948-1982 Sub-series 3: Industrial Directory of New York State, 1949 Sub-series 4: Official Register of the United States, 1952-1953 Sub-series 5: Congressional Directory, 1953-1954, 1958-1960, 1963-1965, 1968, 1970-1971, 1983-1984 Sub-series 6: New York State Constitution, 1942, 1952-1954, 1960

Processing information:

Processed in 2003 February by Sarah Campbell and Ellen Ronnlund.

There are mild preservation issues with the collection. Given the frequent use and leather bindings of the Legislative Manuals, many were deteriorating and have been boxed for protection. There is also significant wear on the bound copies of the convention and committee meeting minutes as they represent some of the oldest records in this collection. The original films are also in fragile condition and may not be viewed, but use copies in VHS and DVD format are available for all of the films except "Portrait of a Senator", the sprocket holes of which were in too poor condition to allow the film to be reformatted at this time. The collection includes several unidentified pictures that have been filed in the Photographs and Biographical Information Series in the photographs folder.

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Restrictions:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
Terms of Access:
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Preferred citation:
Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, New York Republican State Committee Records, 1888-2001. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the New York Republican State Committee Records).