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Manuscript Group 114
HENRY W. SHOEMAKER COLLECTION
1841-1955
2 boxes


Correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, postcards, and printed copies of various speeches and articles of Henry Wharton Shoemaker (b. 1881, d. 1958), a distinguished diplomat, conservationist, folklorist, historian, author, and newspaper publisher. His father, Henry Francis Shoemaker (1845-1918), was a railroad financier, investment banker, and close confident of future Senator and Vice Presidential candidate Charles W. Fairbanks. His mother, Blanche Quiggle, was the only daughter of railroad magnate and diplomat Col. James W. Quiggle of Lock Haven and Philadelphia. Henry W. Shoemaker was educated at the E. D. Lyons Classical School in New York and Columbia University before taking up railroad work. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him secretary of the American Legation in San Jose, Costa Rica and he subsequently served in similar posts in Lisbon and Berlin (where he served as 3rd Secretary under his father's friend Charlemagne Tower.) Shoemaker returned to America in 1905 to join the family investment banking firm of Shoemaker, Bates & Co. where he served until 1912 when he accepted the presidency of the Altoona Tribune. Under his leadership, the Tribune acquired the Altoona Times in 1920 and he became both publisher and chief editorial writer of the combined newspaper.

While an undergraduate at Columbia, Shoemaker began collecting Pennsylvania folklore, publishing Wild Life in Pennsylvania that dealt with Pennsylvania social life, customs, and legends in 1903. He was an early friend and supporter of progressive environmentalist, and eventual Pennsylvania Governor, Gifford Pinchot. He served on the State Forestry Commission, 1918-1930; was Historian of the Pennsylvania War Memorials in Europe, 1928; served as a member of the Pennsylvania Geographic Board, 1924-1930; as chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission, 1923-1930; was American Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Bulgaria, 1930-1933; director of the Pennsylvania State Archives, 1937-1948; and closed his long and diverse career as the first director of the Division of Folk History with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1948-1955. Among his many memberships, he was a founder and president of the Pennsylvania Alpine Club, 1917-1930; president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies, 1925-1926; vice-president of the Netherlands Society of Pennsylvania, 1915-1929; president of the Huguenot Society of Pennsylvania, 1919-1920; vice-president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1925-1930; vice president of the Pennsylvania Folklore Society, 1923-1930; and was also a long time member of the Pennsylvania German Society. A World War I veteran, he wrote a history of military intelligence for the War Department, was a member of the National Guard in both New York and Pennsylvania and held the rank of Colonel of the Reserves of the Military Intelligence Division. He maintained a two-thousand acre estate near McElhattan in Clinton County called "Restless Acres" where his mother's family had settled in 1768. For a recent Shoemaker biography see Simon J. Bronner, Popularizing Pennsylvania, Henry W. Shoemaker and the Progressive Uses of Folklore and History (University Park: Penn State Press, 1996).

This collection consists of several different accessions including accession #307, 2624, 2930, and 3241 that were acquired from various sources between 1974 and 2010 and reflect Shoemaker's diverse range of interests. Many of the original source materials in the collection were collected over many years by Henry W. Shoemaker. Related materials at the Pennsylvania State Archives will be found in Record Group 13, Records of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The single most extensive publicly-accessable archive of Shoemaker material is the Henry Shoemaker Papers, 1875-1952, Accession XXXX-0459H, Historical Collections and Labor Archives, Special Collections Library, University Libraries, The Pennsylvania State University.





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