The Bryon R. Newton Papers document his involvement in local, state, and national political appointments between the years of 1910 and 1938. The most well-documented part of his life is his success as a publicist for political campaigns and the political connections he was able to establish. Included among them were President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman of the Federal Reserve William G. McAdoo (1863-1941), and New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (1882-1947). The papers also document the success of his 23 years as a journalist and legislative correspondent for major news organizations, such as the Buffalo Evening News and the New York Herald. This career, which helped to lead him into politics, is equally well-documented. Finally, the papers offer glimpses into Newton’s participation and record of historic events in aviation history, including the flight of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the early air races, one of the first passenger airplane flights, and the formation of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).
The collection is divided into ten series: Series 1. Biographical File; Series 2. Correspondence (incoming); Series 3. Daily Journals; Series 4. Newspaper Clippings; Series 5. Newton Family Genealogy; Series 6. Printed Matter; Series 7. Writings and Talks; Series 8. Photographs; Series 9. Artifacts; and, Series 10. Ephemera.
The bulk of the collection consists of Newton’s daily journals, which record his daily activities from 1877 through 1938. Missing from his journals are the years 1878-1882, 1886-87, and 1893-1907. The years 1908 through 1913 are written as a summary recollection. The journals document Newton’s roles as Oberlin College student, journalist, and political figure. Specifically, the journals reveal Newton’s impressions on issues such as African-American students at Oberlin College and women’s suffrage, as well as provide an insider’s perspective on Woodrow Wilson’s publicity campaign for president of the United States. The founding meetings for the formation of NACA are documented in his journals. Finally, the journals relate Newton’s professional relationships and personal friendships with McAdoo, Wilson, the Wright Brothers, and other early aviators. Some information exists on the virtual revolution in the management of the nation’s money supply and the growing power of the federal government.
With the exception of notations that may be found in his daily journals, information that is not well documented or found in this collection includes: biographical information about Newton’s immediate family and his national political contributions. A complete title list of his newspaper and poetical publications is also absent.
Series 1. Biographical File, 1934, 1938, 1945 (0.01 l.f.)
This series contains six published obituaries concerning Byron R. Newton’s death and photocopies of materials from Newton’s Oberlin College student file.
Series 2. Correspondence (incoming), 1924, 1933, 1937 (0.01 l.f.)
Consists of four letters to Byron R. Newton from correspondents R. Carreau Johnson, R.C. Nuttcutt, R. Bush, and General [?] Derby. The letters reflect his genealogical, literary, and professional interests. Arranged chronologically.
Series 3. Daily Journals, 1877, 1883-85, 1888-92, 1908-38 (2.0 l.f.)
Includes twenty-eight (28) journals that consist of Newton’s daily accounts of his personal and professional life from age 21 until his death in 1938. Newton recorded his student days at Oberlin College, events relating to his personal and family life, his work relating to his earliest newspaper publications and editorial coverage of aeronautical events, and the activities relating to his professional and political life. Also included is unpublished poetry [dates]. The journal dated 1913-18 includes a synopsis of the years 1908 through 1913, including commentary on his first-hand account the first flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, 17 December 1903, and his selection for the position of Assistant Secretary of the United States Treasury in 1913. Arranged chronologically.
Series 4. Newspaper Clippings, 1913-14, 1916-17 (0.075 l.f.)
Contains two folders of newspaper clippings concerning Bryon R. Newton’s professional and political activities. Includes a political cartoon c. 1913-17, featuring Newton’s ability to save money by eliminating political “pork” projects. Arranged chronologically.
Series 5. Newton Family Genealogy (1601-1904), 1871, 1878, 1931-33, n.d. (0.04 l.f.)
This series consists of research notes and correspondence relating to Newton’s research of his family genealogy. A family record, created by his ancestors, and a small printed volume of Sir Isaac Newton’s (1643-1727) family history are also found in this series. (A journal entry for 10 June 1915 describes how he obtained the volume and how it established his family line “directly back through Richard Newton who came to Massachusetts in 1628 to Sir Isaac Newton’s family.”) Arranged chronologically.
Series 6. Printed Matter, 1832, 1904 (0.05 l.f.)
Series contains two pieces of printed matter, including an elementary spelling book (1832) and a Bible (1904). See the inventory for more details.
Series 7. Writings and Talks, 1902-03, 1917-18, 1923, 1928, n.d. (0.075 l.f.)
This series consists of nine items, including four typed manuscripts with hand-written notations, four published articles, one privately printed book, and transcripts of two talks of Byron R. Newton. Of particular note is his commentary on the First World War found in his pacifist poem “Why?” in which he condemned Germany’s 1914 invasion of France. The poem reportedly gained worldwide acclaim and was translated into 20 languages. A complete listing of his writings and talks can be found in the inventory. Included here also is a Democratic rally poster announcing Newton’s speech on Wilson’s policies (oversize). Arranged chronologically.
Series 8. Photographs, c. 1880-1930 (0.30 l.f.)
Consists of personal and professional photographs, including photographs of Newton family members (i.e., Col. Rufus Scott, maternal uncle of Byron R. Newton) and friends, a photo album, as well as professional images taken of Newton while serving as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.
Series 9. Artifacts, c. 1913 (0.04 l.f.)
Ink pen with appended note that reads, “This is the Pen with which Pres. Wilson and Mr. G. McAdoo signed my commission as Asst. Sec. Of the treasury.” Byron R. Newton signed the note.
Series 10. Ephemera, c. 1922 (one flat item)
Comprises one poster for a Democratic rally for the 26th of October, ca. 1922.