New Online: Digital Edition of the William Howard Taft Papers

New Online: Digital Edition of the William Howard Taft Papers (link)

The papers of William Howard Taft (1857-1930), twenty-seventh president of the United States and tenth chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, consist of approximately 676,000 documents (785,977 images), which have been digitized from 658 reels of previously reproduced microfilm. Held in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, these papers constitute the largest collection of original Taft documents in the world. The collection contains family papers, personal and official correspondence, presidential and judicial files, speeches and addresses, legal files and notebooks, business and estate papers, engagement calendars, guest lists, scrapbooks, clippings, printed matter, memorabilia, and photographs dating from 1784 to 1973, with the bulk of the material dated 1880-1930.  The materials address the major issues that confronted his presidency, including tariffs, federal income tax, international arbitration, antitrust enforcement, conservation, Republican party politics, U.S. investment in Latin America, and the construction of the Panama Canal.

The Index to the William Howard Taft Papers (link to catalog record) was created by the Manuscript Division in 1972 after the bulk of the collection was microfilmed. The index comprises six volumes, each of which is available in searchable PDF and HTML versions. Volume 1 (PDF and HTML) provides alphabetical listings of presidential subject or case files in Series 5, Series 6, and Series 7, as well as legal case files in Series 12 and Series 13. The remaining volumes provide an alphabetical list of correspondents found throughout the collection: Volume 2: A-C (PDF and HTML), Volume 3: D-H (PDF and HTML), Volume 4: I-M (PDF and HTML), Volume 5: N-S (PDF and HTML), and Volume 6: T-Z (PDF and HTML). The information in these volumes is helpful in finding individual letters or documents in the online version. Items in Series 27, an addition to the collection, came to the Library after 1972 and are not included in the index.

A current finding aid (PDF and HTML) to the William H. Taft Papers is also available online with links to the digital content on this site.