Harry Hines Woodring papers
The papers of Harry Hines Woodring span the years 1893 to 1967, with the bulk of the material falling within the years 1930 to 1940. The collection consists of genealogical records, personal and official correspondence, speeches, reports, photographs, newspaper clippings, and a variety of miscellaneous material.
- 1887 - 1967
- Woodring , Harry Hines, 1887-1967 (Author, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
No access restrictions
Conditions Governing Use
Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.
Biography of Harry Hines Woodring
Harry Hines Woodring was born in Elk City, Kansas, on May 31, 1887, the son of Hines and Melissa (Cooper) Woodring. His siblings included Louisa Effa (Woodring) Caroll, Claudine (Woodring) Piper, Linda Cooper, and Grace E. (Woodring) Shaffer. After attending Elk City and Montgomery County high schools, he enrolled in Lebanon Business University, Lebanon, Indiana, where he stayed for ten months. Returning to Elk City in the spring of 1905, he accepted a job as bookkeeper at the First National Bank. In 1909, he was offered, and accepted, a job as assistant cashier in the First National Bank of Neodesha, Kansas, a career interrupted in 1918 when he enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army. Assigned to the Tank Training Center, Camp Colt, Pennsylvania, he was later commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Mustered out of the service in December, 1918, he returned to a career in banking, serving as assistant cashier at the Mid-West National Bank, Kansas City, Missouri. In 1922, he was named managing director of the First National Bank in Neodesha, Kansas, a position he held for seven years. Woodring became increasingly active in the American Legion after joining Neodesha's Seward-Ayers Post in 1919. In 1927, he was made chairman of the State Membership Committee, and the following year he was elected State Commander. His increasing interest in Legion activities was paralleled by a declining interest in banking, and in 1929, he retired from his career as a banker. In 1930, Woodring, a Democrat, ran for and was elected to the position of governor of Kansas. In 1932, he was again chosen to be the democratic nominee for governor, but was defeated in the general election by Alf Landon. Woodring was appointed Assistant Secretary of War in March 1933, a position he held until September of 1936. At that time, due to the death of Secretary of War George Dern, Woodring was temporarily appointed acting Secretary of War. In April 1937, he was officially confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of War. He resigned from this post in June 1940 because of an increasing difference of opinion with President Roosevelt concerning Allied rearmament and U.S. military readiness. After the resignation, he returned to Topeka, Kansas. Entering politics again in 1946, Woodring was successful in securing the democratic nomination for governor, but was defeated in the general election by Frank Carlson. In 1956, he again entered the political arena where he attempted to secure the democratic nomination for governor of Kansas. Woodring was defeated in the primary by George Docking, after which he returned to private life in Topeka until his death on September 9, 1967. Woodring married Helen Coolidge. Their children included Marcus Coolidge, who died in 1946, Melissa, and Cooper C.
- Born in Elk City, Kansas
- Attended Elk City High School; Montgomery County High School, Independence, Kansas; and Lebanon Business University, Lebanon, Indiana
- Bookkeeper, First National Bank, Elk City, Kansas
- Assistant cashier, First National Bank, Neodesha, Kansas
- Enlisted as a Private in World War I and was sent to the Tank Training Center, Camp Colt, Pennsylvania. Commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Personnel Section at Camp Colt
- Assistant cashier, Mid-West National Bank, Kansas City, Missouri. Became a charter member of Neodesha's Seward-Ayers Post of the American Legion
- Managing director, First National Bank, Neodesha, Kansas
- Chairman of the State Membership Committee of the American Legion
- State Commander of the American Legion
- Retired from banking
- Won the Democratic primary and then was elected Governor of Kansas
- Again won the Democratic nomination for governor but was defeated in the general election by Alf Landon
- Assistant Secretary of War
- Temporarily appointed Secretary of War
- Appointed Secretary of War
- Resigned as Secretary of War. Returned with his family to Topeka, Kansas
- Won Democratic primary for Governor of Kansas but was defeated by Frank Carlson in the general election
- Defeated by George Docking in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Kansas
- Private citizen in Topeka, Kansas
23.75 Linear Feet (49 boxes + 11 oversize boxes, 7 oversize folders, 35 volumes, 1 folder)
Scope and Contents
The papers of Harry Hines Woodring span the years 1893 to 1967, with the bulk of the material falling within the years 1930 to 1940. The collection consists of genealogical records, personal and official correspondence, speeches, reports, photographs, newspaper clippings, and a variety of miscellaneous material. The arrangement of the papers is chronological in fashion, where pertinent, according to the type of document. The above material is organized into seven major groups: (1) genealogical material, which includes correspondence, family records, genealogical charts, and several biographical sketches of Harry Hines Woodring compiled by various agencies; (2) personal correspondence, which includes the private letters both written and received by Woodring; (3) official correspondence, indicative of Woodring's duties, obligations, and activities while serving in an official capacity as governor of Kansas, Assistant Secretary of War, and Secretary of War; (4) speeches, which includes gubernatorial campaign speeches, numerous addresses to civic organizations and political groups, addresses concerning the activities, the attitude, and the needs of the War Department, and addresses on state and national politics and the world situation; (5) official reports, which includes War Department news releases, 1933 to 1940, and intelligence reports compiled by various United States Army units during World War Ii, including the Vii Corps headquarters G-2 periodic reports, 2nd infantry Division G-2 reports, tank destroyer disposition reports of the 3rd Tank Destroyer group, field artillery reports of the Vii Corp Artillery, and anti-tank bulletins of the Vii Corp Artillery; (6) photographs, which include pictures of Woodring's family and those of an official nature while Woodring served as governor, Assistant Secretary of War, and Secretary of War; (7) miscellaneous, which consists of newspaper clippings, various speeches, reports and letters, insurance receipts, deeds, printed material and artifacts. Less extreme groups of material include Woodring family correspondence, invitations, acceptances and regrets, and Woodring's individual income tax returns, 1933-1942. Also within the collection are numerous diaries Woodring kept, many serving as appointment books, newspaper clippings about Woodring and his family, and some volumes that had been kept by other Woodring family members. There are no apparent gaps within the collection. Organizationally, the correspondence, both personal and official, and the speeches, are filed so as to create parallel categories within the scope of the entire collection. For example, personal correspondence from 1937 to 1940 may be used in conjunction with the official correspondence of the same time period. This kind of organization allows for a more complete view of Woodring's activities while functioning not only in an official capacity but as a private individual as well. Of further significance are the War Department news releases and the reports of several United States Army units, both of which reflect the official stance of the War Department on matters of defense, armed services needs and readiness, strategy, troop movements, and so on. Although the bulk of the collection's material falls under official headings, the papers are not devoid in illustrating aspects of Woodring's life before, during, and after his service to state and nation. In this respect, the collection retains a balanced perspective on Woodring's life and career.
RH MS 202
RH MS A38 - RH MS A39
RH MS AK7
RH MS B56
RH MS C56 - RH MS C57
RH MS D178
RH MS E115
RH MS Q38 - RH MS Q41
RH MS Q406
RH MS R17 - RH MS R20
RH MS P337
RH MS-P 202
RH MS-P 202(f)
Other Finding Aids
See attached pdf for an inventory of the materials located at RH MS 202: ksrl.kc.woodringhpapers.ead.pdf.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift, Mr. and Mrs. Cooper Woodring and Mrs. Melissa W. Jager, April 1976.
Leather folio originally housed in Box 46 (Artifacts) has been moved to new location RH MS Q406 and is now housed in Box 49.
Boxes formerly located at RH MS Q42 and RH MS Q43 removed from the collection for preservation reasons. Much of the rest of the collection was treated for mold in 2018-2019.
- Guide to the Harry Hines Woodring Collection
- Harry Hines Woodring papers
- Finding aid written by sp, js, 1976-1977. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Revised by mwh, 2015, 2019.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Finding aid written in English.
- Finding aid permalink
- Preferred citation
Harry Hines Woodring Collection, RH MS 202, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.