A Guide to the Papers of Oscar Wilder Underwood, 1810-1955 Underwood, Oscar Wilder, Papers 9292-a

A Guide to the Papers of Oscar Wilder Underwood, 1810-1955

A Collection in
Special Collections
The University of Virginia Library
Accession Number 9292-a


Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

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Processed by: Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
Accession number
Papers of Oscar Wilder Underwood 1810-1955
Physical Characteristics
This collection consists of 830 items.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

See the University of Virginia Library’s use policy.

Preferred Citation

Papers of Oscar Wilder Underwood, Accession #9292-a, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Underwood family papers were loaned to the Library for scholarly use in April, 1972.

Biographical/Historical Information

Oscar Wilder Underwood was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 6, 1862. He attended the Rugby School in Louisville and later graduated from the University of Virginia in 1882. Admitted to the Alabama bar in 1884, he began to practice law in Birmingham.

Underwood's political career began when he was elected to the House of Representatives from the ninth district of Alabama. He served in this capacity from 1895 to 1915, having an outstanding record for the presidential nomination in Baltimore. He remained a contender until the 46th ballot when his name was withdrawn with neither his knowledge nor consent. Underwood went on to serve as the Leader of the House and the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee during the 62nd and 63 rd Congresses.

From 1915 to 1927 Underwood served as a United States Senator from the state of Alabama. Once again serving with distinction, he was elected Democratic leader of the Senate in 1920. In 1921 President Harding asked him to be of the American delegates to the International Conference on Limitation of Armament, instructing him to represent the views of the Democratic party.

In 1924 Underwood was once again a candidate for the presidential nomination. In this same year he is noted for publicly denouncing the Ku Klux Klan.

Just before his retirement from the Senate in 1927, Underwood was appointed a member of the International Peace Committee between the United States and France. On January 25, 1929, he died in his home in Woodlawn, Virginia.

Underwood was married twice. His first wife was Eugenia Massie of Charlottesville, Virginia, who died in 1900. They had two sons, John Lewis and Oscar Wilder, Jr. Underwood married his second wife, Bertha Woodward, in 1904.

Scope and Content

The Underwood family papers comprise seven boxes of materials and one oversized box. The first box contains correspondence and personal items of Oscar Wilder Underwood. The second box contains items belonging to the Underwood family, 1810-1955, especially related to family genealogy. In Box 3 are 45 pictures of Oscar W. Underwood, 1882-1928, followed in Box 4 by ca. 85 pictures of Underwood family members, ca. 1850- 1920. All printed items are contained in Boxes 5 and 6. Printed speeches and various newspapers, 1817-1945, are included. Items relating to Oscar W. Underwood, Jr. are in Box 7. Finally, fifteen family pictures, and certificates and diplomas of Oscar W. Underwood are grouped together as oversized items.

Contents List

Items Relating to Oscar Underwood
  • Correspondence from Oscar W. Underwood to various people, mainly his sister-in-law, Mrs. M. C. Patterson, and his wife, Bertha 1891-1918
    Box: 1
    ca. 40 items
  • Correspondence of Eugenia Massie Underwood, wife of Oscar Wilder Underwood, w/printed invitation to her wedding (1885), and AMs by her about Monticello 1893-1899
    Box: 1
    8 items
  • Miscellaneous correspondence to Oscar W. Underwood 1903-1927
    Box: 1
    ca. 50 items
  • Frederica Virginia Underwood to her son, Oscar Wilder Underwood 1911-1921
    Box: 1
    9 ALS, 1 telegram
  • Correspondence from Oscar W. Underwood to various people, mainly his wife, Bertha 1919-1925
    Box: 1
    ca. 45 items
  • Copy of typed document from the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama, mentioning Hugo Black 1926 Aug.
    Box: 1
    1 p.
  • Correspondence from Oscar W. Underwood to various people, mainly his wife, Bertha 1927-1928
    Box: 1
    20 items
  • Calvin Coolidge to Mrs. Oscar W. Underwood re: death of OWU 1929 Jan. 25
    Box: 1
    1 p. w/env. TLS.
  • To Mrs. Oscar W. Underwood re: death of OWU 1929 Jan. - March
    Box: 1
    3 ALS, 2 TLS, 2 telegrams
  • "Oscar Wilder Underwood, His Political Career," by Shelby S. Walker 1935 April 9
    Box: 1
    2 copies, 70 pp. each. TMs.
  • Black billfold of Oscar W. Underwood n.d.
    Box: 1
Items Relating to the Underwood Family
  • AMs, essays, speeches, map, notes, and correspondence of Joseph R. Underwood 1810-1854 and n.d.
    Box: 2
    17 items
  • Thomas E. Massie to his wife and to his uncle, Dr. Thomas Massie, (1843-1863), some mentioning a trip to California, TLS, R. W. Massie to Mrs. M. C. Patterson (1914), re: the Massie letters, and 2 misc. letters and pictures 1843-1863 and 1914
    Box: 2
    14 ALS.
  • Notebook of [Thomas E. Massie] from his sheep driving adventure w/Frank Aubrey, w/sketches of Colorado ca. 1855-1861
    Box: 2
  • Collection of papers relating to the Massie family, 1678-1954, including pictures and letters, all kept in an envelope labeled "Massie Family." ca. 1945-1954
    Box: 2
    ca. 30 items
  • Miscellaneous family correspondence and items 1900-1933
    Box: 2
    15 items
  • Miscellaneous TMs and AMs notes about Underwood family ancestry 1924 and n.d.
    Box: 2
    13 pp.
  • "Alabama and Her People" by Albert Burton Moore, 2 copies, 5 pp. each, w/AMs supplement 1926 May
    Box: 2
    1 p. TMs.
  • Negative photostats of "claims for pension and bounty land of Joseph Rogers Underwood, War of 1812, and claim for pension of his widow, Elizabeth Cox Underwood," dated 1855-1885. 1931
    Box: 2
    33 pp. ADS.
  • "Address of Robert Whitehead of Nelson County made at 'Pharsalia', Massies Hill, Nelson County, Virginia, on Wednesday, May 27, 1953, on the occasion of the entertainment of the Antiquarian Club by the Virginia Club, both of Lynchburg, Virginia." 1953 May 27
    Box: 2
    13 pp. TMs.
  • "Genealogical Record of Col. William Thompson Underwood and Hon. Oscar Wilder Underwood," by John Cox Underwood. 1955 April 10
    Box: 2
    9 pp. TMs.
  • "Escutcheon of Judge Joseph Rogers Underwood of Kentucky" by John C. Underwood, w/a drawing and a print of the Underwood coat of arms. n.d.
    Box: 2
    7 pp. TMsS.
  • Notes re: the Underwood family. n.d.
    Box: 2
    54 pp. TMs and TMs.
  • 45 pictures of Oscar Underwood, including individual portraits and group scenes 1882-1928
    Box: 3
  • ca. 85 pictures of the Underwood Family and the area in which they lived ca. 1850-1920
    Box: 4
  • 1. Ambootype. 2. Daguerrotypes of Mrs. Thomas Eugene Massie, Dr. Thomas Eugene Massie in a Mexican War uniform (1847), and Frank Aubrey, a friend of Massie's ca. 1847
    Box: 4
  • Ambrotype of "Eugenia [Massie]" at 10 months n.d.
    Box: 4
  • 5 photographs of the burning of the Rotunda and of Monticello 1895 and n.d.
    Box: 4
Printed Items Belonging to the Underwood Family, 1817-1946
  • Printed speech by Joseph R. Underwood delivered in the House of Representatives re: providing by law far a new election of governor and lieutenant governor. 1817
    Box: 5
    21 pp.
  • Printed speech by Henry Clay delivered to the public, containing certain testimonials in refutation of the charges against him made by Gen. Andrew Jackson, touching the last presidential election. 1828 Jan. 23
    Box: 5
    52 pp.
  • Printed speech by Hon. Henry Clay delivered to the Colonization Society of Kentucky, w/signature of J. R. Underwood. 1829 Dec. 17
    Box: 5
    24 pp.
  • Printed speech by John Quincy Adams delivered to the Congress of the U.S., re: the life and character of Gilbert Motier de Lafayette, 94 pp. 1834 Dec.
    Box: 5
  • Printed article, "Preparation for Death, or the Character and Portion of the Righteous" by Mrs. Eliza M. Underwood. 1837
    Box: 5
    34 pp.
  • Printed speech by Joseph R. Underwood delivered in the House of Representatives re: the bill appropriating $25,000 to the widow of the late president. 1841 June 18
    Box: 5
    16 pp.
  • Printed speech by Joseph R. Underwood delivered in the House of Representatives re: the resolution proposing to censure John Quincy Adams for presenting to the House of Representatives a petition praying for the Dissolution of the Union. 1842 Jan. 27
    Box: 5
    15 pp.
  • Printed speech by Joseph R. Underwood delivered to the Senate of the U.S., re: the slavery question. 1850 April 3
    Box: 5
    22 pp.
  • Printed speech by Henry Clay delivered to the Senate of the U.S., re: the report of the committee of thirteen, 16 pp. 1850 May 13
    Box: 5
  • Printed speech by Daniel Webster delivered to the young men of Albany, w/ANS, "Presented to Eugene Underwood by Col. E. H. Foster, Aug. 20th, 1851." 1851 May 28
    Box: 5
    29 pp.
  • Printed article, "The Mississippi Valley," an official communication of Hon. Eugene Underwood to the Governors of the States bordering on the Mississippi River. ca. 1878
    Box: 5
    5 pp.
  • Printed copy of speech delivered by Hon. Oscar W. Underwood re: repeal of the fifteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution 1900 Feb. 15
    Box: 5
  • "For President, Oscar Underwood." 1924
    Box: 5
    2 copies, 32 pp. each. Pamphlet.
  • Copy of Congressional Record , v. 67, no. 21, sixty-ninth congress, first session. 1926 Jan. 11
    Box: 5
    32 pp.
  • Copy of Drifting Sands of Party Politics by Oscar W. Underwood, The Century Co., New York, 1931 1931
    Box: 5
    422 pp.
  • "The Baltimore Convention of 1912," "A Letter from one of Wilson's Managers," "The Underwood Presidential Movement of 1912," and "Correspondence Relating to the Progressive Party's 'Lily White' Policy in 1912," all by Arthur S. Link 1945
    Box: 5
    7 items. Printed articles.
  • Copy of The Alabama Historical Quarterly 1945
    Box: 5
    v. 7, no. 4, 1945, State Dept. of Archives and History.
  • Copy of Papers of the Albemarle county Historical Society , vol. VI, 1945-1946, The Albemarle County Historical Society, 1946 1946
    Box: 5
    65 pp.
  • Newsclippings re: Joseph R. Underwood ca. 1850-1920
    Box: 6
    3 items
  • Copy of The Washington Daily Globe , v. V, no. 17, containing speech of Joseph R. Underwood 1852 Dec. 28
    Box: 6
  • Page from the Louisville Courier-Journal w/article about John Wilkes Booth 1881 Dec. 7
    Box: 6
  • Copy of The Glasgow Weekly Times , v. XXVII, n. 19 1892 March 16
    Box: 6
  • Newsclipping re: Eugene Underwood 1893 Dec. 21
    Box: 6
  • Newsclippings re: Oscar Underwood's political career, ca. 100 items. 1894-1928 and n.d.
    Box: 6
  • Newsclippings re: death of Eugenia Massie Underwood, wife of OWU 1900 Feb.
    Box: 6
    4 items
  • Copy of The New York Times Book Review , section 4, 1928 June 3, w/review by Charles Willis Thompson of Drifting Sands of Party Politics by Oscar W. Underwood 1928 June 3
    Box: 6
    2 copies
  • Newsclippings re: Oscar Underwood's death in 1929 and his achievements, ca. 100 items 1929-1933, 1946-1950 and n.d.
    Box: 6
  • 5 newsclippings re: the death of Frederick V. Underwood 1933 Dec. 4
    Box: 6
Items Belonging to Oscar W. Underwood, Jr.
  • Correspondence from Oscar W. Underwood, Jr. to various people, mainly his aunt, Mrs. M. C. Patterson. 1900-1950
    Box: 7
    microfilm. 25 items
  • Oscar W. Underwood, Jr. to Bertha Underwood, his step-mother. 1913-1914
    Box: 7
    microfilm. 4 ALS, 1 APCS.
  • Correspondence to Oscar W. Underwood, Jr., from various people. 1918-1950
    Box: 7
    microfilm, ca. 20 items.
  • Various military papers belonging to Captain Oscar W. Underwood, Jr. 1913-1919 and n.d.
    Box: 7
    microfilm, ca. 100 items.
  • 2 large World War I pictures of men in uniform ca. 1917-1919
    Box: 7
Oversize Items
  • Diploma of Oscar W. Underwood from the Louisville Rugby School 1881
    oversize items
  • Diploma of Oscar W. Underwood from the University of Virginia 1882
    oversize items
  • 2 group pictures of the Eli Banana Society, including Oscar W. Underwood and 11 and 9 other people [1882]
    oversize items
  • Certificate of appointment of Oscar W. Underwood as attorney and counselor of the Supreme Court of the United States 1895
    oversize items
  • Plan of "Underwood's Addition" to the city of St. Paul, Minn. n.d.
    oversize items
  • Family pictures of Oscar W. Underwood. n.d.
    oversize items. 15 items