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Henry Fountain Ashurst Papers 1910-1962


Overview of the Collection

Creator: Ashurst, Henry Fountain, 1874-1962
Title: Henry Fountain Ashurst Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1910-1962
Quantity: 2 Boxes (1.0 Linear Feet)
Abstract:The Henry Fountain Ashurst Papers are comprised of correspondence, printed speeches and reports and newsclippings ranging from 1910-1962. The bulk of the material concerns Ashurst's work on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1930-1940.
Identification: MSS-18
Language: Material in English
Repository: Arizona State University Library. Greater Arizona Collection
P.O. Box 871006
Tempe, AZ 85287-1006
Phone: (480) 965-4932
Questions? Ask An Archivist!

Biographical Note

Henry Fountain Ashurst (1874-1962) was one of the first US Senators from Arizona and represented the state in that capacity for 28 years. He was born at Winnemuca, Nevada on September 13, 1874. His family later moved to a ranch near Mormon Lake, southeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. After his public school education was complete Ashurst worked in succession as a cowboy, a turnkey at the Coconino County Jail, and a stenographic reporter. He graduated from Stockton Business College in 1896.

Ashurst's political career began with his election to the Territorial House of Representatives in 1897. In 1899 he became Speaker of the House and sponsored legislation establishing the school that became Northern Arizona University. He was elected Coconino County Attorney in 1904 and again in 1906, and claimed his seat in the United States Senate in 1912. Ashurst's career in the Senate was highlighted by his reputation for sophisticated oratory and his work for the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Roosevelt years. After his defeat in the Democratic primary of 1940 Ashurst served as a member of the Board of Immigration Appeals in the Department of Justice from 1941-1943. Ashurst died in Washington on May 31, 1962 and is buried beside his wife, Elizabeth (Renoe) Ashurst (1874-1939), in Prescott, Arizona.

Scope and Content Note

The Henry Fountain Ashurst Papers are comprised of correspondence, printed speeches and reports, and news clippings ranging from 1910-1962. The bulk of the material concerns Ashurst's work on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1930-1940. In order to preserve the provenance of the papers, the collection has been divided into three series: Ashurst Accession, Renoe Accession, And National Archives Materials.

The Ashurst Accession consists of photostat correspondence and reprints of speeches, remarks, articles and reports. The Correspondence Record is almost entirely composed of photostat duplicates of the original letters included in Series II (see below for a description of the content of those letters). The Miscellaneous Correspondence and Addresses are printed copies of letters and public addresses that are mostly of a personal nature. One original letter from Ashurst (1945 October 12) to President Truman is included with Truman's response (photostat).

The Congressional Record reprints include a number of Senate speeches by Ashurst. Of particular interest are those concerning the Smith-McNary Reclamation Bill (1922), the Colorado River (1938) and the military draft (1940). Ashurst's Farewell to the Senate (1940) is located here and also in Box 1, Folder 7. The Ashurst Speeches Requested by Others are Ashurst addresses that other Senators requested for inclusion in the Congressional Record. They include his address at the Mormon Pioneer Celebration at Snowflake, AZ (1952) and two speeches on the history of Arizona at the Hassayampa Club in Los Angeles (1910) and at Arizona Founder's Day at the University of Arizona (1962). A number of Ashurst's Senate speeches and remarks are included in the collection. The subjects of some of the more significant speeches are listed in the Appendix. The Congressional Reports on Indian Affairs contain information on Erosion and Overflow of the Gila River and excerpts of Ashurst remarks concerning the Hopi Snake Dance. Miscellaneous Speeches include an address at the launching of the USS Arizona (1915) and remarks offered at the Annual Convention of the State Bar of Arizona (1952) and at an Arizona Banker's Association Banquet (1953).

Up in Coconino County is a published pamphlet that includes a brief biography of Ashurst and an excerpt from his diary from 1919. Ashurst of Arizona is a compilation of a biography of Ashurst and testimonials from a number of Arizona politicians by Maurice H. Lanman.

The Renoe Accession is comprised of original letters from a number of nationally prominent political leaders and government officials including Woodrow Wilson, Alvaro Obregon (President of Mexico), Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Charles Evans Hughes (Chief Justice US Supreme Court) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Although most of the correspondence is routine - offering congratulations and thanks for support, etc. - there are some significant items. A letter from President Wilson (1917 July 9) concerns the rationale for allowing Governor Hunt to mediate a copper strike in Arizona. Correspondence from William H. Taft (1928 May 1, 1928 December 7) concerns design and construction of an unidentified building in Washington, D.C.

The National Archives Materials are photocopies of records concerning Ashurst's work in the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1930-1940. Of particular interest is a report (1933 March 1) of an investigation of a possible monopoly of production of Boy Scout uniforms and regalia and a lack of competitive bidding. A series of letters beginning 1933 May 31 concerns alleged violations of banking laws by the Harriman National Bank of New York and delays in prosecution of the case. A letter (1935 June 5) from H.C. Mandeville (a lawyer from Elmyra, New York) concerns the constitutionality of New Deal legislation and particularly addresses the Wheeler-Rayburn Public Utilities Bill. A letter (1937 December 15) from Patrick E. Gorman, then a local union president, concerns attempts to organize employees of the Tovrea Packing Company of Phoenix. Beginning in 1934 a series of letters concerns interpretations and possible amendments to the Bankruptcy Act.

The Judicial Subcommittee Hearings are typescript minutes regarding the case against the Harriman National Bank of New York. Miscellaneous Newsclippings include obituaries of Ashurst from the New York Times and other sources.


This collection consists of two boxes divided into three series:
Series I: Ashurst Accession
Series II: Renoe Accession
Series III: National Archives Materials


Access Restrictions

To view this collection, make an appointment at least five business days prior to your visit by contacting Ask an Archivist or calling (480) 965-4932. Appointments in the Wurzburger Reading Room at Hayden Library (rm. 138) on the Tempe campus are available Monday through Friday. Check the ASU Library Hours page for current availability.


The Arizona Board of Regents retains copyright to this collection for and on behalf of the Arizona State University Library. Requests to publish, display, or redistribute information from this collection must be submitted via our online application.

Related Material

See also:

Address of Henry Fountain Ashurst : at a banquet of the Arizona Bankers Association, Phoenix, Arizona, on the night of November 13, 1953.
Farewell to the Senate; remarks of Hon. Henry F. Ashurst of Arizona in the Senate of the United States, September 11, 1940. Also, comments by the press.
Letter of Geo. W.P. Hunt, governor of Arizona to Senator Henry F. Ashurst : reviewing testimony of witnesses before the United States Senate Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation in connection with Colorado River Development.
A many-colored toga; the diary of Henry Fountain Ashurst. Edited by George F. Sparks; drawings by H. Beaumont Williams.
The Simmons-Underwood tariff bill : speech of Hon. Henry F. Ashurst of Arizona in the Senate of the United States : August 25, 1913.
Speeches, 1906-1921
Speeches of Henry Fountain Ashurst of Arizona. Published by Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona.
Up in Coconino County : pages from the journal of Henry Fountain Ashurst.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Ashurst, Henry Fountain, 1874-1962.
Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930.
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.

Corporate Name(s)
Harriman National Bank of New York.
Tovrea Packing Company.
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary.

Banking law -- New York (State).
Bankruptcy -- United States.
Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico).
Legislators -- United States -- Archives.
Strikes and lockouts -- Copper mining -- Arizona.
Water resources development -- Law and legislation -- Arizona.
Water resources development -- Law and legislation -- Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico).

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Henry Fountain Ashurst Papers, MSS-18, Arizona State University Library.


The Henry F. Ashurst Papers were received from three different sources. The Photostat correspondence, reprints, articles and newsclippings in Series I were donated to Arizona State University by Mr. Ashurst in 1954 (ACC# 54-005). The original correspondence and miscellaneous papers in Series II were the gift of Mrs. John R. Renoe (a relation) in 1974 (ACC# 75-005). The correspondence, minutes and newsclippings in Series III were photocopied at the National Archives, Washington D.C. by Charles C. Colley, then Director of Special Collections at the Matthews Library at ASU. This material was duplicated from the following record series: SEN 73A-F15; SEN 75A-F14; SEN 76A-F13.

Container List

Series I: Ashurst Accession
11 Correspondence Received, 1912-1940
12 Miscellaneous Correspondence and Addresses, 1940-1952
13 Congressional Record Reprints: Ashurst Speeches/Remarks, 1916, 1922, 1930
14 Congressional Record Reprints: Ashurst Speeches Requested by Others, 1953, 1962
15 Senate Speeches/Remarks, 1912-1914
16 Senate Speeches/Remarks, 1917-1926
17 Senate Speeches/Remarks, 1932-1940
18 Congressional Reports re: Indian Affairs, 1916, Undated
19 Miscellaneous Speeches, 1910-1953
110 Up In Coconino County [journal excerpt], 1957
111 Miscellaneous Articles, 1919, 1935
112 Ashurst of Arizona, 1911
Series II: Renoe Accession
113 Correspondence, 1912-1914
114 Correspondence, 1915-1918
115 Correspondence, 1919-1923
21 Correspondence, 1927-1928
22 Correspondence, 1929-1930
23 Correspondence, 1931-1935
24 Correspondence, 1937-1939
25 Correspondence, 1940-1945, 1953-
26 Miscellaneous Papers, Undated
Series III: National Archives Materials
27 Correspondence, 1916-1933
28 Correspondence, 1934-1936
29 Correspondence, 1937-1940, Undated
210 Judicial Subcommittee Hearings, 1933 (Pages 1-149)
211 Judicial Subcommittee Hearings, 1933 (Pages 150-285)
212 Miscellaneous Newsclippings, 1934, 1940, 1962