Elmer Jacob Burkett, 1867-1935 [RG3590.AM]

NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID

RG3590.AM:  Elmer Jacob Burkett, 1867-1935

Papers:  1886-1935
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska:  Attorney, Congressman, U.S. Senator
Size:  27.0 cu.ft.; 19 boxes & various oversize volumes

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Elmer Jacob Burkett was born in 1867 on a farm in Mills County, Iowa, to Henry W. and Katherine Kearney Burkett.  He attended Tabor College form 1885-1890, where he received degrees in both Science and Literature.  Following graduation, Burkett accepted a position as principal of the school system at Leigh, Colfax County, Nebraska.  On September 1, 1891, Elmer J. Burkett married Fannie Fern Wright of Glenwood, Iowa.  This union was to produce three daughters.

In 1892, Burkett left the Leigh school system to resume his studies at the University of Nebraska.  He received his Bachelor of Law degree a year later.  In 1895, Burkett earned his Master of Law degree.  Burkett was admitted to the bar in June 1893.  He was a partner in the law firm of Tingley and Burkett in Lincoln, Nebraska, from 1892-1897.  In 1989, Burkett formed the partnership of Burkett and Greeley, where he worked until 1906.

Burkett embarked on an active political career in 1896 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Republican ticket.  He was a member of the House until 1905, serving on the committees on Judiciary, Medical Associations, and Apportionments.

In 1904, Burkett was elected to the U.S. Senate.  He vigorously supported the gold standard, postal savings, improved labor conditions, and rural delivery legislation.  He was the author of the Locomotive Boiler Law and was chairman of an association of western senators and congressmen that drafted irrigation legislation.  He wrote the original draft for the Postal Savings Bank Law and became known as the sponsor of the original resolution in the senate to establish Mother’s Day.

Upon completion of his 6-year senate term, Burkett returned to Lincoln, Nebraska, to resume law practice with the firm of Burkett, Wilson, Brown, and Wilson, the law firm he had helped to found in 1906.  Burkett declined the proposal to run for the governorship of Nebraska in 1912.  He was nominated for the Vice-Presidency at the Republican National Convention that same year, but was defeated by the incumbent, James S. Sherman.  In 1928, Burkett ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in support of Herbert Hoover, but was defeated by the Democratic candidate, John H. Morehead.

Burkett was also the director of the First National Bank and Trust Company of Lincoln, Nebraska, and a director of the Nebraska State Oil Company.  He was active in many fraternal and civic organizations.  Burkett was also the author of Outlines in History.  He died in 1935.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

This collection consists of 21 boxes and 3 cubic feet of manuscript material arranged in 6 series:  (1) Outgoing Correspondence (Letterbook), 1892-1905; (2) Incoming Correspondence, 1891-1935; (3) Law Case Correspondence, 1912-1920; (4) Speeches, 1886-1931;  (5) Newspaper Clippings, 1888-1928; and (6) Miscellany.

This collection related primarily to the political career of Elmer J. Burkett, Congressman and Senator from Nebraska.  His career as an attorney in Lincoln, Nebraska is also documented through correspondence and newspaper clippings.

Series 1 consists of Outgoing Correspondence, 1892-1905, bound into 11 volumes of Letterbooks, Burkett’s business dealings, political views and observations and legal cases are discussed.  Many of the letters are written in answer to constituents’ inquiries, pension and land claims, appointments, and views about pending or enacted legislation.  Volumes 2 and 3 deal specifically with the affairs of the law firm of Tingley and Burkett.

The bulk of the collection is comprised of the Incoming Correspondence, 1891-1935, of Series 2.  This material is arranged chronologically and alphabetically by correspondent, following Burkett’s own filing method.  Letters are not in strict chronological or alphabetical sequence, but are arranged in groupings by year and by the first letter of the correspondent’s last name.  Letters from friends, relatives and constituents are included.  Topics discussed are Burkett’s land and business dealings, political affairs, the land and pension claims of his constituents, legal cases, and political appointments.  Pension claims are usually filed by name of the pension seeker rather than by the person who is writing in his or her behalf.  Burkett’s correspondents include George W. Norris, Moses Kinkaid, T.C. Munger, John J. Pershing, and Gifford Pinchot.  Beginning in 1904, much of the incoming correspondence is attached to the written response given by Burkett in return.  This material is still considered incoming correspondence and is filed in the same way.

The Law Case Correspondence, 1912-1920, of Series 3, is arranged in a strict chronological sequence.  None of these letters were addressed to Burkett, yet it can be assumed they all relate to legal cases he was involved in.

Series 4 consists of Speeches, 1886-1931, delivered by Elmer J. Burkett.  Included are college orations, political and campaign speeches, and talks given at Chautauquas, reunions, conventions, dedications.  Also included are Burkett’s acceptance speeches.  A catalogue showing the addresses delivered by Burkett appears as an index at the end of this series.

The Newspaper Clippings, 1888-1928, of Series 5, trace the political and legal careers of Elmer J. Burkett.  Articles about his political record and views are included in bound volumes and in folders.  Also in this series, are two “letters to the Editor”, in original form, written by Burkett.

The Miscellany of Series 6 consists of Programs, certificates, testimonials, campaign and Republican Party materials, pamphlets and a scrapbook.

DESCRIPTION

Series 1 - Outgoing Correspondence (letterbooks), 1892-1905

Box 20
Volume

  1. 1892-1896
  2. 1893-1895, Tingley and Burkett
  3. 1895-1897, Tingley and Burkett
  4. 1896-1898
  5. 1899-January 9, 1900
  6. Jan. 9, 1900–March 30, 1900

Box 21
Volume

  1. Jan. 15, 1900–Feb. 13, 1900
  2. March 30, 1900–June 4, 1900
  3. June 5, 1900–Dec. 7, 1900
  4. Dec. 7, 1900–Feb. 8, 1904
  5. Feb. 12, 1904–Jan. 21, 1905

Series 2 - Incoming Correspondence, 1891-1935

Box 1
Folder

  1. 1891-1894, Tingley and Burkett, A-F
  2. 1891-1894, Tingley and Burkett, G-J
  3. 1891-1894, Tingley and Burkett, K-R
  4. 1891-1894, Tingley and Burkett, S-Z
  5. 1891-1893, A-F
  6. 1891-1893, G-L
  7. 1891-1893, M-Z
  8. 1894-1895, A-C
  9. 1894-1895, D-J
  10. 1894-1895, K-S
  11. 1894-1895, T-Z
  12. 1895-1897, Tingley and Burkett, A-D
  13. 1895-1897, Tingley and Burkett, E-J
  14. 1895-1897, Tingley and Burkett, K-Q
  15. 1895-1897, Tingley and Burkett, R-Z
  16. 1896-1897, A-C
  17. 1896-1897, D-H

Box 2
Folder

  1. 1896-1897, I-O
  2. 1896-1897, P-Z
  3. 1898, A-D
  4. 1898, E-H
  5. 1898, I-M
  6. 1898, N-S
  7. 1898, T-Z
  8. 1899, A-B
  9. 1899, C-F
  10. 1899, G-H
  11. 1899, I-M
  12. 1899, N-S
  13. 1899, T-Z
  14. 1900, Munger and Burkett, A-B
  15. 1900, Munger and Burkett, C-F

Box 3
Folder

  1. 1900, Munger and Burkett, G-K
  2. 1900, Munger and Burkett, L-M
  3. 1900, Munger and Burkett, N-R
  4. 1900, Munger and Burkett, S-Z
  5. Jan. 1-24, 1900, Munger and Burkett, A-C
  6. Jan. 1-24, 1900, Munger and Burkett, D-G
  7. Jan. 1-24, 1900, Munger and Burkett, H-M
  8. Jan. 1-24, 1900, Munger and Burkett, N-Z
  9. Jan. 25-Feb. 17, 1900, Munger and Burkett, A-D
  10. Jan. 25-Feb. 17, 1900, Munger and Burkett, E-L
  11. Jan. 25-Feb. 17, 1900, Munger and Burkett, M-R
  12. Jan. 25-Feb. 17, 1900, Munger and Burkett, S-Z
  13. Feb. 18-Mar. 9, 1900, Munger and Burkett, A-F
  14. Feb. 18-Mar. 9, 1900, Munger and Burkett, G-L
  15. Feb. 18-Mar. 9, 1900, Munger and Burkett, M-Q
  16. Feb. 18-Mar. 9, 1900, Munger and Burkett, R-Z
  17. March 10-28, 1900, A-C
  18. March 10-28, 1900, D-J

Box 4
Folder

  1. March 10-28, 1900, K-R
  2. March 10-28, 1900, S-Z
  3. Mar. 29-Apr. 22, 1900, A-C
  4. Mar. 29-Apr. 22, 1900, D-J
  5. Mar. 29-Apr. 22, 1900, K-Q
  6. Mar. 29-Apr. 22, 1900, R-Z
  7. Apr. 23-May 9, 1900,       A-D
  8. Apr. 23-May 9, 1900,       E-L
  9. Apr. 23-May 9, 1900,       M-R
  10. Apr. 23-May 9, 1900,       S-Z
  11. May 10-June 13, 1900     , A-D
  12. May 10-June 13, 1900     , E-J
  13. May 10-June 13, 1900     , K-O
  14. May 10-June 13, 1900     , P-Z
  15. June 14-Aug. 19, 1900, A-D
  16. June 14-Aug. 19, 1900, E-L
  17. June 14-Aug. 19, 1900, M-Q
  18. June 14-Aug. 19, 1900, R-Z
  19. Aug. 20-Nov. 21, 1900, A-C

Box 5
Folder

  1. Aug. 20-Nov. 21, 1900, D-H
  2. Aug. 20-Nov. 21, 1900, I-M
  3. Aug. 20-Nov. 21, 1900, N-R
  4. Aug. 20-Nov. 21, 1900, S-Z
  5. Nov. 22-Dec. 19, 1900, A-D
  6. Nov. 22-Dec. 19, 1900, E-L
  7. Nov. 22-Dec. 19, 1900, M-R
  8. Nov. 23-Dec. 19, 1900, S-Z
  9. Dec. 20, 1900-Feb. 15, 1901,        A-C
  10. Dec. 20, 1900-Feb. 15, 1901,        D-J
  11. Dec. 20, 1900-Feb. 15, 1901,        K-Q
  12. Dec. 20, 1900-Feb. 15, 1901,        R-Z
  13. Feb. 16-Apr. 6, 1901,       A-C
  14. Feb. 16-Apr. 1, 1901,       D-J
  15. Feb. 16-Apr. 1, 1901,       K-Q
  16. Feb. 16-Apr. 1, 1901,       R-Z
  17. Apr. 7-Sept. 2, 1901, A-C
  18. Apr. 7-Sept. 2, 1901, D-H
  19. Apr. 7-Sept. 2, 1901, I-Q
  20. Apr. 7-Sept. 2, 1901, R-Z

Box 6
Folder

  1. Sept. 3-Dec. 31, 1901, A-C
  2. Sept. 3-Dec. 31, 1901, D-K
  3. Sept. 3-Dec. 31, 1901, L-Q
  4. Sept. 3-Dec. 31, 1901, R-Z
  5. Jan. 1-March 9, 1902, A-D
  6. Jan. 1-March 9, 1902, E-K
  7. Jan. 1-March 9, 1902, L-R
  8. Jan. 1-March 9, 1902, S-Z
  9. Mar. 10-June 11, 1902, A-D
  10. Mar. 10-June 11, 1902, E-K
  11. Mar. 10-June 11, 1902, L-R
  12. Mar. 10-June 11, 1902, S-Z
  13. June 12-Sept. 21, 1902, A-F
  14. June 12-Sept. 21, 1902, G-Q
  15. June 12-Sept. 21, 1902, R-Z
  16. Sept. 22-Dec. 31, 1902, A-D
  17. Sept. 22-Dec. 31, 1902, E-K
  18. Sept. 22-Dec. 31, 1902, L-P
  19. Sept. 22-Dec. 31, 1902, R-Z
  20. Jan. 1-March 3, 1903, A-F

Box 7
Folder

  1. Jan. 1-March 3, 1903, G-L
  2. Jan. 1-March 3, 1903, M-R
  3. Jan. 1-March 3, 1903, S-Z
  4. March 4-Aug. 6, 1903, A-G
  5. March 4-Aug. 6, 1903, H-Q
  6. March 4-Aug. 6, 1903, R-Z
  7. Aug. 7-Dec. 31, 1903, A-D
  8. Aug. 7-Dec. 31, 1903, E-J
  9. Aug. 7-Dec. 31, 1903, K-M
  10. Aug. 7-Dec. 31, 1903, N-R
  11. Aug. 7-Dec. 31, 1903, S-Z
  12. Jan. 1-Feb. 2, 1904, A-D
  13. Jan. 1-Feb. 2, 1904, E-J
  14. Jan. 1-Feb. 2, 1904, M-R
  15. Jan. 1-Feb. 2, 1904, S-Z
  16. Feb. 3-March 14, 1904, A-C
  17. Feb. 3-March 14, 1904, D-H
  18. Feb. 3-March 14, 1904, I-M
  19. Feb. 3-March 14, 1904, N-R
  20. Feb. 3-March 14, 1904, S-Z

Box 8
Folder

  1. March 15-Apr. 30, 1904, A-C
  2. March 15-Apr. 30, 1904, D-G
  3. March 15-Apr. 30, 1904, H-L
  4. March 15-Apr. 30, 1904, M-O
  5. March 15-Apr. 30, 1904, P-S
  6. March 15-Apr. 30, 1904, T-Z
  7. May 1-June 30, 1904,      A-G
  8. May 1-June 30, 1904,      H-O
  9. May 1-June 30, 1904,      P-Z
  10. July 1-Aug. 31, 1904,       A-C
  11. July 1-Aug. 31, 1904,       D-L
  12. July 1-Aug. 31, 1904,       M-R
  13. July 1-Aug. 31, 1904,       S-Z
  14. Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 1904, A-E
  15. Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 1904, F-M
  16. Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 1904, N-S
  17. Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 1904, T-Z
  18. Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 1904, A-D
  19. Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 1904, E-L
  20. Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 1904, M-R
  21. Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 1904, S-Z

Box 9
Folder

  1. Jan. 1-March 20, 1905, A-C
  2. Jan. 1-March 20, 1905, D-H
  3. Jan. 1-March 20, 1905, I-R
  4. Jan. 1-March 20, 1905, S-Z
  5. March 21-June 26, 1905, A-E
  6. March 21-June 26, 1905, F-J
  7. March 21-June 26, 1905, K-Q
  8. March 21-June 26, 1905, R-S
  9. March 21-June 26-1905, T-Z
  10. June 27-Nov. 21, 1905, A-C
  11. June 27-Nov. 21, 1905, D-I
  12. June 27-Nov. 21, 1905, J-M
  13. June 27-Nov. 21, 1905, N-R
  14. June 27-Nov. 21, 1905, S-Z
  15. Nov. 22, 1905-Jan. 25, 1906, A-B
  16. Nov. 22, 1905-Jan. 25, 1906, C-G
  17. Nov. 22, 1905-Jan. 25, 1906, H-L
  18. Nov. 22, 1905-Jan. 25, 1906, M-Q
  19. Nov. 22, 1905-Jan. 25, 1906, R-S
  20. Nov. 22, 1905-Jan. 25, 1906, T-Z
  21. Jan. 26-April 30, 1906, A-C
  22. Jan. 26-April 30, 1906, D-H
  23. Jan. 26-April 30, 1906, I-O
  24. Jan. 26-April 30, 1906, P-S
  25. Jan. 26-April 30, 1906, T-Z

Box 10
Folder

  1. May 1-Oct. 31, 1906, A-C
  2. May 1-Oct. 31, 1906, D-G
  3. May 1-Oct. 31, 1906, H-L
  4. May 1-Oct. 31, 1906, M-R
  5. May 1-Oct. 31, 1906, S-Z
  6. Nov. 1, 1906-Feb. 1907, A-C
  7. Nov. 1, 1906-Feb. 1907, D-J
  8. Nov. 1, 1906-Feb. 1907, K-R
  9. Nov. 1, 1906-Feb. 1907, S-Z
  10. March 1907-1908
  11. 1909-1910
  12. 1911-1914
  13. 1915-1935

Series 3 - Law Case Correspondence, 1912-1920

Box 11
Folder

  1. 1912-February 1917
  2. March-April 1917
  3. May-July 1917
  4. August-October 1917
  5. November 1917-January 1918
  6. February-May 1918
  7. June-September 1918
  8. July 1918-January1919
  9. February-April 1919
  10. May-October 1919
  11. November 1919-January 1920
  12. February-April 1920
  13. April (con’t)-June 1920
  14. July-September 1920
  15. October-December 1920

Series 4 - Speeches, 1886-1931, n.d.

Volume 1 - 1886-1898

Box 12
Folder

  1. 1890-1903
  2. 1904-1906
  3. 1907-1908
  4. 1909-1910
  5. 1912-1919
  6. 1926-1931
  7. Undated
  8. Undated
  9. Undated
  10. Undated and fragments

Series 5 - Newspaper Clippings, 1888-1928

Box 13
Volume

  1. 1888
  2. ca.1896
  3. 1898
  4. 1898-1899
  5. September 1899-October 19, 1900
  6. October 19, 1900-February 28, 1902
  7. March 14-June 14, 1902
  8. June 14-November 28, 1902
  9. November 4, 1902-January 29, 1904
  10. January 28-October 27, 1904
  11. February 2-March 20, 1904

Box 14
Volume

  1. October 1904-March 1905
  2. April 1905-October 1906
  3. 1905-1906
  4. July 5, 1906-December 6, 1907
  5. December 7, 1907-May 10, 1908
  6. May 18, 1908-July 23, 1909

Box 15
Volume

  1. July 23, 1909-January 21, 1910
  2. January 21-August 11, 1910
  3. August 11-October 30, 1910
  4. May 2908-August 1910
  5. ca.1916 (oversize)
  6. ca.1928 (oversize)
  7. July 1909-March 1910, A-K (by county) (oversize)
  8. July 1909-March 1910, K-Z (by county) (oversize)
  9. March-August 1910, A-Z (by county) (oversize)

Box 16
Folder

  1. Newspaper Clippings
  2. Newspaper Clippings
  3. Newspaper Clippings
  4. Two “Letters to the Editor” as originally written

Series 6 - Miscellany

  1. Programs, 1893-1933
  2. Certificates, Testimonials, Campaign material (some campaign posters are in Oversize Drawer #37)
  3. Loose Papers
  4. Vols. 1-39, Pamphlets
  5. Volume 40, The National Convention and Platforms of All Political Parties, 1789-1900, by Thomas H. McKee
  6. Volume 41, Republican Club Book, 1904
  7. Volume 42, Republican National Convention, 1904
  8. Volume 43, Scrapbook – Includes photographs, certificates, newspaper clippings, campaign pamphlets
  9. Volume 44, Berryman’s Political Cartoons of the 58th House – Certificates, Newspaper Clippings, Campaign Materials (oversize)

Box 17

  1. General Correspondence, July 31, 1902-November 7, 1904
  2. Correspondence from Cass County: July 6, 1898-Nov. 3, 1899
  3. Correspondence from Johnson County: June 30, 1898-Nov. 6, 1899; Jan. 28, 1900-Nov. 5, 1904

Box 18

  1. Correspondence from Lancaster County: June 21, 1898-Nov. 13, 1899; Nov. 19, 1900-Oct. 27, 1904
  2. Correspondence from Nemaha County: Nov. 26, 1900-Nov. 2, 1904

Box 19

  1. Correspondence from Otoe County: December 4, 1900-Nov. 21, 1904
  2. Correspondence from Pawnee County: Nov. 27, 1900-Nov. 21, 1904
  3. Correspondence from Richardson County: Feb. 1, 1901-Nov. 7, 1907

 

Subject headings:

Burkett, Elmer Jacob, 1867-1935
Lawyers -- Nebraska
Kinkaid, Moses Pierce, 1850-1922
Norris, George William, 1861-1944
Pensions -- Military
Pershing, John Joseph, 1860-1948
Pinchot, Gifford, 1865-1946
Postal savings depository
Rural free delivery
U.S. Congress. House of Representatives, 1897-1905
U.S. Congress. Senate, 1905-1911
U.S. Congress. 54th Congress. 1897
U.S. Congress. 55th Congress. 1898
U.S. Congress. 56th Congress. 1899-1901
U.S. Congress. 57th Congress. 1902
U.S. Congress. 58th Congress. 1903-1905
U.S. Congress. 59th Congress. 1906
U.S. Congress. 60th Congress. 1907-1909
U.S. Congress. 61st Congress. 1909-1911

 

 

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