Timothy L. Woodruff Papers: A Digital Resource


About the collection

The Timothy Lester Woodruff Papers: A Digital Resource contains correspondences between Timothy L. Woodruff and various politicians, business associates, and family members. The collection consists of letters written largely between 1903-1910, but also contains some earlier correspondence relating to his father, John Woodruff and his cousin, Rodney A. Ward. Most notable correspondents are Jotham Powers Allds, William Barnes, Jr., August Belmont, William Berri, Jacob Brenner, Roscoe Conkling Ensign Brown, Matthew Linn Bruce, Edward H. Butler, William Musgrove Calder, George B. Cortelyou, Chauncey M. Depew, Charles Holland Duell, Jacob Sloats Fassat, Lafayette Blanchard Gleason, Ernestus Schneck Gulick, Frank Wayland Higgins, Frank Harris Hiscock, Charles Evans HUghes, Charles Herbert Levermore, William Loeb, Jr., Phineas Chapman Lounsbury, Julius Marshuetz Mayer, Nathan Lewis Miller, Luke J. Minahan, John Hill Morgan, Charles Francis Murphy, Courtlandt Nicoll, John Francis O'Brien, Benjamin Barker Odell, Herbert Parsons, Sereno Elisha Payne, Thomas Collier Platt, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Root, James Schoolcraft Sherman, Lewis M. Swasey, William Howard Taft, Gage E. Tarbell, Bela Tokaji, William J. Tully, James Wolcott, Wadsworth, Jr., Horace White, Charles Seymour Whitman, Woodrow Wilson, and his son John Woodruff.

Timothy Lester Woodruff was born on August 4, 1858 in New Haven, Connecticut to his mother, Harriet, and his father, John, a congressman. He graduated from Yale College in 1879 and continued to actively participate in the college in his later years. After Yale, he attended Eastman's Business College in New York, where he met his first wife, Cora Eastman, who was the daughter of the school's founder, Harvey Eastman. After Eastman's death in 1878, his wife, Minerva, took control of the college along with her new husband, Clement C. Gaines, and subsequently caused the college to incur great debts.

Shortly after graduating Yale and attending Eastman's Business College, Woodruff began an active political career. His most notable political achievement was his position as New York's Lieutenant Governor for three terms from 1897-1902. During and also largely after his time as Lieutenant Governor he actively served in the Brooklyn Young Republicans, the Montauk Club, the Lyons Republicans, the New York Republican State Committee (of which he was chairman from 1906-1910), and the Union League Club.

During his political career, Woodruff was very enthusiastic about agricultural affairs. He aggressively promoted the protection of the New York wilderness, including protection from deforestation and devastating damming. Obviously a man who appreciated nature, he also frequently visited his camp in the Adirondacks named "Kamp Kill Kare" where he often brought friends, family, and fellow politicians. He named a lake at the camp Lake Kora, after his wife Cora.

Although perhaps most well-known for his political endeavors, Woodruff was also very active in several different businesses. He was at one point the treasurer of the Worchester Salt Company, president of the Maltine Company, president of the Smith Premier Typewriter Company, president of the Pneumelectric Machine Company, a director of the Merchants' Exchange National Bank, Co-Operative Building Bank, Hamilton Trust Company, Kings County Trust Company and City Savings Bank of Brooklyn, and vice president and member of the board of directors of the Garden City Estates.

Outside of these political and business careers, Woodruff had two wives, a daughter, and a son. His first wife, Cora, became gravely ill for quite some time before dying in 1904. She was buried beside their first child, a daughter named Minerva who died as an infant. A year later, Woodruff married Isabel Morrison. Woodruff's son John also attended Yale, but correspondence between father and son revealed that John was at times irresponsible and a disappointment to his successful father. John later married and participated in some of the same businesses that his father was active in.

Woodruff was also the first president of the Adelphi College Board of Trustees, serving from 1896-1908. During this time he was responsible for petitioning the New York State Board of Regents in 1896 to allow the college to be attended by both male and female students. After stepping down as president of the Board of Trustees, he remained active in the college and continued corresponding with the college's founder, Charles H. Levermore. They discussed topics ranging from school events to providing the school with typewriters from one of the several typewriter companies Woodruff was involved with.

In 1913, after an incredibly active political and business life in New York, Woodruff died suddenly after suffering a stroke while delivering a speech at the age of fifty-five.

List of authors and recipients