Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


James P. Aylward Papers

Dates: 1932-1968. Bulk Dats: 1932-1936.

Jackson County Democratic Committee Chairman, 1918-1936; Missouri State Democratic Committee Chairman, 1934-1940; Democratic National Committeeman from Missouri, 1936-1944.

The papers of James P. Aylward relate to his work with the Democratic Party in Missouri during the 1932 and 1936 Presidential campaigns, and the 1934 Senatorial campaign of Harry S. Truman. The collection consists mainly of speeches delivered by Aylward, encouraging eligible voters to register and pledging support for the Democratic ticket. Also included is correspondence from his colleagues at the national Democratic headquarters in Washington, urging maximum effort in the 1934 and 1936 elections.

See also James P. Aylward oral history interview.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Less than one-half of one linear foot (approximately 90 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: The Truman Library has received no donation of copyright in the papers of James P. Aylward. Copyright interest in writings in the collection presumably remains with the authors of the documents or their heirs.
Processed by: Erwin J. Mueller (1968).
Updated by: Chelsea Cassell (2003) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and Amy Williams.


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1885 Born, Peoria, Illinois
c. 1903 Entered Kansas City School of Law
1908 Admitted to Bar; began practice with Frank Walsh's law firm in Kansas City
1918-1936 Jackson County Democratic Committee Chairman
1934-1940 Missouri State Democratic Committee Chairman
1936-1944 Democratic National Committeeman from Missouri
1952 Spearheaded a coalition that successfully supported Stuart Symington for the U.S. Senate
1982 (July 22) Died, Kansas City, Missouri

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of James P. Aylward relate to his service as a leader of the Democratic Party in Jackson County and Missouri during the 1930s. Most of the collection consists of campaign speeches by Aylward in behalf of the Democratic tickets in the 1932, 1934, and 1936 elections. Also included is correspondence from Democratic National Committee Chairman James Farley and other party leaders regarding the 1934 and 1936 elections, and a small amount of correspondence relating to the donation of Aylward's papers to the Truman Library in 1968. The collection composes of one series, a Subject File.

As Democratic Committee Chairman in Jackson County, Aylward worked to unite the Democratic factions into one harmonious group and present a unified front against the Republicans. Under his leadership, Jackson County Democrats developed one of the strongest, most powerful, and most efficient political organizations in the state. During this time, Aylward served as an adviser to Democratic boss Tom Pendergast and his nephew James. Pendergast urged Aylward to run for the U.S. Senate in 1934, but Aylward declined and instead recommended Judge Harry S. Truman of the Jackson County Court as a candidate. The collection includes Aylward's statement declining to run for the Senate, as well as a speech he delivered during the 1934 campaign endorsing Truman as a candidate who would support Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.

After learning of vote fraud connected with the Pendergast machine, Aylward severed his alliance with the political boss. His papers include a synopsis of the election laws governing the 1936 general election in Jackson County. Though the Pendergast machine was corrupted by scandal in the late 1930s, Aylward remained a powerful force in Missouri Democratic politics.

The Truman Library has an oral history interview with Aylward (no. 430), which describes his service with the Democratic Party. The oral history interviews of Jennie Johnson (no. 471), Tom L. Evans (no. 28), Rufus B. Burrus (no. 457), Mildred Lee Dryden (no. 12), and Harry H. Vaughan (nos. 11, 408) are also relevant.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1 SUBJECT FILE, 1932-1968 (Bulk Date Span: 1932-1936)
Speeches, correspondence, and other items related to James P. Aylward's service with the Democratic Party as Jackson County and Missouri State Chairman, the 1932 and 1936 Presidential elections, and the 1934 Senatorial election of Harry S. Truman. Arranged chronologically except for the first folder.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST
    SUBJECT FILE, 1932-1968 (Bulk Date Span, 1932-1936)
Box 1
  • Cross References and Acquisitions
  • 1932 Presidential Campaign
  • 1934 Elections and Correspondence
  • 1936 Presidential Campaign

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]