Guide to the Edward A. Rumely papers
1904-1959

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Rumely, Edward A. (Edward Aloysius), 1882-1964
Title: Edward A. Rumely papers
Dates: 1904-1959 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 3.0 linear feet (5 containers)
Collection Number: Coll 122
Summary: Edward A. Rumely (1882-1964) was a physician, a progressive educator, and a political activist. He was an outspoken opponent of the New Deal, active in stabilizing farm prices, a central figure in several powerful Constitutional organizations, and the respondent in a landmark First Amendment case, U.S. v. Rumely. The Rumely papers are part of the Conservative and Libertarian collections.
Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon, 97403-1299
(541) 346-3068
spcarref@uoregon.edu

Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

Edward Aloysius Rumely (1882-1964) was born in La Porte, Indiana, the eldest of thirteen. Edward was the son of Joseph Rumely, and grandson of Meinrad Rumely, a German immigrant and founder of a successful tractor company. At the age of 16, Edward entered Notre Dame University, and subsequently spent a year at Ruskin Hall in Oxford and a year at Heidelberg University in Germany, where he became acquainted with Rudolf Diesel. In 1902 he entered Freiburg University to study medicine, graduating magna cum laude in 1906.

In 1907, Rumely founded the Interlaken School in Rolling Prairie, Indiana. It was based on the German Landerziehungsheim model, which engaged the students in the countryside as well as in the classroom, as used at Schloss Glarisegg in Switzerland, and as discussed with the Gutermann family. The Interlaken boys lived in tents and built their own classrooms. In 1910 Rumely married one of the teachers, Fanny Scott (1877-1979). Fanny was the daughter of Emmet Hoyt and Mary Relief Niles Scott; she graduated from La Porte High School in 1895; attended Smith College and graduated from that institution in 1900 and returned to La Porte to become a teacher. The school closed in 1918, in the anti-German backlash from World War I.

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) enrolled at Interlaken in 1918. After the school closed, Rumely served as a mentor, arranging to have Noguchi attend the public high school and live with a friend. In 1922 Rumely set up a summer apprenticeship with sculptor Gutzon Borglum in Connecticut, raised funds for Noguchi to begin premedical studies at Columbia University, and later rented the first studio for the sculptor.

From 1907 to 1913, Edward Rumely was also active in running the family business, established in 1853 by Meinrad and Jacob Rumely. He was interested in the manufacturing techniques and the philosophy of Henry Ford. Rumely took over management from his uncle William and used his technological interest to develop the Rumely OilPull Farm Tractor, which economically burned kerosene. He acquired related companies but overextended the company, and the family lost control in 1915. The Rumely Company was continued under other management until it was absorbed by Allis-Chalmers in 1931. In addition to employing people at the Rumley factory, in 1913 the family built the Rumley Hotel, now an apartment house, in honor of Meinrad, as a contribution to the La Porte economy.

Edward Rumely moved to New York in 1915, and became editor-in-chief and publisher of the New York Evening Mail. His goal was to present, without bias, the news and views of the Central Powers as well as the Allies, advocate social and industrial reorganization, and protest the British blockade of Germany. Rumely was a friend of former president Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), who used the Mail as a mouthpiece. Other contributors included Samuel Sidney McClure, (1857-1949) from 1915 to 1918, and H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) from 1917 to 1918. Rumely's ownership of the paper embroiled him in the first of three noted court cases. In July 1918 he was arrested and then convicted of perjury related to violation of the "Trading with the Enemy Act," using undeclared German backing to buy the paper. The case, Rumely v. McCarthy, 250 US 283, went to the Supreme Court in 1919. The appeal was denied but on January 19, 1925 President Coolidge commuted Rumely's sentence to a month and pardoned him.

From 1923 to 1928 Rumely was involved in the introduction of vitamins to the retail market. In 1925, he organized the Super Diesel Company, and from 1926 to 1930 he assisted farmers in obtaining loans through the Agricultural Bond and Credit Company. This was the beginning of his life's work: educating the public on monetary reform, farm credits in agriculture, and the value of the Constitution.

Rumely believed that deflation was destabilizing American agriculture, and that monetary reform was necessary. In 1932 he began forming the Committee for the Nation for Rebuilding Purchasing Power and Prices, or Committee for the Nation for short. Rumely served as executive secretary. The Committee sought to take the nation off the gold standard and regulate the dollar. Supported by economists George F. Warren of Cornell and Irving Fisher of Yale, Rumely corresponded with President-elect Franklin Roosevelt, influential congressmen like Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, and Henry Wallace, who joined the group's executive committee shortly before he became Secretary of Agriculture. Roosevelt soon took the country off the gold standard and adopted the Agricultural Adjustment Act to support farm prices.

The Committee for the Nation became disillusioned with Roosevelt by 1936, and the following years transformed into the National Committee to Uphold Constitutional Government. Led by newspaper publisher Frank Ernest Gannett (1876-1957) and publicly advocated by radio priest Father Charles Coughlin (1891-1979), the Committee led opposition to Roosevelt's 1937 federal reorganization plan and his packing of the Supreme Court. In 1938, as executive secretary, Rumely was charged with contempt of Congress's Special Committee to Investigate Lobbying Activities for refusing to surrender the papers of the National Committee to Uphold Constitutional Government. Rumely was acquitted of contempt in 1942.

Early in 1941, Rumely helped establish the Committee for Constitutional Government, serving as a trustee and executive secretary. In a mass mailing, the group distributed books The Road Ahead by John T. Flynn, The Constitution of the United States by Thomas J. Norton, Compulsory Medical Care and the Welfare State by Melchior Palyi, and Why the Taft-Hartley Law by Irving B. McCann. Buchanan's House Select Committee on Lobbying Activities requested the names of those who received the book, believing that a tax evasion movement was involved. Rumely again refused to comply, citing the First Amendment, and was convicted. In the landmark decision of United States v. Rumely, 345 U.S. 41, the Supreme Court upheld a reversal of conviction made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

In ill health, Dr. Rumely returned to La Porte in 1959 and devoted his time and energy disseminating information on cancer. He assisted in various medical advances, including the improvement of hearing aids and the promotion of cytology (the Pap test) for early cancer detection, and was an early opponent of cigarette smoking.

His wife, Fanny, stated that his "great gift of organization made him a pioneer in education, industry, economics, and mailing." Edward A. Rumely died in 1964.

Content Description

The Edward A. Rumely Papers touch on many aspects of Rumely's life, but focus on the first of his two Supreme Court cases. Rumely's close family and intellectual ties to Germany and his outspoken editorials in support of Germany in the years leading up to World War I were important elements that led to the charges against him in the Evening Mail case, Rumely v. McCarthy.

The Autobiography is an unpublished manuscript dictated by Rumely to his daughter in 1949, and includes several other minor manuscripts. The Biography and list of influential books was compiled by Rumely's wife, Fanny, about 1965.

The Rumely v. McCarthy (Evening Mail case) 1918-1924 consists of court exhibits related to the case of Rumely v. McCarthy, 250 US 283, in which Rumely was convicted of perjury (and later pardoned) related to violation of the "Trading with the Enemy Act," using undeclared German backing to buy the New York Evening Mail. This is the most substantial portion of the collection, and consists of official documents including a lengthy biographical statement, some 3,000 leaves of correspondence, arranged in a combined subject-name alphabet, and Rumely's comment on daily headlines through the duration of the trial. Additional copies of these documents are held at other institutions.

Two files of Buchanan Committee (U.S. v. Rumely) relate to Buchanan's House Select Committee on Lobbying Activities and its attempts to get the mailing list of the Committee for Constitutional Government, which resulted in the landmark First Amendment case, United States v. Rumely, 345 U.S. 41.

The Memorabilia series includes publications of Interlaken School, publication relating to the dietary supplement Vegex, copies of Rumely's publications, personal memorabilia.

Twenty-six photographs include images that depict the Rumely family, and snapshots from Rumely's visits to Schloss Glarisegg in Switzerland, which led to the founding of Interlaken.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use :  

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation :  

[Identification of item], Edward A. Rumely Papers, Coll 122, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information :  

Gift of Fanny Scott Rumely in 1968.

Separated Materials :  

Five volumes were removed to the main stacks:

Lippmann, Walter. Liberty and the News. New York: Harcourt Brace & Howe, 1920

McClure, S.S. My autobiography. New York: Magazine Publishers, Inc. 1914

Patten, James A. In the wheat pit. Reprinted from the Saturday Evening Post, 1927

Roosevelt, Theodore. America and the world war. New York: Scriber, 1918.

Williamson, Samuel T. Frank Gannett, a biography. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1940.

Related Materials :  

The primary collection of Edward A. Rumely papers are housed at the Lilly Library at Indiana University.

Processing Note :  

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  Autobiography 1949
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
1 1 Autobiography, dictated by Rumely to his daughter, Dr. Niles Newton. Unpublished carbon, 400 leaves. Chapters 2-12
1 2 Autobiography, dictated by Rumely to his daughter, Dr. Niles Newton. Unpublished carbon, 400 leaves. Chapters 13-21
1 3 Autobiography, dictated by Rumely to his daughter, Dr. Niles Newton. Unpublished carbon, 400 leaves. Chapters 22-25. Includes manuscripts: "Court Packing," "The Buchanan Committee," and "Committee for the Nation, Parts I and II." 1949

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Series II:  Biography
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
1 4 Biography: "The writings of Edward A. Rumely and the books which he distributed as remembered by his wife, Fanny Scott Rumely." Photocopy, 25 leaves. Includes photocopy of 1925 pardon by President Calvin Coolidge 1965?

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Series III:  Rumely v. McCarthy ( Evening Mail case), 1918-1924
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
1 5 Resume of case. Photocopy of New York Times Index 1918-1924
1 6 Supreme Court brief. "In the Supreme Court of the United States, October term, 1918, no. 874." New York: B.H. Tyrrel, printer. 57 pages October 1918
1 7 Stenographer's minutes/Court transcript. Bound transcript of testimony. Vol. 1 only November 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1920
1 8 Outline of defense, revised. #394. Bound, 65 leaves 1919
1 9 Trial brief of facts for Defense. Bound, 612 leaves 1920
1 10 Evidence: documentary evidence chart. 56 pages, oversized. Corrected to March 1, 1920
Subseries A: Evidence, biographical statement
Box
Folder
1 11 Evidence: biographical statement. Identified as "RS." 719 leaves
1 12 Evidence: biographical statement. Identified as "RS." 719 leaves
1 13 Evidence: biographical statement. Identified as "RS." 719 leaves
1 14 Evidence: biographical statement. Identified as "RS." 719 leaves
Subseries B: Evidence, correspondence
Box
Folder
2 1 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 728-1000
2 2 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 1001-1225
2 3 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 1226-1417
2 4 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 1418-1600
2 5 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 1601-1800
2 6 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 1801-1900
2 7 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 2003-2250
2 8 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 2251-2500
2 9 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 2501-2750
2 10 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 3001-3250
2 11 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 3251-3486
2 12 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 3504-3750
2 13 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 3751-4000
2 14 Evidence: correspondence. Identified as "BV." Numbered leaves 728-4188. Copies of letters sent and received, arranged in combined subject-name alphabet. Leaves 4001-4188
Subseries C: Exhibits, personal comments on daily headlines
Box
Folder
2 15 Exhibits: personal comments on daily headlines. Identified as "RC."
2 16 Exhibits: personal comments on daily headlines. Identified as "RC."
2 17 Exhibits: personal comments on daily headlines. Identified as "RC."
2 18 Exhibits: personal comments on daily headlines. Identified as "RC."
2 19 Exhibits: personal comments on daily headlines. Identified as "RC."
2 20 Personal letters, many from Theodore Roosevelt. Original or photocopied. Copies also appear in Evidence Correspondence, above

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Series V:  Buchanan Committee (U.S. v. Rumely)
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
2 21 Buchanan Committee correspondence 1951-1952
2 22 Buchanan Committee publications 1951-1952

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Series VI:  Memorabilia
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
3 1 Vegex, Inc. (dietary supplement made from yeast) promotional materials and publications 1926
3 2 Supreme Court packing, correspondence and news transcripts 1937-1938
3 3 Letters of congratulations on retirement 1959
3 4 Committee for Constitutional Government letters, document on Borglum head of Lincoln 1952
3 5 Publications of Interlaken School. "Interlaken Inklings" yearbook and promotional materials 1907-1917
3 6 Letters to Vincent Bendix 1932
3 6 Letters to Frank E. Gannett 1937-1938
3 6 Letters concerning E. Parmalee Prentice 1951
3 7 Family Christmas newsletters 1927-1935, 1937-1939, 1945-1955, 1957
3 8 Publications, primarily offprints and pamphlets. Includes American Sea Power and The Gravest 366 Days, compiled editorials from Evening Mail 1916-1917

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Series VII:  Photographs (PH088), 1880-1929
1.25 linear feet
Description
Dates
PH088_01: August 1919. [Workmen posed in front of Rumely tractor factory. Some identified.]
1.0 photographic print
10 x 12 inches
1919 Aug
PH088_02: Fanny Scott Rumely in High School. [Portrait of young woman, wife of Edward A. Rumely.]
1.0 photographic print
10 x 8 inches
1895
PH088_03: Landerziehungsheim, Glarisegg [Edward A. Rumely and headmaster, holding loving cup, with group of uniformed German school boys.]
1.0 photographic print
8 x 10 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_04: Edward A. Rumely and Family: Isabel S., Mary Riling [?], Miles P., E. Scott R., Edward A. and Fanny S.
1.0 photographic print
8 x 10 inches
1925 Jun
PH088_05: Meinrad Rumely, founder of M. Rumely Co., threshing machines with steam engines, now Allis-Chalmers. [Portrait of Edward A. Rumely's grandfather (1823-1904).]
1.0 photographic print
9 x 6 inches
1890 c
PH088_06: Dr. Edward A. Rumely
1.0 photographic print
8.5 x 6.5 inches
1910 c
PH088_07: Fanny Scott [Portrait of Fanny Scott Rumely as a girl, with her two sisters.]
1.0 photographic print
6.5 x 4.5 inches
Gehrig of Chicago, IL
1882 Sep
PH088_08: Prof. von Schultz-Gaevernitz, University of Freiburg. Member of the Reichstag who demanded the resignation of the Kaiser, Kaiser fled to Holland instead. [Portrait.]
1.0 photographic print
6.5 x 4.5 inches
Ruf, C. Th. of Freiburg, Germany
1920s c
PH088_09: Glarisegg, Switzerland, on Lake Constance. [View of Schloss Glarisegg with lake in background.]
1.0 photographic print
5 x 7 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_10: Glarisegg. [School children lined up in courtyard of Schloss Glarisegg school complex.]
1.0 photographic print
3 x 4.5 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_11: Glarisegg. [View of path through forest, with snow.]
1.0 photographic print
6 x 4.5 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_12: [Boys working in trenches with shovels at Glarisegg, Switzerland.]
1.0 photographic print
6 x 4.5 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_13: [3 boys with shovels near edge of lake]
1.0 photographic print
5 x 6 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_14: Glarisegg "New School." [Boys playing rugby.]
1.0 photographic print
5 x 6 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_15: Switzerland [View of lake and mountains.]
1.0 photographic print
4.5 x 6 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_16: Glarisegg. [Children playing field hockey.]
1.0 photographic print
3.5 x 4.5 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_17: Glarisegg School. [Boys on field playing soccer or rugby.]
1.0 photographic print
4 x 5 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_18: Glarisegg. [Boys skinny dipping in river.]
1.0 photographic print
3 x 4.5 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_19: Herr Tueberbuhler, headmaster of Landerziehungsheim, Glarisegg. [Man poses in front of Schloss Glarisegg, in suit with short pants.]
1.0 photographic print
3.5 x 5.5 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_20: [View of Villa Orehta. Large buildings behind solid fence. With laundry drying in front of fence. Message to Rumely on back.]
1.0 photographic print
3.5 x 5.5 inches
1910 c
PH088_21: [Montage of German architectural details, imprinted for Julius Gutermann family's greetings.]
1.0 photographic print
3.5 x 5.5 inches
Baumgartner, E.
1910-1910
PH088_22: Hebelhof, Gasthof und Pension beim Zeiger, Feldberg, Baden. [View of guesthouses on a snowy slope. Message to Fanny on reverse.]
1.0 photographic print
3.5 x 5.5 inches
Schaller, v. L. of Stuttgart, Germany
1911
PH088_23: Last photo of Dr. Rumely with youngest grandchild, Warren Newton, 1963. [Portrait of Rumely with boy.]
1.0 photographic print
7 x 5 inches
1963
PH088_24: Family of Edward A. Rumely and his father-in-law, Emmet Hoyt Scott, former mayor of La Porte. [Men seated on garden bench with Fanny and children.]
1.0 photographic print
5 x 7 inches
1918-1919
PH088_25: Gasthaus zum Loiden. [Men and carriage posed in front of large inn.
1.0 photographic print
4.5 x 3.5 inches
1910s-1920s
PH088_26: Meinrad (1823-1904) & Teresa Rumely [Portrait of grandparents of Edward A. Rumely.]
1.0 photographic print
1.5 x 2 inches
1910s-1920s

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Subjects

  • Personal Names :
  • Ford, Henry, 1863-1947
  • Pinchot, Gifford, 1865-1946
  • Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919
  • Corporate Names :
  • Committee for Constitutional Government
  • Interlaken School
  • United States--Congress--House--Select Committee on Lobbying Activities
  • Subject Terms :
  • Conservatism
  • Contemps of legislative bodies--United States
  • Court records

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