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Cyrus E. Woods Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS112
The papers of Cyrus E. Woods (1861-1938), diplomat, lawyer, and politician, consist of .25 linear feet of correspondence (436 items in all). These papers, bound together in a single volume with a complete index at the front, cover the first year (1912) of Woods' term as minister to Portugal. They are his official papers with the in-coming correspondence as well as retained carbons of Woods' replies, the latter group all being signed by him. The incoming letters include from official communications with the State Department in Washington, correspondence with the Portuguese government in Lisbon and requests for assistance by Americans either visiting Portugal or seeking favors from the Portuguese government. Correspondents include such statesmen as Philander C. Knox, Huntington Wilson, and John Bassett. A series to and from Arthur Macdonald are important; he was the father of the study of abnormal psychology. Perhaps the most important section of the archives is correspondence with the American consul in the Azores. American-Portuguese citizens would return to Portugal, primarily to the Azores, to visit relatives or to inaugurate business ventures. For the most part they were born in Portuguese fishing communities in California and Massachusetts, and many in 1912 were living in the New Bedford and Fall River areas. If they were staying for some length of time in Portugal they were required to fill out a detailed 'Certificate of Registration' for the American consul which would then be forwarded to the Ambassador in Lisbon. These certificates are present and constitute a wealth of statistical and cultural information about the Portuguese in America. The Cyrus E. Woods Papers are an important source for any scholars studying Portuguese American diplomatic relations, American foreign relations, and the history of the Portuguese in America.

Extent: .25 linear feet Number of Boxes: 1 Date Span: 1912


  • 1912

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0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Biographical and historical note

Woods was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1889 and by 1912 was one of the foremost corporation lawyers in the state, practicing in Pittsburgh. In his early career, he had become closely affiliated with the Mellons in Republican politics and for a time was leader of the Western Pennsylvania Republican machine, then under Mellon control. Later he served as general counsel of the Pittsburgh Coal Co. and represented the Mellon banking interests in some of the celebrated railroad cases of the time. In 1912 he was appointed by President William Howard Taft as minister to Portugal. However, in 1915 he returned to his native state to become secretary of the commonwealth. In 1921 he was once again sent abroad, this time Warren G. Harding appointed him ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Spain (1921-23), and later Japan (1923-24). On his return to the United States he became active in state politics and ended his public career in 1930 as attorney general of Pennsylvania. Woods became minister to Portugal at a critical time in that country's history. Four years previous, King Charles and the Crown Prince were assassinated in the streets of Lisbon. Emmanuel II came to the throne but in 1910 a revolution took place, and a republican form of government was proclaimed with Theophilus Braga, a native of the Azores, as President. He immediately carried out various radical measures, including the abolishing of religious orders, the Senate, and all hereditary privileges and titles. It was into this arena that Woods stepped in 1912, the year from which the papers in this collection date.


Provenance: Gift of Frederick B. Scheetz, December, 1986 Processed by: Michael J. North Date: October 19, 1990
Cyrus E. Woods Papers
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
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Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository