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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Thomas J. Bray Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1905-1967
Creator: Bray, Thomas J. (1877-1967)
Extent: 112.00 items.
Collection Number: MSC0251
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Trial lawyer of Oskaloosa, State Iowa and Albert B. Cummins campaign manager. Speeches, correspondence, photographs, biographical sketch, etc. relating to Bray's political concerns and private life.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs Box 1

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: The papers of Thomas J. Bray were given to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1971 by his children, Josephine Bray Hairston, James F. Bray, and Charles M. Bray.

Preferred Citation: Thomas J. Bray Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Thomas James Bray (1877-1967) was born in Vermont. His parents moved the family to Grinnell, Iowa when he was thirteen years old. There he graduated from high school in 1895. After completing a course in stenography and business at the Capital City Commercial College in Des Moines, Iowa, he returned to Grinnell and took a job as an official court reporter. He remained in that job until 1905, however in the meantime he was studying law with Judge John T. Scott. In 1904, Bray was admitted to the bar. His first law practice was in Grinnell, Iowa. In 1916, he moved his practice to Oskaloosa where he earned a reputation s an excellent trial lawyer. He belonged to the Mahaska County Bar Association as well as both the Iowa State and American Bar Associations. Bray owned a four hundred acre stock farm in Mahaska County and helped organize the Eleven State Corn Belt Convention held in Des Moines in 1926.

Active in the Republican Party, Bray helped to manage the campaigns of Iowa governor and U.S. Senator Albert B. Cummins. He also supported the movement to nominate Frank O. Lowden for U.S. President in 1928.

The papers of Thomas J. Bray date from 1905 to 1967 and consist of 112 items arranged chronologically within an alphabetical sequence. The papers reflect his political concerns with speeches on subjects ranging from Albert B. Cummins and Theodore Roosevelt to farming and Oskaloosa, Iowa. A folder of correspondence includes letters from Karl M. LeCompte, Jack Miller, Raymond Moley, and Dan W. Turner. A biographical sketch, photographs, a scrapbook, and clippings provide insight into other aspects of Bray's life and legal career.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL
Series 2: SPEECHES

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical sketch of Thomas J. Bray by his daughter, Josephine Bray Hairston.
  • Correspondence - 1925-1967
    Including T.L.S. by Jack Miller, Dan Turner, Raymond Moley, Bert Bandstra, Karl M. LeComte, and John Kyl
  • Mahaska County Non-Partisan Self Government Club
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Photographs of Thomas J. Bray
  • Photographs used in Mr. Bray's book, Rebirth of Freedom
  • Box 2:
  • Scrapbook
  • Series 2: SPEECHES
  • Box 2:
  • Security of Human Rights Speech - 1961
  • Reciprocity as it affects the farmer, Poweshiek County Corn Belt Meat Producers' Association Convention, Grinnell, Iowa, December 16 - 1905
  • Campaign address - 1906
  • Later campaign address - 1912
  • Introductory remarks at meeting of Governor George W. Clark at Colonial Theater, Grinnell, May 29 - 1914
  • Speech, July 4 - 1914
  • Address at 35th Annual Reunion of Tama County Veterans Association, Tama, Iowa, September 8 - 1914
  • Memorial address, General Shield's Council of Knights of Columbus, Ottumwa, Iowa, November 19 - 1916
    2 copies
  • Speech, July 4 - 1920
  • Address to a convention of supervisors, engineers, and auditors from 12 countries in Southeastern Iowa, City Hall, Oskaloosa, March 10 - 1931
  • Knights of Columbus, Washington, Iowa, November 29 - 1931
  • Oskaloosa Rotary Club, August 1 - 1933
  • Oskaloosa Kiwanis Club, February 16 - 1942
  • 75th birthday party - 1952?
  • Speech supporting Cummins for Senator
  • Elbert W. Clark Eulogy
  • Catholicism and Americanism
  • The law as a profession
  • Endorsement of Cummins for Senator
  • PTA talk on uncontrolled temper among children
  • On Theodore Roosevelt
  • The American Bar Association
  • Bear Creek Drainage Proposition
  • Undated and untitled speeches

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Cummins, Albert Baird, 1850-1926
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919

Corporate Names:
Mahaska County Non-Partisan Self Government Club


Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa
United States -- Iowa -- Mahaska County
United States -- Iowa -- Oskaloosa

Genre/Form of Materials: