Library of Congress
SPOONER, John Coit (1843-1919)

SPOONER, JOHN COIT, a Senator from Wisconsin; born in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, Ind., January 6, 1843; moved to Wisconsin with his parents, who settled in Madison in 1859; attended the common schools and graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison 1864; during the Civil War enlisted as a private and was brevetted major at the close of the war; private and military secretary to the Governor of Wisconsin; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1867 and served as assistant attorney general of the State until 1870; moved to Hudson, Wis., and practiced law 1870-1884; member, State assembly 1872; member of the board of regents of Wisconsin University; elected on January 27, 1885, as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1885, to March 3, 1891; unsuccessful candidate for reelection; chairman, Committee on Claims (Forty-ninth through Fifty-first Congresses); unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin in 1892; moved to Madison in 1893; again elected to the United States Senate in 1897; reelected on January 27, 1903, and served from March 4, 1897, until his resignation, effective April 30, 1907; chairman, Committee on Relations with Canada (Fifty-fifth Congress), Committee on Rules (Fifty-fifth through Fifty-ninth Congresses); engaged in the practice of law in New York City; declined the positions of Secretary of the Interior and Attorney General in the Cabinet of President William McKinley in 1898 and 1901; declined the position of Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President William Howard Taft; practiced law in New York City; died in New York City, June 11, 1919; interment in Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Wis.

Brown University
Providence, RI
Papers: June 23, 1902. 1 letter. To Dorothy de Horsey.

Indiana State Library
Indianapolis, IN
Papers: Correspondence in Anna W. Wright collection, 1855-1911.

Knox College
Seymour Library
Galesburg, IL
Papers: 1 letter (September 16, 1888) in Post family papers, 1857-1895.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: 1855-1909 (bulk 1870-1907). 82 linear feet. Incoming letters and copies of outgoing correspondence with constituents, Republican party leaders, congressional colleagues, cabinet members, and prominent industrialists and railroad executives; legal documents; financial papers pertaining to railroads and other business activities; photographs; and printed matter. Finding aid.
Additional Papers: Correspondence in Nathan Appleton papers, 1860-1904; and Francis Bowler papers, 1867-1975.

State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Archives Division
Madison, WI
Papers: Newsclippings in William D. Connor scrapbooks, 1904-1924, available on 1 microfilm reel; and correspondence in W. D. Hoard papers, 1880-1918; Samuel W. Campbell papers, 1881-1931; and Richard Theodore Ely papers, 1812-1863.

  • Fowler, Dorothy Ganfield. John Coit Spooner: Defender of Presidents. New York: University Publishers, 1961.
  • Merrill, Horace Samuel, and Marion Galbraith Merrill. The Republican Command, 1897-1913. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1971.
  • Parker, James R. "The Business of Politics, the Politics of Business: The Career of John C. Spooner, 1868-1907.'' Maryland Historian 17 (Fall/Winter 1986): 39-53.
  • ___. "Paternalism and Racism: Senator John C. Spooner and American Minorities, 1897-1907.'' Wisconsin Magazine of History 57 (Spring 1974): 195-200.
  • ___. "Senator John C. Spooner: Advocate of the American Empire, 1899-1906.'' Maryland Historian 5 (Fall 1974): 113-29.
  • ___. "Senator John C. Spooner, 1897-1907.'' Ph.D. dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, 1972.