This collection contains the personal papers of William Lorimer. Materials include correspondence, newspaper articles, and publications. The majority of the collection focuses on Lorimer's political career during the early twentieth century.
William Lorimer (1861-1934) was born in Manchester, England and immigrated to the United States in 1865. His family moved to the West Side of Chicago in 1870, where Lorimer worked a number of different jobs. In 1884, he married Susan K. Mooney, with whom he had eight children. Lorimer organized a political machine in Chicago's West Side, bringing together several groups that represented working-class and immigrant voters. From 1895-1901 and 1903-1909, Lorimer represented the Illinois Second District in the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1909, Lorimer was elected to the Senate seat. Bribery and corruption allegations surrounding his election, however, resulted in him being ousted from the Senate in 1911. Lorimer spent the remainder of his life in politics and business, and his activities included advising William "Big Bill"?? Thompson (1867-1944), mayor of Chicago, whose center of support was located in Lorimer's old territory.
The collection is organized into four series: Correspondence, Newspaper Clippings, Publications, and Miscellaneous.
The Correspondence series (1912-1934) includes correspondence documenting Lorimer's political rise, fall, and the aftermath. Lorimer's correspondents include politicians such as Oscar De Priest, Oscar Carlstrom, George F. Harding, and General Benjamin Herrera. Lorimer often discusses the political climate of Chicago in his letters. In his later correspondence, Lorimer indicates his plans to make a political comeback and run for reelection.
The various newspaper clippings primarily cover the early and later years of Lorimer's political career. Publication materials include book chapters about Chicago political history.
Walter M. Lorimer, William Lorimer's grandson, loaned the collection to the Library for photocopying in 1973. In May of 2013, Suzanne Lorimer Parsons, granddaughter of William Lorimer, donated additional photocopies.