Mark Graves
Scrapbooks, 1917-1921

SC20230

Quantity: 9 Boxes (3.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Gift, January 1992
Processed By: Susan Malbin, Student Intern SUNYA, January 1995

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Biographical Note:

Mark Graves was New York State Tax Commissioner from 1923 to 1931 and from 1933 until his retirement in 1942.

Graves was born in 1877, graduated from Wellsville High School 1897, clerked and graduated from Buffalo Law School 1902, when he was admitted to the bar. After five years in private practice, he entered the State Comptroller’s Office in 1907. He remained in State Government for 35 years until his retirement, due to ill health, in 1942. In 1915 he had become chief of the Bureau of Municipal Accounts. He was appointed State Tax Commissioner for the first time in 1923. From 1931 to 1933 he was Director of the State Budget; then he was reappointed to the Tax Commission Office where he remained until 1942, serving under four governors.

Graves was active in Democrat Party politics in New York State from the time he was admitted to the bar and made an unsuccessful attempt to win the party’s nomination for governor in 1938. He corresponded with prominent Democrat Party leaders and office holders both state and national. He was a friend of Al Smith, Herbert Lehman and Franklin D. Roosevelt, among others.

In 1903 he married Clara Belle Gale and they had three daughters: Evelyn, Mildred, and Eleanore.

Scope and Contents Note:

This group of ten scrapbooks assembled by Graves that consist chiefly of newspaper clippings related to his career in government and politics as well as his personal and family life from 1917 to 1942. The clippings are primarily newspaper accounts of his professional speeches or activities and published talks. The clippings cover State taxation policies in all aspects in which he, Graves, was involved; political events to which he was invited, and personal family clippings about his daughters’ activities. There are no clippings for 1930 through 1932 when he was not Tax Commissioner, but Director of the State Budget, nor are there clippings for 1939 through 1940 when he was ill.

Interspersed throughout the scrapbooks are letters he received from prominent political figures: Alfred E. Smith, Herbert Lehman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as Albany and New York City political figures. Of his few personal letters that are included in the scrapbooks, most are copies of letters he wrote to his third daughter, Eleanore, while she was away at Mount Holyoke College, together with a few of her letters.

The clippings, in general, are in chronological order with the exception of those in the second half of 1938 which deal with his attempt to obtain the gubernatorial nomination. These clippings follow 1939 in Scrapbook IX. Scrapbook X concludes with his obituaries in 1942. Included in the scrapbooks are dinner menus and various mementos or ephemera from inaugural or ceremonial events he attended. Graves seems to have included any clipping that mentioned his name, even in passing.

These newspaper clippings would be useful for anyone seeking secondary accounts of New York State’s tax policies and the implementation of these policies, in so far as Graves participated.

Graves spoke at many events and, while the texts of his speeches are not included in the Scrapbook clippings, the basic reported versions of his speeches are, as are the printed texts of short speeches or published articles.

Container List:

Box Volume Contents
    State Taxation, Political Events, and “Personal/Family”
1 I October 1917-1926
  II 1926-1928
2 III 1928-1931 (no clippings for 1931)
3 IV 1932-1933 Depression
4 V 1933-1935
5 VI 1935-1937 (Clippings related to “Dutch” Shultz and liquor tax)
6 VII 1937-1939
7 VIII 1938 (Electoral campaign letters and clippings on gubernatorial nomination attempt)
8 IX 1940 (Midway through scrapbook are more clippings from 1938; )
9 X 1942 (Retirement/Obituaries)
Last Updated: July 8, 2010