Frank D. McKay Papers: 1909-1965
Summary Information
Title: Frank D. McKay Papers
Creator: McKay, Frank D., 1883-1965
Inclusive dates: 1909-1965
Extent: 3 linear feet
Extent: 2 oversize volumes
Abstract:
Grand Rapids, Michigan businessman and politician; correspondence, business papers; scrapbooks, and photographs.
Call number: 851800 Aa 2; AC
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection came from the estate of Frank and Agnes McKay (donor no. 5176) in December 1971.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Copyright is not held by the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Frank D. McKay Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 4, 1883, Frank D. McKay left school to work in various manual labor jobs. He was a natural businessman however. As many of his fellow workers were foreign born, McKay set up a small foreign money exchange business for them. He also established a private banking and investing business for these workers. Later on, he became an agent for a number of steamship lines and then branched out into the construction and financing of homes in the Grand Rapids area.

Early in his career, Frank McKay became involved in politics, organizing his friends and associates to back local candidates. He sought no office for himself until 1906 when he was appointed deputy county clerk and assignment clerk for the local circuit court. With his organizational skills, McKay built up an organization that gained control of the Kent County Republican Party, eventually becoming county chairman. Based upon his performance and growing power as a politician, McKay was elected state treasurer in 1924. He was twice re-elected, but did not seek a fourth term in 1930.

McKay preferred working behind the scenes of party politics, using his influence throughout the 1930s at state party conventions. In 1940, he was named a delegate to the Republican National Convention where he was a floor manager for Wendell Willkie. Following the convention, he served as a member of the Republican Party National Committee. At this time, McKay began to face legal problems. He was indicted in federal court in Detroit on charges of graft and conspiracy in connection with purchases by the State Liquor Control Commission. Although acquitted in 1942, these charges were brought in state court in 1944. McKay was again acquitted. Even so, McKay's political fortunes waned. He was removed from the Republican National Committee in 1944. He also lost control of the Kent County Republican organization to a local independent Republican group who called themselves the Home Front. And in 1950, a Citizens Action movement wrested control of Grand Rapids city government away from McKay and his political allies.

McKay remained successful as a businessman, owning and adding on to the Grand Rapids National Bank building, operating an insurance and realty businesses, and founding the Grand Rapids Times newspaper and acquiring the Grand Rapids Chronicle which two papers later merged into the weekly Michigan Times. He also owned a hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. He died January 12, 1965.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Frank D. McKay collection is divided into the following series: Correspondence; Topical Files; Business and financial papers; Newspaper clippings and scrapbooks; and Photographs.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Business records.
  • Elections -- Michigan -- 1958.
  • Grand Rapids (Mich.)
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1899-1916.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1917-1921.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1922-1928.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1929-1938.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1939-1945.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1946-1960.
  • Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1940.
  • Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1952.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1933-1953.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1953-1961.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1837-1950.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1951-
  • Buildings -- Michigan -- Grand Rapids.
  • Business enterprises -- Michigan -- Grand Rapids.
  • City and town life.
  • Clothing and dress -- 1951-1960.
  • Dance.
  • Dining rooms.
  • Entertainment.
  • Grand Rapids (Mich.)
  • Grand Rapids (Mich.) -- Buildings.
  • Grand Rapids (Mich.) -- Business enterprises.
  • Grand Rapids (Mich.) -- Street-railroads.
  • Grand Rapids (Mich.) -- Streets.
  • Hotels and taverns -- Florida -- Miami Beach.
  • Interiors.
  • Manners and customs.
  • Miami Beach (Fla.) -- Hotels and taverns.
  • Photography.
  • Street-railroads -- Michigan -- Grand Rapids.
  • Streets -- Michigan -- Grand Rapids.
  • Swimming pools.
  • Albums.
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Green, Fred W. (Fred Warren), 1872-1936.
  • McKay, Frank D., 1883-
  • Michigan. Dept. of Treasury.
  • Republican National Committee (U.S.)
  • Republican Party (Mich.)
  • Bal Harbour Hotel (Miami Beach, Fla.)
  • McKay, Frank D., 1883-
  • Adams, Sherman, 1899-1986.
  • Brake, D. Hale, 1891-1979.
  • Brucker, Wilber Marion, 1894-1968.
  • Comstock, William Alfred, 1877-1949.
  • Dewey, Thomas E. (Thomas Edmund), 1902-1971.
  • Dickinson, Luren Dudley, 1859-1943.
  • Farley, James A. (James Aloysius), 1888-1976.
  • Fitzgerald, Frank Dwight, 1885-1939.
  • Groesbeck, Alexander J. (Alexander Joseph), 1873-1953.
  • Hart, Philip A. (Philip Aloysius), 1912-1976.
  • Hoffman, Clare Eugene, 1875-1967.
  • Jenkins, Guy H.
  • Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973.
  • Mapes, Carl Edgar, 1874-1939.
  • Martin, Joseph William, 1884-1968.
  • Osborn, Chase S. (Chase Salmon), 1860-
  • Summerfield, Arthur Ellsworth, 1899-1972.
  • Vandenberg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951.
  • Willkie, Wendell L. (Wendell Lewis), 1892-1944.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Correspondence [series]
Box   1  
1918-1939 (10 folders)
 
Topical file [series]
Box   1  
Republican National Committee 1940-1944
Box   1  
Blue Water Bridge 1939
Box   1  
Testimonial dinner held for McKay 1942
Box   1  
Lincoln Day Banquet programs 1932-1950
Box   1  
Miscellanea 1920-1957
 
Business and financial papers [series]
Box   1  
1909-1917 (10 folders)
Box   2  
1918-1923 (5 folders)
 
Newspaper clippings and scrapbooks [series]
Box   2  
Newspaper clippings 1920-1965 (11 folders)
 
Scrapbooks
Box   2  
Republican politics 1918-1924
Box   2  
McKay's business and political activities 1912-1924
Box   3  
McKay trial 1940-1942
 
Republican politics 1939-1946
Box   3  
1939-1940
Box   3  
1944-1946
 
McKay's activities 1944-1946
Oversize Volume   1  
1944-1946
Oversize Volume   2  
1946-1965
 
Photographs [series]
Box   3  
Grand Rapids buildings and street views
Box   3  
Photograph Album 1955-1957
Box   3  
Photograph Album 1957-1959
Additional Descriptive Data
Selective Index to Correspondents
Adams, Sherman, 1899-1986.
  • 1958, Dec. 28, 1959, Jan. 1960
Brake, D. Hale, 1891-
  • Nov. 29, 1954, Dec. 10, 1954
Brucker, Wilber Marion, 1894-1968.
  • Sept. 19, 1932, 1956
Comstock, William Alfred, 1877-1949.
  • July 30, 1942
Dewey, Thomas E. (Thomas Edmund), 1902-1971.
  • June 1955
Dickinson, Luren Dudley, 1859-1943.
  • 1939
Farley, James Aloysius, 1888-
  • 1942
Fitzgerald, Frank Dwight, 1885-1939.
  • Jan. 4, 1935, Nov.12, 1936, Dec. 21, 1936, Aug. 29, 1938
Groesbeck, Alexander J. 1873-1953.
  • Oct. 14, 1924, July 8, 1948
Hart, Philip A. (Philip Aloysius), 1912-1976.
  • Aug. 28, 1958, Sept. 12, 1958
Hoffman, Clare Eugene, 1875-1967.
  • June 2, 1942, Mar. 27, 1944
Jenkins, Guy H.
  • May 28, 1952, June 9, 1952
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973.
  • June 13, 1961, 1960
Mapes, Carl Edgar, 1874-1939.
  • Jan. 12, 1918, Nov. 14, 1918, Nov. 21, 1934, Nov. 9, 1936
Martin, Joseph William, 1884-1968.
  • 1940, May 5, 1941, Feb. 13, 1942, June 3, 1942
Osborn, Chase S. (Chase Salmon), 1860
  • Oct. 9, 1934, Mar. 16, 1935, Dec. 23, 1935, Sept. 26, 1938, Oct. 5, 1938, May 14, 1940
Summerfield, Arthur Ellsworth, 1899-1972.
  • June 6, 1952, Jan. 16, 1953
Vandenberg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951.
  • June 8, 1932, Dec 5, 1932, June 1936, June 2, 1942, Dec. 18, 1942, 1944, Nov. 22, 1949, Sept. 1950
Willkie, Wendell L. (Wendell Lewis), 1892-1944.
  • Aug. 31, 1940