Boss Rule in the Gilded Age: Matt Quay of Pennsylvania

By James A. Kehl | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

DURING my early years in the history profession, I enjoyed a colleague who was "trigger-quick" to denounce any conclusion that he suspected to be based merely on inference or conjecture. One learned to expect his cryptic "no documents, no history" which certainly has relevance to this manuscript. Without the documents given to me by Colonel Stanley Quay, Senator Matthew Stanley Quay's grandson, this history of Pennsylvania's most enigmatic boss would have been impossible. I am grateful not only for the colonel's gift, but also for the enlightened attitude that he and his brother Richard have displayed. They realized that their grandfather was one of the most controversial figures in American politics, but did not hesitate to have his career analyzed objectively. When handing over the senator's papers that still remained in the family, Colonel Quay sagely remarked: "Grandfather belongs to history; make of him devil, saint, or what you will." As expected, I found some devil and some saint, but in between were also many clues concerning the functioning of the nation's political process.

In addition to the Quays, I am indebted to W. Scott Moore and W. E. Clyde Todd, both from the senator's hometown of Beaver, who provided their youthful impressions of Boss Matt Quay. Also in the early phase of my study Professor Stanley Hirshson, Queens College, City University of New York, assisted in my overview of the senator's career by sharing a few research notes on the Quay era.

The primary repositories that supplemented these personal contributions were the Library of Congress and the University of Pittsburgh's Archives of Industrial Society. The William L. Clements Library at the University of

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