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Mayor Thomas Taggart Papers

Title: Mayor Thomas Taggart Papers
Date: 1942-1946
Collection Number: H036
 
Extent: 2.5 cubic feet
 
Repository: Atlantic City Heritage Collections (Heston Room), Atlantic City Free Public Library, 1 North Tennessee Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401, (609) 345-2269.
 
Preferred Citation: Mayor Thomas Taggart Papers, Atlantic City Heritage Collections, Atlantic City Free Public Library.
 
Creator: Mayor Thomas Taggart
 
IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ABOUT THE COLLECTION
 
Biographical/Historical Note:
Thomas D. Taggart, Jr. was the mayor of Atlantic City from 1940 to 1944. He was elected at the age of 37, becoming the youngest mayor in the history of Atlantic City at that time. He was born on April 18, 1903 in Philadelphia. He moved with his family to Atlantic City when he was six years old. His father was a chief surgeon at Atlantic City Hospital for 25 years. His grandfather was a United States Senator from Indiana and also held the position of the mayor of Indianapolis.
 
Mayor Taggart graduated Atlantic City High school and earned his law degree at Dickinson Law School. As a Republican, he held several political positions in Atlantic City and in New Jersey. He was an assemblyman from 1934-1937 and was appointed the Recorder of Atlantic City on March 17, 1936 for a term of three years. Taggart was also a New Jersey State Senator from 1937-1940, and was elected a commissioner of Atlantic City in May 1940. In May 1940, he was appointed mayor and held the office of Mayor at the same time he was completing his term of State Senator.
 
During his time as mayor, he took over command of the police department within the city and also campaigned to get rid of organized crime. He earned the name "Two-Gun Tommy" because he often carried two pistols and often assisted in different crime raids. Taggart was also mayor during World War II and was involved with bringing the United Nations Conference to Atlantic City in 1943. He worked with the Army to occupy several Atlantic City hotels during war. Taggart himself was persistent about joining the military, but was not able to because of a cataract in his left eye. He never married, and his sister Druscilla was the hostess at Taggart's formal gatherings.
 
He has been called one of the most controversial figures in Atlantic City history because of his desire to reduce corruption in the city and for having conflicts with other political figures in the city.After he was mayor, he returned to the private practice as a lawyer. In June 1948, he represented 34 taxpayers in instituting an investigation of municipal expenditures.

He died on September 5, 1950 at the age of 47 of a heart attack.
 
Scope and Content:
This collection consists of 14 World War II-era scrapbooks compiled during Mayor Taggart's administration, and one bound volume of copies of The Bug, which was a publication from United States Coast Guard, Atlantic City Training Station. The collection is in three boxes and is 2.5 cubic feet. For a list of different topics in each scrapbook, see the item listing.
 
While most of the scrapbooks in the collections contain newspaper clippings, there are a few items of correspondence included in some of these scrapbooks. Box 1 contains seven scrapbooks, with all items containing predominantly newspaper clippings. Item 1 has newspaper clippings relating to civilian defense, specifically the blackout, with these clippings ranging in date from May through December 1942. Item 2 contains newspaper clippings in 1942 and contains articles about Nucky's appeal, soldiers in Atlantic City, Lafayette Hotel, Air Corps at the Ambassador and Claridge Hotels, and training. Item 3 has newspaper clippings from September to December 1942 specifically about Armistice Day, vice raids, technical training, and command week. Item 4 contains newspaper clippings and correspondence regarding the army's occupation, and an attendance list at Special Meeting with Board of Directors and the city's business leaders in May 1943, with articles ranging in date from January through May 1943. Item 5, the scrapbook is labeled January through March 1943, but clippings are dated through March 1944. Also in this book is a copy of the ordinance relating to the blackouts in Atlantic City. Item 6 contains newspaper clippings, a statement from the mayor, and correspondence dated June to August 1943. This book includes information about the army withdrawal from hotels in Atlantic City. Item 7 has newspaper clippings about the army hospitals, the economic impact of the army in Atlantic City, and the Army Air Forces Redistribution Center in Atlantic City , with articles dated September to December 1943.
 
Box 2 contains six items, five scrapbooks and one bound volume of publications called "The Bug: U.S.C.G Training Station A.C." Item 1 contains correspondence, press releases, excerpts from speeches, a list of nations to attend the United Nations conference, a list of newspaper articles about the conference, proclamations and resolutions. Items in the scrapbook relate to the United Nations Conference that took place in November 1943, with items dated not just in November, but prior to the conference as well. Dates of items in the scrapbook begin in June 1943. Item 2 contains newspaper clippings about the United Nations Conference held in Atlantic City. Item 1 is distinguished from Item 2 because Item 2 only contains newspaper clippings about the conference, where as Item 1 contains other printed materials. The first two pages of Item 3 have a few photographs stapled to pages from the dedication of Thomas England General Hospital. This scrapbook is mostly newspaper clippings, with a copy of the program of the dedication of the hospital in 1944. These two photographs are scanned and are featured on the website for the online finding aid. Item 4 contains all newspaper clippings and is in good condition. Item 4 contains all newspaper clippings ranging in date from November 1944 to June 1945 about Thomas England General Hospital, Christmas, and the artificial limb shop. Item 5 has newspaper clippings from 1945 – 1946 and include articles about Thomas England Anniversary, amputations, Possible VA Takeover of Thomas England Hospital. Item 6 is a bound volume of "The Bug: U.S.C.G Training Station A.C." publication from February 1943 to November 1945.
 
Box 3 contains two items and three folders of photographs. The three folders of photographs contain images from Taggart as mayor and also during his time as Senator. Item 1 contains correspondence Mayor Taggart received, including letters and telegrams. Item 2 contains newspaper clippings relating to civilian defense.
 
System of Arrangement:
This collection is one series. It contains 15 items total, 14 scrapbooks and a bound volume of newspapers. Box 3 contains two items that have been placed in several folders each. These items were previously separated from the original biding due to their poor condition. The original order of these items has been preserved when placing them in folders. The folders are labeled and numbered to show this order within the collection. The original chronological arrangement of the series was maintained during processing.
 
Preservation and Access Note: Some items in the Mayor Thomas Taggart Papers are fragile and brittle. See the archivist about information as to whether photocopies of these materials will be allowed. Determination will be made based upon condition of the pages and the book.
 
Deaccessioning Note: Photocopies of letters in Box 3 were removed from the collection. Contained were multiple copies of each letter from Item 1 and they were not in the original order of the scrapbook.
 
OTHER INFORMATION FOR USERS OF THE COLLECTION
 
Access Points:
Atlantic City (N.J.) -- History – World War 1939-1945.
Taggart, Thomas D.
Atlantic City (N.J.). Mayor
Claridge Hotel (Atlantic City, N.J.)
Thomas England General Hospital
United Nations
 
Related Materials:
Atlantic City Answers the Call to World War II by Marston A. Mischlich
World War II: Atlantic City Remembers
LHBF – Taggart, Thomas
HEx005 – Atlantic City Remembers World War II Exhibit
LHSF – World War II
LHSF – World War II – Thomas England General Hospital
 
Processing Note: The collection is processed. Finding aid written by archivist Pam Richter in January 2013.
 
Copyright Notice: While the Atlantic City Free Public Library owns the collection, the Library may not own the copyright for items within the collection. Researchers wishing to reproduce materials are responsible for obtaining the proper permission.
 
ITEM LIST:
Box 1
Item 1 "Civilian Defense: May – December 1942"
- Dim out/blackout, raid tests
Item 2 "The Army Story: June – August 1942"
- Nucky's Appeal, Soldiers in Atlantic City, Lafayette Hotel, Air Corps at Ambassador and Claridge Hotels, training
Item 3 "The Army Story: September – October 1942, November – December 1942"
- Vice raids, technical training, command week, Armistice Day
Item 4 "The Army Story: January – May 1943"
- Employment, Miami with military occupation, Army Hotel leases, scrap campaign
Item 5 "Civilian Defense: January – March 1943"
- Civilian defense, dim out, copy of ordinance
Item 6 "The Army Story: June – August 1943"
- Army withdrawal from hotels
Item 7 "The Army Story: September – December 1943"
- Army hospitals, economic impact of army in Atlantic City, Army Air Forces Redistribution Center in Atlantic City
Box 2
Item 1 "United Nations: November 1943"
- United Nations Conference in Atlantic City in November 1943
Item 2 "United Nations: November 1943"
- United Nations Conference in Atlantic City in November 1943
Item 3 "The Army Story: January – September 1944"
- Bonds, redistribution stations, conditioning programs, hospital evacuation for hurricane, Thomas England General Hospital
Item 4 "The Army Story: November 1944 – June 1945"
- Christmas, artificial limb shop, Thomas England General Hospital
Item 5 "The Army Story: July 1945 – June 1946"
- Thomas England Anniversary, amputations, Possible VA Takeover of Thomas England Hospital
Item 6 "The Bug: U.S.C.G Training Station A.C. February 1943 – November 1945"
Box 3
Folder 1 Photographs
Folder 2 Photographs
Folder 3 Photographs
Item 1 "The Army Story: 1942 – 1944"
- Taggart's request to join the army, inquiries about army leaving Atlantic City.
Item 2 "Civilian Defense: March – April 1942"
- Civilian defense, blackout/dim out testing.