Creator: William J. MacInnis, Mayor of Gloucester, MA (1922-1923)
Dates: 1888-1982 (bulk 1906-1969)
Quantity: 1.5 linear feet (3 manuscript containers, 1 flat box)
Acquisition:  Accession #: 1993-0
Identification: A30 ; Archive Collection #30
Citation: [Document Title]. The William J. MacInnis Collection, [Box #, Folder #, Item #], Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.
Copyright:  Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be addressed to the Librarian/Archivist
Language: English
Finding Aid:  Linda K. Johnson, 2006


Mr. MacInnis was born in Gloucester, Mass on June 1, 1884. He was one of three surviving children of Murdock MacInnis, a master mariner, and Mary (MacDonald) MacInnis. In 1893 his father died at the age of 40 aboard the Schooner Triton. Mrs. MacInnis was left to raise William age 8, Albert 7, and Murdock 4. She married Daniel Pellier a fisherman on July 10,1899.

William went on to graduate from Gloucester High School in 1902 where he was the adjutant of the high school cadets. After graduation he worked as a reporter for the Cape Ann Breeze and then became salesman for the Gloucester Net and Twine Company. He later served as its manager and Vice President until 1940. During this time he attended Northeastern University at night where he studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1913, and began to practice law, part-time, in partnership with Carlton W. Wonson at 17 Pleasant Street. When he left the Gloucester Net and Twine Compant he remained active in his legal business until his retirement in 1971.

Mr. MacInnis married the former Florence Lyman Bemis of Spencer, Mass on August 3, 1918. They had three sons William J. MacInnis Jr. born in 1919, Robert M. MacInnis (who later joined his father’s law firm) and Philip B. MacInnis.

He served on the school committee for six years and served as Mayor 1922-1923. While mayor, Mr. MacInnis was credited with commissioning the statue of the Man at the Wheel on Stacy Boulevard.

Mr. MacInnis was president of the Board of Trade and was instrumental in the organizing of the Chamber of Commerce. He was director of the Cape Ann National Bank and became board chairman in 1969. In 1961, he was also board chairman of the Cape Ann Bank and Trust Company.

He was active in social and service organizations. He was president of the Rotary Club (1929), chairman of the Fisherman’s Race Committee, and a trustee of the Samuel E. Sawyer Trust Funds. He also served as trustee of the Addison Gilbert Hospital from 1948 until his death and was a lifelong member of the Tyrian Lodge of Masons. He was a director of the New England Electric Company and president of the Cape Ann Symphony.

His wife, Florence, passed away suddenly on February 4, 1970. William MacInnis died at Oakwood Nursing Home in Manchester after an illness of two years on May 31,1974.


The bulk of the contents are newspaper clippings, primarily of the Fisherman’s Races (1938) Thebaud vs. Bluenose and political topics from his term as mayor.

Other items: war ration books; postcards of schooners; address: “a Hero of the Black Race”, program-Children’s Sunday-Trinity Congregational Church 1925, Appointment papers-Justice of the Peace/notary public; photo collage-Theodore Roosevelt and other T.R. items; Mass. State Guard items (commission); dance cards 1907/08; women’s suffrage speech; pamphlet “Privilege vs. Democracy”, appointment US Fuel Admin. Ledger books-Gloucester Station 1913,1923; Codfish as national dish campaign; tally sheets-mayors race.

Of Note:

--Copy of the will of Addison Gilbert dated Feb. 13, 1888

--Letter describing the history of netting production

--Bronze medal-Gloucester Tercentenary Committee-1923

--Invitation to John Jay Hammonds house

--Appointment letter Mass. State Guard

--Audit report –Gloucester 192

--Discharge from Massachusetts State Guard

--Other WW 1 documents

--Letters from the Linen Thread Company

--Nomination papers- mayor 1923

--Appointments diary-mayor 1924


--Tercentenary program

--Article on the 1918 Flu pandemic in Gloucester

--Letter from Warren G. Harding while a member of the U.S. Senate


Series I: Certificates

This series includes military commissions and certificates of completion, notary and JP appointments, patriotic service (WW 1) recognitions, US Fuel Administration appointments, and Mass. State Guard appointments.

Series II: Letters, Personal odds and ends, Postcards, and Ephemera

These items include letters received as Mayor, an invitation from John Hays Hammond, a history of the Gloucester Net and Twine Co., a history of fish netting, letters from the Linen Thread Co., and address (Hero of the Black Race), draft of a speech on death of President Warren G. Harding and party/dinner invitations.

Series III Political Items and Military Records

Various letters of congratulations on his election as mayor 1922, letters in defense of his military service in WW1, newspaper clippings, campaign literature, campaign addresses, nomination papers and a Gloucester city audit report (1923).

Series IV Books and Booklets

These items include an appointments diary (1924), MacInnis family war ration books, Great Republic design competition, return of property reports (Gloucester station 1913, 1923), waterfront project report (1969), Amherst College literary monthly magazine (1908), and a baby book.

Series V Gloucester’s Tercentenary Celebration 1923

This series includes committee member medals, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, invitations and photos of reviewing stand.

Series VI Photographs and Postcards

This grouping includes a photograph of a young boy and his dog (MacInnis as a child?). Several postcards of schooners (Esperanto and Puritan).

Series VII Masonic and Religious Items

These items include newspaper articles relating to the Tyrian lodge, correspondence from other lodges including Cuba, dinner programs and Sunday service programs.

Series VIII Scrapbook

Dated 1915, this scrapbook consists of 22 pages of newspaper clippings, certificates of appointments, a Theodore Roosevelt photo collage, news announcement of his marriage to Florence Bemis (1918), letters of thanks and an article about Flu epidemic in Gloucester (1918).

Series IX Will

The last will of Addison Gilbert of Gloucester dated 1888

Series X 150th anniversary New Gloucester Maine

This series includes medals, letters and an address on “Past and Present” September 27 1924.

Series XI Gloucester, England

This series includes a guidebook of the city, pamphlet on William Gardner and Sons, letter from ex-mayor Gloucester, England (Charles Gardner) about being our “sister city”.

Series XII Misc. newspaper articles

This series consists of various newspaper articles on the death of Warren G. Harding (1923) and his successor Calvin Coolidge, article on Frederick Remington by Margaret Fitz Hugh Browne and a copy of 1886 Spencer Bulletin.

Series XIII Fisherman’s races- 1938

This folio includes newspaper clippings of the Bluenose vs. Thebaud races

Series XIIII Schooners and Racing

This folio includes several large folders of newspaper articles pertaining to the Fisherman’s schooner races years covered 1920 – 1948


Box 1

Series I 

Folder 1: Certificates

Commonwealth of Mass certificate of completion in French 1920

Certificate of completion of Military instruction August 1916

Honorable discharge Mass. State Guard 4-25-1919 Honorable release

U.S. Fuel administration for service October 16,1917-March 1, 1919

Certificate of appreciation Comm. of Mass. For service Mass. Fuel administration 11-20- 1918.

Cradle roll certificate for William J. MacInnis Jr. born March 14, 1919 from Trinity Congregational Church.

Liberty Loan certificates services rendered 1917, 1918(3), 1919

Notary certificate Feb. 28,1923

Resolution of Appreciation for services rendered as Superintendent of Sunday school Trinity Congregational Church April 24, 1924.


Series II

Folder 2: Letters, Postcards and Ephemera

Reunion GHS grads dance card 1907

Sergeant’s party dance card 1906

Sergeant’s party dance card 1907 Rules and regulations of the Second Mass. School regiment 1893

38th annual field day GHS June 8, 1923

Annual banquet section base seven U.S. Coast Guard Farewell dinner 15th Infantry Mass. State Guard 12-21-1920

Gloucester chamber of Commerce dinner get together Nov. 12

One page from Headquarters first reunion

Invitation from Gloucester Post office for the retirement party for postmaster Charles D. Smith October 24 (no year)

Invitation to William MacInnis for the Officers Battery A 102nd Regt. 5th U.S. infantry dinner Sat. Aug. 25, 1923

Invitation from Mr. and Mrs. John Wing Prentiss for tea at Blighty. Dept. of Mass. Service Patriarchs Militant I.O.O.F. service Aug.31, 1924

First anniversary party and ladies night Gloucester Rotary. Hotel Thorwald June 25, 1924

Glou. Fire Relief Assoc. Memorial service June 8,1924

Letter from Edwin R. Marshall an old school chum Dec.22, 1923

Invitation for tea at Lookout Hill from Mr. and Mrs. John Hays Hammond Aug.29 1923

Notice of law partnership of Woodrow Wilson and Bainbridge Colby

Postcard from Paris

Dedication of site of Permanent Memorial

Letter from the American Expeditionary Force Dec.30, 1918 from Oscar Patik(?)

Relief Association Gloucester Fire Dept notice of field day and request for contribution Sept. 1 1924

Letterhead William J. MacInnis misc legal notes

Invitation from A. Piatt Andrew, Commander of the American Legion Lester S. Wass Post to give a talk to the members.

Thank you note from the Gloucester Police assoc. Dec.16, 1919

Thank you note from Mayor John Burke for a report MacInnis had given. Rules and regulations and prices governing the letting of City Hall adopted April 21, 1914.

Biographical sketch of Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt “ A review of a review” by Louis Coolidge from the Boston Herald October 18, 1919

Pamphlet Privilege vs. Democracy Letter from the Republican State Committee appointing him to the committee of permanent organization. Sept.16, 1924

Letter of thanks from a former teacher of MacInnis Freeman Putney Aug.30, 1924

Several letters concerning the schools, water etc 1924

Letter from” The Palace” Gloucester, Mass 1925.

Letter from General William Stopford Dec. 18, 1924

Letter from Mr. Campbell December 30, 1924

Thank you note from S.K. Ames Jan.2, 1925

Notice of water loan 1923

Thank you Gloucester Police Association for contributions Aug.1, 1924

Letter from S.K.Ames referring to retaining wall Sept.16, 1924

Letter from the Mayor of Gloucester, England Dec.3, 1924

Letter from the Coolidge and Dawes torchlight parade asking MacInnis to be honorary marshal October 28,1924

Letter from the White House 1924 thanking MacInnis for note of sympathy Letter from Channing H. Cox Gov. of Mass. Nov.1924.

Legal letter from U.S. Attorney General from Maine, Frederick Dyer Nov.17, 1924

Letter from Hornblower and Weeks New York Dec. 17,1924

Letter from the Quarry Workers International Union Letter from Gov. Alvan Fuller Apr. 22,1925

Dedication service Chapel Street Baptist Church East Gloucester Nov. 30- Dec 2,1924

Letter from the Linen thread Co. Nov.28, 1922

Brief history of the Gloucester Net and Twine Mar.14, 1908

Speech hero of the Black Race

Address given by MacInnis at the Fishermen’s Memorial service Aug. 27, 1923

Thank you note from Warren G. Harding when he was a member of the Senate Nov 4,1920. Letter was a note to MacInnis thanking him for the invitation to a banquet in honor of Martin Welch and the crew of the Esperanto.

History of gill netting

Draft of a speech on the death of Warren G. Harding

Speech on the Gloucester fishing industry

Letters from the Board of Health dated 1923 in reference to salaries

Birthday card from Sen. John Stoddart of the 3rd district June 1, 1924


Series III: Political

Folder 3: Various congratulatory letters and replies on Mr. MacInnis’s election as Mayor

Dec. 1922 Included are letters from:

Arthur Millett state inspector of fish

Various relatives

Abby Rust

Edwin Leonard, Mayor of Springfield, Mass.

Herman MacDonald, Secretary to the Gov. of Mass.

Several old classmates

John Thomas, State Representative

Alvan T. Fuller, Lt. Gov. of Mass.

Charles Pew of Gorton Pew Fisheries

Hon. A. Piatt Andrew Congressman

Fr. William Keenan St. Ann’s Gloucester, Mass.

John J. Hammond Jr.

Judge Albert Welsh of Ipswich.

Hon. Denis Sullivan Mayor Salem, Mass

Letter of congratulations, which included a mention of the labor, troubles at the Lanesville quarries.

2 programs for the Inauguration City Government 1923

Order of business municipal council Jan.1, 1925

Folder 4: Several newspapers called the Searchlight from 1923 seemed to be promoting Wheeler as Mayor

News articles, political ads on his run for Mayor 1st and 2nd terms

Article on improved lighting system

Article on full time sanitary inspector

New members appointed to the sewerage board

Gloucester Times article Dec.4 1923 MacInnis reelected, 2nd inaugural speech Jan.7, 1924

Campaign cards

Tally sheets

Campaign speech mentioning the women’s vote

Report of an audit of the accounts of the City of Gloucester dated Dec. 28, 1923

Notice of speech MacInnis would make at the men’s bible class Dec.7, 1923

Political card for MacInnis’s run for Councilor 5th district.

Folder 5: Various newspaper articles on events during the MacInnis Administration.

Sewer appointments Vincent Cove

Article on vanishing gas lights being replaced by electric lights

Article on Mrs. Hawks giving rights to the City i.e. Wingaersheek land.

Gloucester Daily Times article on the death of W. H.Thomas

Article in same paper written by William J. Macinnis

Folder 6: Military service 

Comm. of Mass. Appointment as 2nd Lt. June 19, 1917

Registration certificate Sept. 12,1918

Notice to appear for physical exam Nov.1, 1918

Notice of classification Oct.26, 1918

Notice of classification Nov 1918

Certificate of appointment U.S. Fuel Administration Oct.16, 1917

Thank you note from the War Dept office of the provost marshal Letter from the District Court of Eastern Essex stating MacInnis did not apply for claim of exemption in World War 1

Letter from Linen Thread Company asking him to take a war exemption because of importance of job.

Letter from John Ross of the Linen Thread dated Nov.4, 1918 acknowledging that MacInnis would not take an industrial exemption

Letter dated Aug.28, 1924 from John Safari defending MacInnis military service

Letter to Gilbert O’Neil of the Lester S. Wass Post i.e. military service

Letter to John Ferry Aug.11, 1924 i.e. war service.


Box 2

Series IV Books and Booklets

1924 diary of various appointments

Amherst Literary Monthly April 1908.

An article written by William MacInnis’s brother M.N. MacInnis “The fate of Olson a story”

Baby book for Arthur Miller Kippen born 1912

Second waterfront project report Nov. 1969

1982 architectural design competition for a building of a shelter for the Great Republic

MacInnis family war ration books (8) World War 2

Dept. of Commerce Bureau of Fisheries return of property books for 1913 and 1923.


Series V 300th Anniversary Celebration Gloucester

Folder 1: 300th anniversary committee member medal

Fireman’s day guest ribbon Aug.29, 1923

300th schedule of events

Invitation from the mayor for Tercentenary luncheon city hall Aug.28, 1923

Photo of Mayor MacInnis in parade

Four photos of the U.S. Langley, Mayor MacInnis and two unidentified men

Literary exercises Gloucester Tercentenary celebration 1923

Four programs for the memorial service of Warren G. Harding Friday Aug.10, 1923

Three photos of the 300th parade one with Gov Alvan Fuller, Mayor MacInnis, and Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge on the reviewing stand Invitation from Boston and Gloucester Steamboat Co. to participate in Fishermen’s race

Aug.27, 1923 Letter from W.L. Littlefield, Capt. U.S. Navy with a list of officers coming to a dinner Aug.29, 1923

Official program for the 300th Address given by Senator lodge at the 300th Aug.28, 1923

Invitation to the 300th

300th community songs program

Folder 2: Various articles from the Gloucester Daily Times covering the 300th anniversary 1923

Folder 3: Newspaper articles covering 300th activities most notably the schooner races


Box 3

Series VI Photographs and postcards

#1 Loose folder

Christmas card with a photo of a house

A photo dated Aug.19, 1904 of a boy and his dog MacInnis?

Postcards of sailing vessels.

One postcard written to Reynolds Beal may 26, 1922

Postcards of Esperanto and Puritan


Series VII Masonic and Religious articles

#2 Loose folder

The Congregationalist magazine with an article on Calvin Coolidge dated Aug.16, 1923

Ticket for the 150th anniversary Tyrian Lodge 1920

Bulletin for the Children’s Day service Trinity Congregational Church June 21, 1925

“Historical talks at the Churches” Gloucester Daily Times article Aug.27, 1923

Tyrian Lodge article Mar. 1,1920 Gloucester Daily Times.

Article on Tryian Lodge from the Gloucester Daily Times Feb.28, 1920

Invitation from Island Lodge (Masonic Lodge of Cuba) Apr.25, 1911

Gloucester Daily Times article on Tyrian lodge Mar.3, 1920

Universalist Church 150th celebration article from Gloucester Daily Times August 25, 1920

Article about and concert and ball at Tyrian Lodge Article on the history of Tyrian lodge Mar.2, 1920

Bethlehem Commandery outing and ladies night Sept.14, 1923

Letter from Frank Wavronek of Havana, Cuba in reference to MacInnis application to the Knights Templar Mar.22, 1911

Letter dated Apr.3, 1917 from Seward Lodge Program for Sunday Service Tyrian Lodge in honor of its 150th (2 copies)

Program for the concert and ball Tyrian Lodge March 1,1920

Gloucester Daily Times article on the Tyrian Lodge concert and ball Mar.2, 1920


Series VIII Scrapbook dated March 23, 1915

# 3 Loose folder

News article on the departure of the Rev. Williams from Trinity Congregational Church.

Several other Trinity articles are included.

Newspaper articles on several trust funds most notably Addison Gilbert’s.

Commencement exercises evening Law school June 19, 1912.

Senior banquet also included Article on the “Price” medal Tyrian lodge

Letter from the Citadel Certificate from the Comm. of Mass. Appointing MacInnis a Justice of the Peace Oct. 1915

Certificate appointing him a Notary Public Mar. 8, 1916

Abstract from the Comm. of Mass. His honorable discharge from the Mass. State Guard 1919

News article on the Influenza outbreak 1918

News article dated Jan. 1919 when MacInnis was head of the Board of Trade.

Trinity Congregational Church article on bibles presented to children. Wm J.MacInnis Jr was presented June 15, 1919

Article on the Board of Trade annual meeting June 15, 1920

Teddy Roosevelt photo Misc. letters News article on a banquet held in honor of Lt. MacInnis and the Alderman of Company L

News release of MacInnis marriage to Florence Bemis Aug. 3, 1918

Series IX Will

#4 Loose folder

The last will of Addison Gilbert dated 1888


Series X Celebration of the 150th Anniversary New Gloucester, Maine

#5 Loose folder

Two medals commemorating the 150th

Address Past and present celebration 150th Anniversary Sept. 6 & 7 1924

Letter and personal note from the executive comm. Secretary Florence Nelson Feb. 1926

Thank You Letter from New Gloucester, Maine for making arrangements to attend celebration (2nd page missing)

A thank you note dated Sept. 27, 1924 from New Gloucester thanking him for the “splendid tribute”.


Series XI Gloucester, England

#6 Loose folder

Article on Messrs William Gardner and Sons of Gloucester, England leading milling and general engineers. Booklet shows various patented machines. (Sifters, mixers and grinding mills)

Official guidebook to Gloucester the cathedral city and port

Letter from Charles Gardner, the ex mayor of Gloucester, England about a visit he had from Gloucester, Mass. Official 


Series XII Misc. newspaper articles

#7 Loose Folder

1886 Spencer Bulletin with ad for Mrs. MacInnis father’s business

Article from the Boston Transcript by Margaret Fitz Hugh Browne on Frederick Remington Aug 4, 1923

Article on the U.S.S. Converse

Various articles on the death of Warren G. Harding 1923

Various articles on Calvin Coolidge and family


Archival Materials Flat Files, Drawer 4 

Folder 1: Series I Certificates

Commonwealth of Mass Appointment as a 2nd Lt, June 19, 1917

Series V

Large poster of Mayor MacInnis promoting salt cod as the national dish

Folder 2: Series XIII Fishermen’s Races

Newspaper articles from Boston and Gloucester papers on fishermen’s races October 1938 Bluenose wins race over the Thebaud

Page from the rotogravure section Boston Herald Sept. 4, 1938 V

arious newspapers Oct./Nov.1938 mentioning the loss and eventual discovery of the trophy.

Several articles from the Boston Post, Boston Globe Daily Record and the Gloucester Daily Times on the race controversy.

Cover page North Shore Breeze

Herald Tribune article on the race dated Sept.27, 1938 from “this week”

Folder 3: Series XIV Schooners and Racing

Associated news service poster Henry Ford wins Sept. 5, 1923

9x13 print “the Grand Swell” by Evans

Folder 4: Series XIV Schooners and Racing

Article from Woman’s Home Companion 1937. Making of the movie Captains Courageous “The log of the We’re Here”

Photo of the Esperanto from the 1920 race 1921, New York Times and New York Herald articles

Folder 5: Series XIV Schooners and Racing

Various accounts of the 1922 races Henry Ford vs. the Bluenose

Folder 6: Series XIV Schooners and Racing

Boston Herald report on the 1938 races

Misc. Photos among them the Marshall Foch

April. 7, 1948 report on the wreck of the Thebaud

Folder 7: Series XIV Schooners and Racing

Various photos and articles from the N.Y. Times and New York Herald 1921 race

Photo of the Columbia recently lost Oct.23, 1927

Newspaper accounts of the 1923 races

Two newspaper photos 1926 Columbia 1940 Columbia

Folder 8: Advertisement from 1928 featuring the Bluenose

Series of newspaper articles covering the 1930 races Thebaud vs. the Bluenose.

A program dated Thurs, Sat. and Monday Oct 9, 11, 13, 1930.

Of note an article on the tenth anniversary of the races.