The Lowell Blake Mason papers comprise 10 boxes including 2 half size boxes and one oversize box, and span the years 1867-2006, with the bulk of the materials dating between1930 and 1970. The papers consist mainly of correspondence, photographs, clippings and publications, and provide a view of Lowell Mason's life from a personal point of view as opposed to one focused purely on his professional life. Photographs and correspondence relating to commissioner Mason's family and friends give the user insight into his views on American society, many of which were the subject of his publications. The arrangement of the papers reflects aspects of the arrangement in which they were received. This organization for this collection falls into the following subseries: biographical materials (relating specifically to Mason), family related materials, certificates, clippings, correspondence, research files, publications, oversized materials, and photographs. All materials are arranged chronologically within folders unless otherwise noted.
Biographical materials span the years 1906-2006 and consist mainly of handwritten notes, photographs, as well as a book entitled: "Lowell Blake Mason: A Portrait". These materials cover who Mason was as a person and who he became over the course of his life. Information about hobbies and trips that he took throughout his life can be found here. These trips include one that took Mason around the world in 1913 as well as a trip for a Northwestern Law School reunion in 1976. One file relates to James Vila Blake, the Unitarian pastor whose significance to the family was reflected in Lowell Blake Mason's middle name.
Materials about Mason's Family span the years 1867-2004. The bulk of the records are dated from 1867-1933 and consist of certificates, legal documents concerning Ethel Mason’s estate. These papers provide information about the Mason family home as well as Mason’s surroundings during the early part of his life. The materials on Mason's parents provide background information on his early influences.
Certificates honoring Lowell B. Mason span the years 1966-1979. The certificates included mark achievements and awards bestowed on Lowell Mason throughout his life. A certificate from the Northwestern Law Alumni Association from 1966 as well as one from the publication "Who's Who in the World" from 1978-1979 are included.
Newspaper Clippings span the years 1900-1984 and relate primarily to Mason’s campaigns for political office and appointments to the numerous positions that he held in state and federal government. Some describe political events involving Mason, many of these detail Mason's opinions concerning Federal Trade Commission actions.
Correspondence spans the years 1873-2004. In the original arrangement many of the letters were foldered individually, with extensive captions and other information on the folder. For that reason the original folders have been retained and numbered. The folders and documents are chronologically arranged. The correspondence includes incoming and outgoing letters between Mason and his colleagues, family, and acquaintances. These letters primarily concern professional duties and research, but also include some correspondence which is personal in nature. One notable group of correspondence is Lowell Mason’s dialogue with Hal Holbrook, the well known actor and Mark Twain impersonator (1959).
Mason's research files span the years 1965-1977 and consist of hand written notes, articles, and legal documents. The titles assigned to these files reflect Mason's original titles. Mason's research explored various aspects of society and how they related to government. The treatment that Mason gives these socio-political topics provides an interesting snapshot of American society at the time of his research. The research informed articles or books that were later published.
Mason's publications span the years 1942-1973. This series is divided into categories for professional publications, personal publications, and books in order to facilitate locating publications. As a result, articles Mason wrote about professional duties can be found in publications (professional), and those written about hobbies and recreation are located in publications (personal).
Publications (personal) include drafts, handwritten notes, and articles clipped or reprinted from various periodicals. These short stories, poems, and articles range in subject matter from sailing to poetry satirizing the clergy. Publications (professional) consist of drafts, handwritten notes, and publications from various periodicals. These materials are primarily political in nature, and are largely about the Federal Trade Commission and its activities. Some of the articles are on subjects that Mason covered in his books. One example is the article “Where Burglars Get A Better Break Than Businessmen” that may have been related to his final book project. The subseries publications (books) include drafts, handwritten notes, book covers, reviews, artwork, and legal documents. Working drafts, artwork, and book reviews make up the bulk of this subseries. One notable review is written by Ayn Rand on “The Language of Dissent” from The Objectivist Newsletter, August 1963.
Photographs from this collection fill more than two boxes, spanning the years 1850-1979. As a result of the previous arrangement for these photographs many of them are stored individually in folders that have been annotated with captions and other information that is of importance. For this reason the original folders have been retained. These folders have been assigned numbers on the container list. These photographs represent all aspects of Mason’s life including images that document trips he took, political events, and family members.
Oversized materials from this collection series are contained in one box. These records consist of two loose photographs, a scrap book, and two certificates. One oversized photograph is a portrait of Lowell Mason while the other is of Mason with Harry Truman at an opening day game for the Washington Senators in 1949. A “Globe Girdlers” certificate from the 1913 “circumnavigation” trip is also included. The scrap book, documenting a trip that Mason and several other Illinois politicians took to inspect the Lake Michigan shore around 1930, was produced (probably by the Chicago Tribune) as a gift to the participants, and includes clippings and photographs.