Robert Bass was a young man from a wealthy family who entered politics through his interest in the New Hampshire forest conservation movement. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1905, and in 1909, to the New Hampshire State Senate. During that time he was chairman of the New Hampshire Forestry Commission. According to James Wright, author of The Progressive Yankees, Bass was guided not by "simple political ambition" but rather "by a desire for public service."
Though relatively unknown at first, Bass's involvement with the Committee of Retrenchment and Reform led him to be noticed by the progressive Republicans in the state. These reformers wanted to curtail the influence of lobbyists on state politics, in particular the influence of the Boston and Maine Railroad. They also sought and eventually were able to pass a direct primary law, partial tax reform, and a law requiring lobbyists to register. Bass was the first to benefit from the direct primary law when he ran for governor in 1910 on the progressive platform.
During his campaign, according to Wright, Bass "was a model of superior organization [working] from lists of supporters and potential supporters in each town." An example of this dedication to reach every single voter in the state is this flyer, which was intended for Jewish voters, even though, according to the American Jewish Year Book, New Hampshire's Jewish population was only 1000 in 1907. The flyer is in Yiddish but is written in Hebrew and is "A Call to All Jews in New Hampshire." In it Bass introduces himself and his political positions. He states that he is 38 years old and a Harvard graduate from 1896. He then proclaims that he is a "friend to all people, rich or poor," and "does not play the political game." He is also proud of being "endorsed by Dartmouth president Tucker and Winston Churchill [the writer]" He promises that if Jewish people vote for him, "the railroad will be cheaper," but if they do not vote for him "everything will get more expensive."
Bass won the election and was governor from 1911-1913.
To learn more about Robert P. Bass and his politics take a look at his papers for which an electronic finding aid is now available. The campaign flyer can be found in ML-31, box 63, folder 19.
James Wright's book The Progressive Yankees: Republican Reformers in New Hampshire, 1906-1916 can be found at Rauner D.C History F39. W75 1987 c.2