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Charles S. Whitman
41st Governor
1915–1918
Under Governor Hughes, Charles S. Whitman (1868–1947) was appointed Deputy Attorney General to investigate election fraud. He was later elected district attorney of New York County. As governor, Whitman mobilized men and finances during World War I. During his term, the New York State Police were organized, women achieved the right to vote, and the Prohibition Amendment was ratified. Whitman later served as Commander of the Port Authority of New York and president of the American Bar Association.
Portrait: Adolfo Muller-Uri (1862–1947) was a Swiss-born artist who began his career painting landscapes. His skill at portraiture captured the attention of a railroad builder in St. Paul, who commissioned many family portraits. This led to other commissions and international recognition as a portraitist.

More Information

Whitman, Charles S(eymour) (b Hanover, Conn, 28 Aug 1868; d New York City, 29 Mar 1947). Governor.

Graduating from Amherst College in 1890 and New York University Law School in 1894,Whitman opened a legal practice in New York City and participated in local Republican politics. As district attorney of New York Co, his 1912 campaign against police corruption won him statewide prominence and catapulted him into the state governorship in 1914 with a victory over Democrat Martin H. Glynn.

Whitman served two terms in Albany, winning reelection in 1916 against Democrat Samuel Seabury. Whitman’s gubernatorial administrations were marked by a concern for fiscal and bureaucratic efficiency and the implementation of modest reforms.He also oversaw the state’s 1915 Constitutional Convention and the adoption of prohibition and woman suffrage (both of which he supported) and guided the state through the tumultuous years of World War I. Defeated for reelection in 1918 by Democrat Alfred E. Smith, Whitman returned to private legal practice in New York City and remained influential in Republican and Fusion politics.

Public Papers of Charles Seymour Whitman, Governor, 4 vols (Albany: J. B. Lyon, 1916–19)

Christopher Capozzola

Peter Eisenstadt, ed., The Encyclopedia of New York State
(Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005), [p. 1699].
© Syracuse University Press. Reproduced with permission from the publisher.

Timeline of NY Governors

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