John Alden Dix
38th Governor
John Alden Dix (1860–1928) was the Democratic Party chairman when he successfully sought the governorship in 1910. As governor, Dix created the State Conservation Commission, approved legislation authorizing direct primary elections, and improved state highways. Following the deadly Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, Dix helped pass the “one-day-of-rest-in-seven” law that limited the number of working hours for women and children and improved working conditions in factories.
Portrait: Kenneth Frazier (1867–1949) was born to American parents in Paris, where he studied art. Among his many subjects was General Douglas MacArthur.

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Dix, John Alden (b Glens Falls, Warren Co, 25 Dec 1860; d New York City, 9 Apr 1928). Governor.

From a wealthy family, Dix attended Cornell University, graduating in 1883. After college he became a lumber merchant, paper manufacturer, banker, and dealer in marble in Washington and Albany Cos. A strong conservationist, he had a tree planted for every tree he had cut down on his forestlands. Long active in the Democratic Party, and in 1910 the state party chairman, Dix was chosen that year as his party’s gubernatorial nominee with the support of Charles F.

Murphy, the leader of Tammany Hall, who was looking for a moderate reformer to head the ticket. Though often thought of as a lackluster, one-term governor, Dix’s administration accomplished much: a law providing for direct primaries; the creation of the State Conservation Commission; and, after the horrible Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, the one-day-of-rest-inseven law limiting the working hours of women and children and several laws mandating improved sanitary and safety conditions in factories. However, in trying to balance the concerns of the reformers and Tammany Hall, Dix alienated both factions, leading Murphy to block successfully Dix’s renomination for governor. After leaving the Executive Mansion in 1912, he returned to the lumber and paper business and spent his last years in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Wesser,Robert. A Response to Progressivism: The Democratic Party and New York Politics, 1902–1918 (New York: New York Univ Press, 1986)

Daniel C. Kramer

Peter Eisenstadt, ed., The Encyclopedia of New York State
(Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005), [p. 465].
© Syracuse University Press. Reproduced with permission from the publisher.

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