Charles S. Whitman

Charles S. Whitman
Charles Seymour Whitman
41st Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1915 – December 31, 1918
Lieutenant Edward Schoeneck
Preceded by Martin H. Glynn
Succeeded by Alfred E. Smith
Personal details
Born September 29, 1868(1868-09-29)
Village of Hanover, in the Town of Sprague, Connecticut
Died March 29, 1947(1947-03-29) (aged 78)
Political party Republican
Religion Presbyterian

Charles Seymour Whitman (September 29, 1868 – March 29, 1947) served as the 41st Governor of New York from January 1915 to December 1918. He was also a delegate to Republican National Convention from New York in 1916.



He was born on September 29, 1868, and graduated from Amherst College in 1890. He served as a New York City municipal judge and as New York County District Attorney.

As District Attorney, he gained national fame in prosecuting New York City Police Lt. Charles Becker for the July 16, 1912 murder of Times Square gambling house operator Herman Rosenthal in front of West 43rd Street's Hotel Metropole (owned by Lower East Side Tammany Hall leader "Big Tim" Sullivan). Later, as Governor, Whitman signed Becker's death warrant and presided over his electrocution. Whitman was a member of the Union League Club of New York and, fearing he was under surveillance, used the clubhouse to secretly interview witnesses during the Becker case.

He served as the 41st Governor of New York from January 1915 to December 1918

In 1916, Whitman won re-election as Governor against reform Democratic Judge Samuel Seabury. In 1918, he was defeated for re-election by Tammany Hall Democrat Alfred E. Smith (then President of the New York City Board of Aldermen.)

He died on March 29, 1947.[1]

His portrait was painted in 1921 by the Swiss-born American portrait painter Adolfo Müller-Ury (1862-1947) and is the property of the New York State Capitol at Albany; Müller-Ury had previously painted a portrait of his baby daughter, Olive (the future Mrs Parsons), which was much admired when exhibited, and was given by her to the Preservation Society of Newport County, R.I. where it now hangs at Green Animals.


His grandson, John R. Whitman, married Christine Todd, who went on to be a Republican Governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

See also

Further reading

  • Robert Slayton's biography, Empire Statesman: the Rise and Redemption of Al Smith, discusses Whitman's governorship and campaigns for the office against Smith.[2]
  • Whitman is a character in E.L. Doctorow's historical novel Ragtime (although he does not figure significantly in the later film based on the novel).


External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
William Travers Jerome
New York County District Attorney
1910 - 1914
Succeeded by
Charles A. Perkins
Political offices
Preceded by
Martin H. Glynn
Governor of New York
1915 - 1918
Succeeded by
Al Smith

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