Harrison & Morton Club of the Bar of New York. [cover title]
Club Constitution, Signed by nearly 700 prominent attorneys and judges
Manuscript membership book of The Harrison and Morton Club of the Bar of New York. The book includes the handwritten club “Constitution” and the membership signatures of almost 700 New York City attorneys and judges.
The club was founded after the June 19–25, 1888 Republican National Convention. Its aim was to support the U.S. presidential campaign of Benjamin Harrison of Indiana and his running mate Levi P. Morton of New York.
Notable signers of the club’s Constitution include Charles Evans Hughes (1862–1948), later Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Benjamin H. Bristow (1832–1896), former U. S. Secretary of the Treasury under President Grant; and two U.S. Secretaries of State (a former and a future secretary, respectively) William M. Evarts (1818–1901) of New York and Elihu Root (1845–1937).
The Constitution’s eight Articles describe its purpose and organization and its single membership requirement:
Constitution. ... [Article] II. [The organization’s] purpose is to aid in the election of Benjamin Harrison as President, and Levi P. Morton as Vice President of the United States. ... [Article] IV. Any member of the Bar in good standing, intending to vote for Harrison and Morton, may become a member of the Club upon signing the Roll. ... We the undersigned, members of the Bar of the City of New York, being desirous of giving expression to our political convictions, in the pending campaign, through an organization, similar to those already formed by the Merchants and the members of the various Exchanges, hereby organize The Harrison and Morton Club of The Bar of New York.
There are 694 signers of the club’s Constitution. With the exception of 13 tipped in autograph signatures (likely clipped from letters supportive of the club and the Harrison/Morton ticket), all of the membership signatures were made directly into the membership book in numerical sequence. The numbering is irregular in some places; seven signatures are un-numbered and there are some labeled duplicates. Some “autographs” may be secretarial, a few bearing initials beneath.
Notable members of The Harrison and Morton Club of The Bar of New York who signed the Constitution include:
• Charles Evans Hughes (1862–1948), later Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
• Elihu Root (1845–1937) of New York, U.S. Secretary of State under President Theodore Roosevelt and as Secretary of War under Roosevelt and President William McKinley. He served one term in the U.S. Senate and, in 1912, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
• William M. Evarts (1818–1901) of New York, U.S. Secretary of State under President Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. Attorney General under President Andrew Johnson, and U.S. Senator from New York. He participated in the impeachment of Johnson and in the electoral commission which settled the 1876 presidential election.
• Benjamin H. Bristow (1832–1896), former U. S. Secretary of the Treasury under Grant. As the first U.S. Solicitor General, Bristow is noted for his prosecution of the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction.
• Noah Davis (1818–1902), American lawyer and politician from New York. Davis was the first signer of the H&M club constitution.
• Chauncey Mitchell Depew (1834–1928), attorney for Cornelius Vanderbilt’s railroad interests, president of the New York Central Railroad System, and U.S. Senator from New York, 1899–1911.
• Hooper Cumming Van Vorst (1817–1889), attorney, judge, and first President of the Holland Society of New York.
• John Randolph Dos Passos (1844–1917), lawyer and father of novelist John Roderigo Dos Passos. He was a supporter of industrial conglomerates which his son would later criticize in his novels of the 1920s and 1930s.
• Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899), American lawyer, politician, orator, and free thinker. He is noted for his defense of agnosticism; nicknamed “The Great Agnostic”.
•Elliott Fitch Shepard (1833–1893), lawyer, banker, and owner of the Mail and Express newspaper, as well as a founder and president of the New York State Bar Association. Shepard was married to Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt, granddaughter of philanthropist and business magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt.
• Edward Lauterbach (1844–1923), Chairman of the Republican County Committee in New York and the defense attorney for David Lamar, the “Wolf of Wall Street.” He was a trustee of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum for almost 40 years.
•Stewart Lyndon Woodford (1835–1913), attorney and politician who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and as Lieutenant Governor of New York.
• Charles Augustus Peabody (1814–1901), Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Louisiana.
• George Chandler Holt (1843–1931), Referee in Bankruptcy for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from 1898 to 1903. In 1903, Holt was nominated by President Theodore Roosevelt to a new seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
• Joseph Hodges Choate (1832–1917), lawyer and diplomat. Choate was associated with many noted trials in American legal history, including the Kansas prohibition cases, the Chinese exclusion cases, the Maynard election returns case, etc. He was influential in the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
• Charles Robert Miller (1857–1927), lawyer and politician from Wilmington, Delaware. He served in the Delaware General Assembly and as Governor of Delaware.
• Daniel Gustavus Rollins (1842–1897), lawyer and politician from New York.
• Charles Henry Butler (1859–1940), lawyer and the tenth reporter of decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, serving from 1902 to 1916.
• Theron Rudd Strong (1802–1873), lawyer and politician from New York.
• Charles Hazen Russell (1845–1912), lawyer and politician from New York.
• Henry Day (1820–1893), lawyer. Partner Lord, Day & Lord, law firm, New York City, 1848-1893. Member of the New York General Assemblies, 1868 and 1869. Director of Princeton Theological and Union Theological seminaries.
• Thomas Hill Hubbard (1781–1857), lawyer, judge and public official from Madison County, New York. A member of the Democratic-Republican party, Hubbard was twice elected to Congress from New York and was a three-time Presidential elector.
• J. Van Vechten Olcott (1856–1940), lawyer, U.S. Congressman from New York.
• William M.K. Olcott (1862–1933), lawyer and politician; New York County District Attorney; member of 1915 New York State Constitutional Convention.
• Stewart L. Woodford (1835–1913), lawyer and politician; Congressman, U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York, Lieutenant Governor of New York; U.S. Minister to Spain.
[OFFERED WITH:] [Cabinet Photograph of President Benjamin Harrison].
[Np. ca. 1889–1893.] No photographer identified. Light foxing to image, else very good. A three-quarter portrait of Benjamin Harrison, likely while he was sitting as America’s president between the years 1889 to1893. Harris was an Ohio native. He died in Indiana.
Description: Harrison & Morton Club of the Bar of New York. [cover title]
[New York City, 1888]. 61,pp., in manuscript. 9½ x 7½ inches. Flexible, polished brown calf; title gilt-stamped on upper cover; all edges gilt. Contains 694 autograph signatures including 7 which are un-numbered and some duplicates. Some “autographs” may be secretarial, a few bearing initials beneath. Stationer’s ticket on front paste-down: “Nathan Lane’s Sons…126 Pearl St., N.Y.” Some wear spine and edges; front hinge starting; minor soiling from handling; some pages loosening; good. Housed in archival enclosure.