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Samuel Seabury (judge)

Samuel Seabury
Seabury circa 1913
Born (1873-02-22)February 22, 1873
New York City
Died May 7, 1958(1958-05-07) (aged 85)
East Hampton, New York
Occupation Judge, attorney, politician
Employer New York Court of Appeals
Known for Seabury Commission
Religion Episcopalian
Spouse(s) Maud Richey
Parents William Jones Seabury
Alice Van Wyck Beare
Relatives Samuel Seabury (1729–1796), Samuel Seabury (1801–1872), ancestors

Samuel Seabury (February 22, 1873 - May 7, 1958) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.


  • Family 1
  • Legal and Judicial Career 2
  • Death and Legacy 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


A descendant of several Anglican priests (including the first Episcopalian bishop, Samuel Seabury, whose portrait later hung over the fireplace in his library),[1] this Samuel Seabury was the son of William Jones Seabury, professor of canon law (and himself the son of theologian Samuel Seabury), and Alice Van Wyck Beare. On June 6, 1900, this Sam Seabury married Maud Richey (d. 1950), but they never had children.

Legal and Judicial Career

Seabury graduated from New York Law School in 1893, and was admitted to the bar in 1894. In 1899, he ran on the Independent Labor, Republican, and other minor parties', tickets for the New York City Court but was defeated by the Tammany Hall candidate. In 1901, Seabury ran again for the City Court, this time on the Citizens Union ticket, and was elected to a ten-year term.

In 1905, Seabury ran for the New York Supreme Court (actually a trial court) on the Municipal Ownership League ticket headed by William Randolph Hearst for Mayor, but was defeated. In 1906, he ran again, this time on the Democratic and Independence League fusion ticket headed by Hearst for Governor, and was elected to a fourteen-year term.

In 1913, Seabury ran on the Progressive ticket for the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, but was defeated. The following year, he ran again, this time on the Democratic, Progressive, Independence League, and American tickets, and was elected to a fourteen-year term, becoming the only Democrat elected that year. On December 8, 1914, Seabury was appointed to the Court of Appeals three weeks before his elective term would begin, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William B. Hornblower.

In 1916, the Democrats nominated Seabury for Governor of New York. He resigned from the bench believing that the Progressive Party would nominate him too, based on what he thought were promises by Theodore Roosevelt. The Progressives, however, endorsed Republican incumbent Charles S. Whitman after Roosevelt told them that "no Progressive should vote for Seabury." Seabury supposedly responded by calling Roosevelt a "blatherskite" to his face. Whitman defeated Seabury.

Seabury then resumed his private law practice. Active in the Hofstadter Committee (sometimes called the Seabury Investigations), a joint legislative committee which investigated corruption in New York's municipal courts and police department and called over a thousand witnesses. Those investigations forced Jimmy Walker out of the office of Mayor of New York City. In 1950, Seabury published The New Federalism, expressing doubts about increasing governmental power.[2]

Death and Legacy

An invalid for several years, Seabury died at Hand's Nursing Home in East Hampton.[3] He was buried in the graveyard of Trinity Church (Manhattan).[4]

A park was named to honor Judge Seabury. On the corner of 96th street and Lexington Avenue, it was renovated in 2005-2006.


  1. ^ Herbert Mitgang, Man who Rode the Tiger (J.P. Lippincott, 1963) republished (Fordham University Press, 1996) p. 7
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Samuel Seabury Dies on L. I. at 85. His Investigations in '30's Led to Resignation of Walker as Mayor Judge Seabury ls Dead at 85; Forced Walker Out of Office".  
  4. ^

External links

  • Court of Appeals judges at New York Court History
  • Great American Judges by John R. Vile, Kermit Hall & John R. Vile (ABC-CLIO, 2003, ISBN 1-57607-989-9, ISBN 978-1-57607-989-8 ; pages 683ff) [with portrait]
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