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Aldrich, Winthrop (02 November 1885–25 February 1974), lawyer, banker, and legal and political adviser, was born Winthrop Williams Aldrich in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich, a U.S. senator, and Abby Chapman. Aldrich graduated from Harvard College in 1907 and Harvard Law School in 1910. Upon graduation from law school Aldrich joined the New York City law firm of Byrne, Cutcheon & Taylor, specializing in finance and commercial law. In 1916 Aldrich was named a junior partner in the firm, and in December of that year he married Harriet Alexander, the granddaughter of California railroad and banking magnate ...

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Chotiner, Murray (04 October 1909–30 January 1974), attorney and Republican political consultant, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Albert H. Chotiner, a small business entrepreneur, and Sarah Chass. In 1921 his family moved to California, where his father began development of a chain of theaters. Four years later Chotiner graduated from Los Angeles High School, where he starred in debate. He attended the University of California, Southern Branch (now University of California, Los Angeles), for one year, again participating on the debate team and in student government, then left in 1926 to attend Southwestern Law School. He received his LL.B. in 1929, the youngest graduate in the school’s history to that date. Before taking and passing the California bar in 1931, Chotiner worked at Security First National Bank. In 1932 he married Phyllis Sylvia Levenson. They had one child before divorcing in 1955....

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Clifford, Clark (25 December 1906–10 October 1998), Washington, D.C., lawyer and presidential adviser, was born Clark McAdams Clifford in Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of Frank Andrew Clifford, an auditor with the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and Georgia McAdams, a children's advocate and lecturer in the National Story Tellers' League. After enjoying a well-mannered midwestern upbringing, in 1923 Clifford enrolled at Washington University in Saint Louis. Two years later he transferred to that university's law school, graduating in 1928. The same year, at age twenty-one, Clifford was hired by the prestigious Saint Louis law firm of Holland, Lashly, & Donnell. The following year while traveling in Europe he met the Boston‐born Margery Pepperell Kimball, whom he married in 1931. The couple raised three daughters together....

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Clark Clifford. Photograph by Yoichi R. Okamoto, c. 1965. Courtesy of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library / National Archives and Records Administration.

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Cohn, Roy (20 February 1927–02 August 1986), anti-Communist crusader, powerbroker, and attorney, was born Roy Marcus Cohn in New York City, the son of Al Cohn, a state judge and Democratic party figure, and Dora Marcus. Dora’s father, Sam Marcus, had founded the Bank of United States, which served a largely Jewish, immigrant clientele. The bank failed during the Great Depression, and the trial of Dora’s brother Bernie Marcus for fraud was one of the formative influences of Roy’s childhood. Al Cohn was the son of a pushcart peddler, had attended law school at night, and used his political influence in the Bronx, as well as Dora’s money, to gain a position as a state trial court judge and later a seat on the intermediate state appellate court. Roy was educated at the Horace Mann School. He had an undistinguished career as an undergraduate at Columbia College and was only admitted to Columbia Law School because of the dearth of students caused by World War II and his father’s political influence. Roy did, however, finish both college and law school in three and a half years and, at age twenty, was too young to enter the bar. He spent a year as a clerk/typist for the U.S. attorney for New York and was promoted to assistant U.S. attorney after his twenty-first birthday....

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Roy Cohn Right, with Joseph McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy hearings. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114995).

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Colson, Charles Wendell (16 October 1931–21 April 2012), political operative and evangelical leader, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the only child of Wendell Ball Colson, an attorney, and Inez (Dizzy) Ducrow. His father earned a reasonable income, but his mother’s spendthrift behavior often endangered the family’s solvency. Bright and often brash, Chuck, as his friends called him, learned about political intrigue as a volunteer in the Massachusetts governor Robert Bradford’s unsuccessful 1948 campaign for reelection....

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Dean, Arthur Hobson (16 October 1898–30 November 1987), lawyer, government adviser, and diplomat, was born in Ithaca, New York, the son of William Cameron Dean, an engineering laboratory assistant, and Maud Campbell Egan. In 1915 Dean enrolled at Cornell University, where he earned money for expenses working as a night clerk at a hotel and as a bookkeeper at a bank. He interrupted his studies to serve in the navy during World War I. Returning to Cornell following peace, Dean received his A.B. in 1921. He then studied law at Cornell, where he was managing editor of the ...

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Dodd, Bella Visono ( October 1904–29 April 1969), teachers' union lobbyist and lawyer, teachers’ union lobbyist and lawyer, was born Maria Assunta Isabella Visono in Picerno, Italy, southeast of Naples, the daughter of Rocco Visono, a grocer, and Teresa Marsica. She was raised in the nearby village of Avialano by foster parents until she was old enough to join her family in New York City at the age of five. Her family moved several times and finally out of the tenements into a large house in Westchester left to her mother by two elderly women for whom she had worked. Determined to become “an American,” Bella excelled in school, rejected Catholicism, and, after World War I, avidly began reading newspapers....

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Finletter, Thomas Knight (11 November 1893–24 April 1980), corporate lawyer, secretary of the air force, and Democratic party adviser, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Dickson Finletter, a prominent Philadelphia judge, and Helen Grill. Finletter grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1915. After serving as a field artillery captain in France during World War I, he attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received his law degree in 1920. That year he married Gretchen Blaine Damrosch; they had two daughters. Also in 1920 he moved to New York City and joined the law firm of Cravath and Henderson, where he remained until 1926, when he joined the prestigious firm of Coudert Brothers. There he specialized in bankruptcy law, about which he wrote several books and articles. Except for service in a number of appointive government posts, Finletter remained with the firm until his retirement....