Charles S. Whitman

41st Governor, 1915-1919
Charles S. Whitman

Under Governor Hughes, Charles S. Whitman (1868–1947) was appointed Deputy Attorney General to investigate election fraud. He was later elected district attorney of New York County. As governor, Whitman mobilized men and finances during World War I. During his term, the New York State Police were organized, women achieved the right to vote, and the Prohibition Amendment was ratified. Whitman later served as Commander of the Port Authority of New York and president of the American Bar Association.

41st Governor Charles S. Whitman
About the Artist

Adolfo Muller-Uri (1862–1947) was a Swiss-born artist who began his career painting landscapes. His skill at portraiture captured the attention of a railroad builder in St. Paul, who commissioned many family portraits. This led to other commissions and international recognition as a portraitist.


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Historic Documents



Letter from Governor Charles Whitman, 1915.
Letter from Governor Charles Whitman, 1915

Letter from Governor Charles Whitman, May 11, 1915, to Eugene Richards, Superintendent of Banks, requesting that state agency heads facilitate a study to be carried out by the Senate Committee on Civil Service.

Loaned By Dennis Holzman Antiques


Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1916
Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1916

Proclamation declaring Thursday, November 30, 1916, Thanksgiving Day. Signed by Governor Charles Whitman, November 10, 1916.

Loaned By Dennis Holzman Antiques

From The Encyclopedia of New York State

Whitman, Charles S(eymour) (b Hanover, Conn, 28 Aug 1868; d New York City, 29 Mar 1947). Governor.

Graduating from Amherst College in 1890 and New York University Law School in 1894, Whitman opened a legal practice in New York City and participated in local Republican politics. As district attorney of New York Co, his 1912 campaign against police corruption won him statewide prominence and catapulted him into the state governorship in 1914 with a victory over Democrat Martin H. Glynn.

Whitman served two terms in Albany, winning reelection in 1916 against Democrat Samuel Seabury. Whitman’s gubernatorial administrations were marked by a concern for fiscal and bureaucratic efficiency and the implementation of modest reforms. He also oversaw the state’s 1915 Constitutional Convention and the adoption of prohibition and woman suffrage (both of which he supported) and guided the state through the tumultuous years of World War I. Defeated for reelection in 1918 by Democrat Alfred E. Smith, Whitman returned to private legal practice in New York City and remained influential in Republican and Fusion politics.


Public Papers of Charles Seymour Whitman, Governor, 4 vols (Albany: J. B. Lyon, 1916–19)
Christopher Capozzola


Peter Eisenstadt, ed., The Encyclopedia of New York State
(Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005), [p. 1699].
© Syracuse University Press. Reproduced with permission from the publisher.