Appointed by President Woodrow Wilson Democrat
Bainbridge Colby, President Woodrow Wilson's third and last Secretary of State, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on December 22, 1869, the only child of a prominent New York family. His father, John Peck Colby, was a lawyer and an officer in the Union Army, whereas his mother, Frances L. Bainbridge, was a descendant of the famous commodore.
Colby grew up with strong religious convictions. As he later recalled, “No man has more respect than I for the churches and for religion as such. I am descended, on both sides of my family, from ministers of the gospel; both my grandfathers were Baptist clergymen, and that is going some.” Colby received the A.B. degree from Williams College in 1890 and attended Columbia University Law School, where Charles Evans Hughes was the Dean, for one year, completing his legal studies at New York Law School in 1892. Upon receiving the LL.B. degree, he began practicing law in New York under the name Alexander and Colby and soon gained recognition as a litigation lawyer. Among his many well-known clients was Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), whom he represented in the settlement of the latter's financial affairs with his publishers, Charles L. Webster & Co., in 1894. Colby also served as counsel in the Northern Securities antitrust case of 1902.
Colby's political career was marked by independence and party irregularity. He entered politics as a Republican but was elected to the New York State Assembly on a fusion ticket in 1901, polling the largest vote ever given to a candidate in the Twenty-Ninth District. Declining renomination, he returned to his law practice at the conclusion of his one-year term. In 1912, as a young man with progressive ideas, he became prominently identified with the movement to nominate Theodore Roosevelt for president. After Roosevelt and his followers bolted the Republican Convention, Colby helped organize the Progressive Party and served as a delegate to its first convention at Chicago, which nominated the Rough Rider for president the following August. Colby also wrote “The Stolen Nomination, ” a widely circulated Progressive manifesto, claiming that William Howard Taft's fol-