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Bainbridge Colby Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Bainbridge Colby passes away in 1950.

Bainbridge Colby was an American politician.

Colby was born on December 22nd, 1869 in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Williams College before attending Columbia Law School and then New York Law School in 1892.

After graduating from New York Law School, Colby passed the bar in New York State and began practicing law. One of his early clients was Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) who Colby represented against Clemens' publisher who went bankrupt.

In 1902, Colby was elected to the New York State Assembly. By 1914 Colby had moved from being a Republican to being a Progressive. He ran for several state and federal offices on the Progressive ticket over the next two years and was unsuccessful in all of his bids.

During World War I, Colby served on the United States Shipping Board whose purpose was to try to promote maritime commerce for the United States. In 1917 he was special assistant to the United States Attorney General in an anti-trust action. He also represented the United States at the Inter-Allied Conference at Paris.

In 1920, Colby was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson as Secretary of State. Colby was widely criticized for the fact he had no diplomatic experience. In fact the only skill important to Wilson was Colby's loyalty to him. He had just fired Colby's predecessor for insubordination. It was later in 1920 Colby, a strong advocate of the Nineteenth Amendment (Women's Suffrage), was able to announce the Amendments ratification. Colby also supported the League of Nations. Colby left the Secretary of State position when Wilson left office.

After leaving office Colby went back into private practice and Woodrow Wilson was one of his law partners for a few years.

Colby was married in 1895 to Nathalie Sedgwick who became a novelist. The marriage was reportedly contentious and in 1928 while in Paris, Colby filed for divorce. Reportedly Colby had a $1,500 a month stipend written into the divorce decree so Sedgwick stopped "ridiculing him in her writings."

Colby passed away on April 11th, 1950.

Colby was a member of Kane Lodge No. 454 in New York City, New York.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.