Stimson, Henry L.
Henry Lewis Stimson was born Sept. 21, 1867 in Manhattan. He started attending boarding school when he was 9, soon after his mother died. He spent his summers with his grandmother in the Catskills and loved the outdoors. He was a lifelong member of the Boone and Crockett Club the first wildlife conservation organization, founded by Teddy Roosevelt.
Stimson graduated from Yale, where he was a member of secret society Skull and Bones, and from Harvard Law School. Elihu Root, who went on to become Secretary of War and Secretary of State, was a partner at the law firm where Stimson worked and had a great influence on him. He ran for governor of New York in 1910 but was defeated.
In 1911, President Taft appointed Stimson Secretary of War, but left office in 1913 after President Wilson was elected. He served as a field artillery officer in World War I. In 1927, Stimson was a government representative seeking an end to the civil war in Nicaragua, and then served as the Governor-General of the Philippines until 1929. That same year he was appointed Secretary of State by President Hoover and served until 1933. Shortly after, he shut down the U.S. Cipher Bureau, famously saying that gentleman don’t read each other’s mail.
At 73, Stimson was again appointed Secretary of War, this time by President Roosevelt. He and Gen. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, had adjoining offices, and it is said that the door was never closed between. He had direct control of the Manhattan Project as the supervisor of Gen. Leslie Groves. At the end of the war, he opposed the partition of Germany and insisted on proper judicial proceedings against war criminals in what became the Nuremburg Trials. Stimson retired in Sept. 1945 and wrote his memoirs. He died Oct. 20, 1950.
To find other items that the Marshall Foundation has on Henry Stimson, search “Stimson” in the library catalog: https://www.marshallfoundation.org/library/results/
Digitized items in the George C. Marshall archives: