17 Facts About Bainbridge Colby


Bainbridge Colby was an American politician and attorney who was a co-founder of the United States Progressive Party and Woodrow Wilson's last Secretary of State.


Bainbridge Colby served as Secretary of State from February 1920 until 1921, at a time when President Woodrow Wilson was medically handicapped and largely out of touch.


Bainbridge Colby is best known for promoting a Good Neighbor policy for Latin America, and for denouncing the communist regime in Russia.


Bainbridge Colby was born in St Louis, Missouri on December 22,1869.


Bainbridge Colby graduated from Williams College, where he was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa, then attended Columbia Law School and New York Law School.


Bainbridge Colby spoke at the Colby College commencement on June 19,1933, at which time he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.


At the New York state election, 1914, Colby ran on the Progressive ticket for US Senator from New York, but was defeated by Republican James W Wadsworth, Jr.

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Bainbridge Colby was a special assistant to the United States Attorney General in an anti-trust action in 1917, and represented the US at the Inter-Allied Conference at Paris the same year.


Wilson's appointment of Bainbridge Colby was "bizarre" says historian John Milton Cooper, for Bainbridge Colby had no diplomatic experience or skills.


In December 1920, Bainbridge Colby embarked on the battleship Florida for an official goodwill cruise to South America.


Bainbridge Colby advocated his policies firmly even as Wilson suffered the debilitating side effects of a series of strokes.


Bainbridge Colby supported the League of Nations and established a precedent for not recognizing newly Communist Russia; that would be reversed in 1933.


Bainbridge Colby served until Wilson left office on March 4,1921.


Bainbridge Colby decided to divorce his wife while he was in Paris in 1928.


The marriage apparently was very contentious and Bainbridge Colby felt the need to include in his divorce decree a monthly payment of $1,500.00 to stop Nathalie from "ridiculing him in her writings".


When Bainbridge Colby died in 1950, his widow donated much memorabilia to the local library; it eventually found a home at the Library of Congress.


At the time of his death, Bainbridge Colby was the last surviving member of the Wilson Cabinet.