The son of Robert Winthrop, Beekman came from a family of wealth and influence in New York (though he was born in Orange, New Jersey) and attended Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he received an undergraduate degree in 1897 and a law degree in 1900. A descendant of both John Winthrop, first Governor of Massachusetts, and John Winthrop, the Younger, first Governor of Connecticut, within four years after graduating he became first a personal secretary to (future President) William Howard Taft while he was Governor-General of the Philippines, and later was appointed as a judge in the Court of First Instance in the Philippines. He was known to be a personal friend of Theodore Roosevelt and was appointed by him in 1904 as Governor of Puerto Rico, at the age of only 28.
Winthrop took office as governor on July 4, 1904, and served until April 17, 1907. On his inauguration, he promised improvements to the educational system of Puerto Rico. Winthrop was a strong proponent of bringing citizenship and locally elected officials to Puerto Rico.
In 1907, Winthrop was appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury by President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1909, he was made Assistant Secretary of the Navy by President Taft, a post he retained (with time as Acting Secretary) until 1913.
- BEEKMAN WINTHROP The Independent ... Devoted to the Consideration of Politics, Social and Economic Tendencies, History, Literature, and the Arts. New York: Jun 16, 1904.Vol.56, Iss. 2898; pg. 1373, 1 pgs
- SENATE CONFIRMATIONS.; MILITARY, NAVAL AND CIVIL. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Apr 28, 1904. pg. 4, 1 pgs
- The Work of Congress. The Independent ... Devoted to the Consideration of Politics, Social and Economic Tendencies, History, Literature, and the Arts. New York: Apr 28, 1904.Vol.56, Iss. 2891; pg. 933, 2 pgs
- WINTHROP INAUGURATED. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Jul 5, 1904. pg. 1, 1 pgs
- A COLONIAL GOVERNOR AT TWENTY-EIGHT By Frederick T. Birchall. Leslie's Monthly Magazine. New York: Dec 1904.Vol.VOLUME LIX., Iss. NO. 2; pg. 172, 2 pgs
- BEEKMAN WINTHROP NAMED; Boy Governor to be Assistant Secretary of Treasury. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Mar 3, 1907. pg. 1, 1 pgs
- BEEKMAN WINTHROP NAMED.; Taft Selects Him for First Assistant Secretary of Treasury. The Atlanta Constitution (1881–2001). Atlanta, Ga.: Dec 30, 1908. pg. 9, 1 pgs
- STATE WANTS FIGUREHEAD. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Jun 22, 1909. pg. 4, 1 pgs
- Resignations from National City Bank Wall Street Journal. New York, N.Y.: Oct 18, 1916. pg. 8, 1 pgs
- KERMIT AND BIG BIRD SLEPT HERE. The Wall Street Journal. New York, N.Y.: February 8, 2011.
- New York Times obituary, November 11, 1940
William Henry Hunt
|Governor of Puerto Rico
Regis Henri Prost
Herbert L. Satterlee
|Assistant Secretary of the Navy
March 6, 1909 – March 16, 1913
Franklin D. Roosevelt