George B. McClellan, Jr.

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George B. McClellan, Jr.
93rd Mayor of New York City[1]
In office
January 1, 1904 – December 31, 1909
Preceded by Seth Low
Succeeded by William Jay Gaynor
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 12th district
In office
March 4, 1895 – December 21, 1903
Preceded by William Bourke Cockran
Succeeded by William Bourke Cockran
Personal details
Born George Brinton McClellan, Jr.
(1865-11-23)November 23, 1865
Dresden, Saxony
Died November 30, 1940(1940-11-30) (aged 75)
Washington, D.C.
Spouse(s) Georgiana Louise Heckscher (b. 1863 – d.1952)

George Brinton McClellan, Jr., (November 23, 1865 – November 30, 1940) was an American politician, statesman, author, historian,[2] and educator. The son of American Civil War general and presidential candidate George B. McClellan, he served as the 93rd Mayor of New York City from 1904 to 1909.[3]

Life and career[edit]

McClellan, known to his family as "Max", was born in Dresden, Kingdom of Saxony (Germany), where his parents were visiting. He went to school in Trenton in New Jersey – where his father was Governor – and later Saint John's School in Ossining, New York. From 1885 to 1888 he served in the New York Army National Guard.[4] He received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Princeton in 1886 and his Master of Arts in 1889; Princeton, Fordham University, and Union College later gave him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. After leaving school, he engaged in reportorial and editorial work on the New York World and other newspapers. In 1892 he was admitted to the bar. He served for some time as secretary and treasurer of the New York and Brooklyn Bridge.

In 1892, he was elected President of the Board of Aldermen of New York City for the following two years, and for a part of 1894 he served as acting mayor. His success and popularity enabled him in 1895 to become United States Congressman (as a Democrat), a position he held until resigning to become Mayor in late 1903. In Congress, he was a prominent member of the Ways and Means Committee. In November 1903, McClellan defeated the sitting Mayor, Seth Low (independent Fusion), for a two-year term. He was re-elected in 1905, after the restoration of four-year mayoral terms, but not considered for a third term in 1909.

Throughout his political career, he remained interested in education and in 1906 he was made chancellor of Union College.[citation needed] At Princeton he delivered the Stafford Little lectures on public affairs (1908–1910), served as university lecturer (1911–1912), and was then appointed professor of economic history.

He is notable in the history of movie censorship for canceling all moving-picture exhibition licenses on Christmas Eve 1908, claiming that the new medium degraded the morals of the community and that celluloid film was an unacceptable fire hazard.[5]

One of the more famous stories about him occurred on October 27, 1904. On that day, the Interborough Rapid Transit, New York City's first subway, opened. McClellan was to start the first train at the City Hall Station, and then hand it over to an IRT motorman. However, he was enjoying himself so much, he refused to give up the controls until the train reached 103rd street station.

McClellan served in World War I entering the Army as major assigned to the Ordnance Department in May 1917 and he was honorably discharged in May 1919 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He died childless on November 30, 1940, one week after his 75th birthday, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[4][6]

Selected works[edit]

  • The Oligarchy of Venice. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1904.
  • The Heel of War. New York: G.W. Dillingham Company, 1916.
  • Venice and Bonaparte. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1931.
  • Modern Italy: A Short History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1933.
  • The Gentleman and the Tiger: The Autobiography of George B. McClellan, Jr. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1956.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "The Green Book: Mayors of the City of New York" on the official NYC website]
  2. ^ McClellan, The Gentleman and the Tiger: The Autobiography of George B. McClellan, Jr, pp. 13,31.
  3. ^ "Arlington National Cemetery". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  4. ^ a b "George McClellan is Stricken at 75". New York Times. December 1, 1940. Retrieved 2007-06-14. "Mayor of New York, 1903-09, Son of Civil War General, Dead in Washington. Had Served in Congress. Princeton Alumnus of 1889 a Lecturer on Economics at Alma Mater, 1912-1930. Washington, DC, November 30, 1940. Colonel George Brinton McClellan, son of the famous Civil War general and a former member of Congress and Mayor of New York City from 1903 to 1909, died early today at his home here." 
  5. ^ Picture Shows All Out of Business. The New York Times, December 25, 1908.
  6. ^ George Brinton McClellan at Find a Grave


External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William B. Cockran
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 12th congressional district

March 4, 1895 – December 21, 1903
Succeeded by
William B. Cockran
Political offices
Preceded by
Seth Low
Mayor of New York City
1904 to 1909
Succeeded by
William Jay Gaynor