John Addison Porter (Secretary to the President)
|John Addison Porter|
April 17, 1856|
New Haven, Connecticut
|Died||December 15, 1900
|New Haven, Connecticut
Russell Military Academy
Hopkins Grammar School
|Occupation||First "Secretary to the President" (1897-1900)
|Employer||President William McKinley
Rep. William Walter Phelps
|Spouse(s)||Amy Ellen Betts|
|Children||Josephine Earl Porter Van Name|
|Parents||John Addison Porter and Josephine Earl Sheffield|
|Relatives||Joseph Earl Sheffield (grandfather)
Rep. William Walter Phelps (uncle)
John Addison Porter (April 17, 1856 – December 15, 1900) was an American journalist, and the first person to hold the position of "Secretary to the President". He was born in New Haven, Connecticut and died in Pomfret, Connecticut.
Academic and professional life
Porter attended Hopkins Grammar School and the Russell Military Academy at New Haven, and graduated from Yale College with an A.B. in 1878. As an undergraduate, he served on the sixth editorial board of The Yale Record. He received an A.M. in American history from Yale in 1881. He studied law with his uncle, William Jarvis Boardman, in Cleveland, Ohio, but never practiced that profession.
In 1880 he joined the staff of the Hartford Observer. He was also a reporter for a brief time on the New Haven Daily Palladium and on the Hartford Courant. In 1882 he became literary editor of the New York Observer. Moving to Washington, D.C., he continued his newspaper work.
Moving to Pomfret, Connecticut in 1886, he purchased a third interest in the ‘’Hartford Evening Post’’, and became managing editor and editor-in-chief. He sold the paper in 1899.
In 1886, he organized and ran the Oregon Publishing Company, which took over the Portland Telegram newspaper (founded 1877). The Telegram, a Republican-leaning newspaper, merged in 1931 with the Portland News, creating the Portland News-Telegram, which in turn ceased publishing in 1939.
In 1887 illness obliged him to spend the winter in the South; returning north he purchased an estate in Pomfret, Connecticut which became his final home.
In 1891 he served as a representative from Pomfret in the Connecticut legislature. In 1892 he was a delegate to the Republican national convention in Minneapolis. In 1894, 1896 and 1898 he was considered as a Republican nominee for governor of Connecticut, but was ultimately not chosen. He was influential in persuading the Connecticut delegate to the St. Louis convention to cast their votes for William McKinley.
In 1893 he organized and became president of the McKinley Club of Hartford, the first McKinley club of the country.
McKinley appointed him Secretary to the President of the United States in February 1897. Illness, dating from about spring 1899 interfered with his duties, and he resigned the position on May 1, 1900.
He died of a malignant intestinal disease in December 1900 at age 44.
He was the author of:
- The Corporation of Yale College, 1885
- Origin and Administration of the City of Washington, 1885
- Sketches of Yale Life, 1886
In 1882 he married Amy E. Betts, granddaughter of Judge Samuel Rossiter Betts of New York. In 1901 she founded the John Addison Porter Prize in American History at Yale University in memory of her husband.
John Addison Porter Prize in American History
The John Addison Porter Prize in American History for undergraduate history majors was established in 1901. It is distinct and separate from the prize named for his father, which is open to all in the university. Winners of the undergraduate John Addison Porter Prize for outstanding senior essays have included:
- "J. ADDISON PORTER DEAD.; Was Secretary to President McKinley Until Failing Health Caused I Him to Resign.". NYT. 1900-12-16. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University, Yale University, 1900-1, New Haven, pp. 75-77.
- "Record Editors". The Yale Banner. New Haven: Thomas Penney and G. D. Pettee. 1877. p. 182.
- Boardman was the husband of Porter's mother's sister, Florence Sheffield.
- Phelps was the husband of Porter's mother's sister, Ellen Maria Sheffield.
- Yale university prizes. History