Martin C. Ansorge

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Martin Charles Ansorge
Martin Ansorge.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 21st district
In office
March 4, 1921 - March 3, 1923
Preceded by Jerome F. Donovan
Succeeded by Royal H. Weller
Personal details
Born January 1, 1882
Corning, New York
Died February 4, 1967
New York City
Political party Republican

Martin Charles Ansorge (January 1, 1882 – February 4, 1967) was a United States Representative from New York.


Ansorge was born in Corning, Steuben County, New York on January 1, 1882 to Mark Perry Ansorge and Jennie Bach. He attended the public schools and the College of the City of New York. He graduated from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1903 and from the Columbia Law School in 1906. It is rumored that Ansorge was also a founding member of the Columbia University Bowling Team.

Ansorge was admitted to the bar in 1906 and commenced practice in New York City. He then pursued a political career which resulted in his election to the 67th United States Congress. After his political career, he resumed his activity as a lawyer.

Ansorge died in New York City, February 4, 1967 and was interred in Temple Israel Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Political career[edit]

Ansorge was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for election to Congress in 1912, 1914, and 1916. In his bid for the 21st Congressional Seat in 1916, Ansorge's campaign slogan was "Feed America First", advocating the necessity of an embargo upon shipment abroad of foodstuffs needed for the consumption of American people, taking a stand on international trade negotiations and import tariffs post WWI.[1] He declined the Republican nomination for Congress in 1918.

During the First World War Ansorge enlisted in the Motor Transport Corps. He was the first chairman of the Triborough Bridge Committee,[2] position that he held from 1918 to 1921. A magazine once referred to Ansorge as "The father of the Triborough Bridge".[citation needed]

Ansorge was elected as a Republican to the 67th United States Congress (March 4, 1921 – March 3, 1923). Ansorge unsuccessfully contested the election of Royal H. Weller to the 68th United States Congress in 1922, where he was defeated by 345 votes. He fought in court and after decision of Judge Learned Hand to dismiss an injunction by Weller to prevent the opening of the ballot boxes,[3] obtained a votes recount but, in spite of a plurality of valid ballots recognised to him, Weller retained his seat by 10 votes.[4]

As a Congressman, Ansorge was influential in the passing of the first-ever anti-lynching legislation.[5] His writing of legislation on the matter was eventually included into the ultimately successful Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill, which prohibited lynching in America. Shortly after Ansorge's much heralded speech on the floor of Congress in support of the controversial Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill, Butler wrote to Ansorge "You are making a fine and highly patriotic record in the House, and your friends are proud of you". As founder of the Young Republicans at Columbia University, Ansorge was a protoge, close friend, and political ally of then Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler. The two remained very close for years, and Ansorge was staff to Butler at the Republican Convention. Ansorge spoke on behalf of Butler at a number of political rallies in New York.

Ansorge was co-author of the original Port Authority Bill, which he shepherded successfully through Congress.[2] He was an active leader in efforts to develop "the greatest port in the world" connecting New York and New Jersey. He presented the bill to President Calvin Coolidge to sign into law. The pen stayed in the Ansorge family for some years until it was given to the City Museum of New York.

In a great controversy, Ansorge nominated the first African-American to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1922.[citation needed]

Ansorge was an unsuccessful candidate for judge of the court of general sessions of New York City in 1924 and unsuccessful candidate for justice of the supreme court of New York in 1927 and in 1928.

The New York Times made mention of Ansorge as a candidate for Mayor of New York City in 1949.[6]

Next career[edit]

After his political career, Ansorge resumed the practice of law in New York City, was director of United Air Lines from 1934 to 1961, and was engaged in general practice of law. Ansorge represented car manufacturing magnate Henry Ford in the Aaron Sapiro libel lawsuit, which resulted in Ford's apologies and agreement to pay court costs.[2][7]


Most of this information is found in his memoirs,[citation needed] published by the Columbia University Oral History Project.


  1. ^ "Mr. Ansorge's Slogan. - View Article -" (pdf). The New York Times. November 14, 1916. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  2. ^ a b c Truman, Harry S.; William R. Denslow (2004). 10,000 Famous Freemasons from K to Z Part Two (Kessinger Publishing's Rare Reprints). Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 27. ISBN 1-4179-7579-2. 
  3. ^ "ANSORGE WINS POINT IN CONGRESS FIGHT - Judge Learned Hand Dismisses Injunction Against Opening Ballot Boxes -". The New York Times. February 28, 1923. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  4. ^ "Election Contests, 1917–31 -" (pdf). Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  5. ^ Jeffery A. Jenkins, Justin Peck, Vesla M. Weaver (14 May 2009). "Between Reconstructions: Congressional Action on Civil Rights, 1891-1940" (pdf). Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  6. ^ "ANSORGE UP FOR MAYOR - Republican Announces He Will Seek Nomination - Article -". The New York Times. March 16, 1949. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  7. ^ Wayne State University Press; Bryan, Ford R. (1997). Beyond the Model T: the other ventures of Henry Ford. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 104. ISBN 0-8143-2682-X. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jerome F. Donovan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 21st congressional district

1921 - 1923
Succeeded by
Royal H. Weller