Nathan L. Miller
|Nathan Lewis Miller|
|43rd Governor of New York|
January 1, 1921 – December 31, 1922
|Preceded by||Alfred E. Smith|
|Succeeded by||Alfred E. Smith|
October 10, 1868|
Solon, New York
|Died||June 26, 1953(aged 84)|
He was the son of Samuel Miller, a tenant farmer, and Almira Russell Miller. He attended Groton Union School, and graduated from Cortland Normal School in 1887. Then he studied law in Cortland, New York. He read law and was admitted to the state bar in 1893. On November 23, 1896, he married Elizabeth Davern, and they had seven children, all daughters.
He entered politics as a Republican, and started his political career in Cortland as corporation counsel. Eventually he moved to corporate law and his rise in politics was strongly helped by his relationship with Andrew Carnegie and the United States Steel Corporation. Miller helped to effect the mergers that created this early mega-corporation. The merger helped Carnegie get out of the steel business and make him the richest man in the world at the time.
He was New York State Comptroller from 1901 to 1903, first appointed to fill the unexpired term of Erastus C. Knight who had been elected Mayor of Buffalo, and in November 1902 elected to a full term.
He resigned the comptrollership in 1903, and was appointed to the New York Supreme Court, serving from 1903 to 1915, from 1904 on serving on its Appellate Division. On January 13, 1913, he was designated an associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals under the amendment of 1899, but resigned from the bench on July 30, 1915. He served as President of the New York State Bar Association in 1920. He nominated Herbert Hoover for president at the 1920 Republican National Convention.
Miller was Governor of New York from 1921 to 1922, elected in 1920. As governor he instituted numerous economy measures and estimated he saved taxpayers $20 million. Against opposition from New York City Mayor John F. Hylan, Miller fashioned the law creating the New York City Transit Commission. He found the death penalty necessary, and was against its abolition. Miller was against women's rights, telling the League of Women Voters in 1921, that they were "dangerous." He told their convention they were “a menace to American institutions.” In 1922, he was defeated in a bid for re-election by his predecessor Al Smith, whom he had unseated in 1920. Miller was a strong supporter of the Roman Catholic Church, his wife's religion, and converted to Catholicism on his deathbed.
From 1925 on he served as general counsel for U.S. Steel. He, like his old adversary Smith was active in the American Liberty League, a bipartisan anti-New Deal group founded by wealthy conservatives. While still the leading partner at his law firm in 1938, Carnegie's Pittsburgh Steamship Company named a ship "Governor Miller" in his honor.
In January 1952 the New York State Bar Association awarded Miller its first gold medal for "distinguished service to the legal profession."
He died in 1953 at his New York hotel residence after fracturing his hip following a vacation in Arizona. He was buried in Cortland at the historic Cortland Rural Cemetery.
- Appointment as Comptroller, in NYT on December 31, 1901
- Appointment to the Supreme Court, in NYT on November 11, 1903
- Political Graveyard
- His opinion on the death penalty, in NYT on May 1, 1921
- History of Court of Appeal
Erastus C. Knight
|New York State Comptroller
|Governor of New York