Amos Pinchot

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Amos Pinchot
Pinchot 2515738603 56f11ca0d7 o.jpg
Amos Pinchot and his sister, Lady Alan Johnstone, circa 1913
Born Amos Richards Eno Pinchot
(1873-12-06)December 6, 1873
Paris, France
Died February 18, 1944(1944-02-18) (aged 70)
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Bronchial pneumonia
Resting place Milford Cemetery
Residence Grey Towers
Nationality American
Alma mater Yale University
Columbia University
New York Law School
Occupation Lawyer, reformist
Spouse(s) Gertrude Minturn (m. 1900; div. 1918)
Ruth Pickering (m. 1919–44)
Children Rosamond Pinchot
Gifford Pinchot
Mary Pinchot Meyer
Antoinette "Toni" Pinchot
Relatives Gifford Pinchot (brother)
Antoinette E. Pinchot (sister)

Amos Richards Eno Pinchot (December 6, 1873 – February 18, 1944) was an American lawyer and reformist. He never held public office but managed to exert considerable influence in reformist circles and did much to keep progressive and Georgist ideas alive in the 1920s.

Early life and education[edit]

Pinchot was born in Paris, to American parents, who were Episcopalians. His father was James W. Pinchot, a successful New York City wallpaper merchant and supporter of the conservation movement and his mother was Mary Eno, daughter of one of New York City's wealthiest real estate developers, Amos Eno. His siblings were the conservation leader Gifford Pinchot, and Antoinette E. Pinchot who later married Alan Johnstone.[1]

Pinchot was educated at Yale where he was a member of the secret society Skull and Bones,[2]:88–9 He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1897. In 1898, Pinchot enrolled at Columbia University to study law. Later that same year, he left school to fight in the Spanish–American War. Pinchot enlisted in the 1st New York Volunteer Cavalry and served in Puerto Rico. After the war ended, he enrolled in New York Law School in 1899 and was admitted to the bar association in New York in 1900.[3][4]


Shortly after being admitted to the bar, Pinchot was appointed deputy assistant district attorney for New York County. He left the position in 1901.[3][4]

In 1905, Pinchot served a year's political apprenticeship as a lobbyist for President Theodore Roosevelt and returned to Washington again in 1909 to live and work with his brother Gifford during the Pinchot-Ballinger controversy, which pitted his brother (recently fired as the US Forest Service chief) against President William Howard Taft's Secretary of the Interior. Taft had fired Gifford for insubordination, which inflamed the insurgent wing of the Republican Party allied to Roosevelt.

Pinchot (wielding a letter of support from Roosevelt campaign manager Senator Joseph M. Dixon) in battle with Perkins (with a check book symbolizing control of money) for control of the U.S. Progressive party. Editorial cartoon by Rollin Kirby, 1912.

Though a member of Roosevelt's inner circle during the Bull Moose campaign of 1912, Pinchot exasperated the former president with his moralistic criticism of the role of big business in the party, including his criticism of the party chairman, George Walbridge Perkins, who was a leading industrialist and sat on the board of U.S. Steel. Pinchot ultimately joined the Democratic Party, defended the rights of workers, and became acquainted with leftist intellectuals.

In 1924, he supported Robert La Follette's presidential bid and wrote a history of the Progressive Party. His opposition to preparedness before World War I, insistence that wartime profits be heavily taxed, strong anticommunism in his later years, and involvement in the America First Committee alienated many political allies and made his last days difficult. In 1937, he was a founding member of the National Committee to Uphold Constitutional Government.

Personal life[edit]

On November 14, 1900, Pinchot married Gertrude Minturn at St. George's Episcopal Church in New York City. Minturn was the eldest daughter of shipping magnate Robert Bowne Minturn, Jr. and his wife Sarah Susannah Minturn (née Shaw).[5] They had two children, Rosamond and Gifford Pinchot. The couple divorced in 1918.[6]

In August 1919, Pinchot married magazine writer Ruth Pickering.[7] With Pickering, Pinchot would have two more children: Mary Eno (later Mary Pinchot Meyer) and Antoinette "Toni" Pinchot.[8]

Later years and death[edit]

On January 24, 1938, Pinchot's eldest daughter Rosamond committed suicide at the age of 33.[9] Rosamond's death sent Pinchot into a deep depression and, in August 1942, he attempted suicide by slashing his wrists. He lost a considerable amount of blood during the attempt and would never regain his health.[10] He was confined to hospitals and sanatoriums for the remainder of his life.[11]

Pinchot died of bronchial pneumonia on February 18, 1944, in a Bronx sanatorium.[10][12] His funeral was held at the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City.[13] Amos Pinchot is buried in the Pinchot family plot in Milford Cemetery in Milford, Pennsylvania.[4]


Further reading[edit]

  • Nancy Pittman Pinchot, Amos Pinchot: Rebel Prince, Pennsylvania History. vol. 66, no. 2 (1999), pp. 166–198.


  1. ^ "Pinchot - Johnstone". New York Times. December 22, 1892. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  2. ^ "Yale Obituary Record 1943 - 1944" (PDF). Yale University. 
  3. ^ a b "Amos Pinchot Papers (Biographical Note)" (PDF). Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. 2009. p. 4. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Amos Richards Eno Pinchot (1873 - 1944)". Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "THE WEDDINGS OF A DAY; Marriage of Miss Gertrude Minturn to Mr. Pinchot. The Ceremony at St. George's Church -- Many Guests Invited -- The Bride's Costume.". The New York Times. 1900-11-15. 
  6. ^ (Gaston 2009, p. 61)
  7. ^ "Amos Pinchot Married To Magazine Writer". The Gazette Times. 1919-08-10. p. 3. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Bernstein, Adam (2011-11-04). "Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee, former wife of prominent Washington Post executive editor Benjamin C. Bradlee, dies at 87". Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Rosamond Pinchot Ends Life". The Pittsburgh Press. 1968-01-24. p. 1. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b (Shearer 2009, p. 675)
  11. ^ (Gaston 2009, pp. 256–257)
  12. ^ Whitman, Alden (1985). American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary. H.W. Wilson Co. p. 656. ISBN 0-824-20705-X. 
  13. ^ "Amos Pinchot Rites Wednesday". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1944-02-21. p. 4. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 

Works cited[edit]

  • Gaston, Bibi (2009). The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaughter's Search for Home. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-085771-4
  • Shearer, Benjamin F. (2007). Home Front Heroes: A Biographical Dictionary of Americans During Wartime, Volume 3. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-33423-4

External links[edit]