Richard Schell

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Richard Schell, New York Congressman. Photo by Rockwood.

Richard Schell (May 15, 1810 – November 10, 1879) was an American politician who represented New York in the United States House of Representatives from 1874 to 1875.

Schell was born in Rhinebeck, New York. He completed preparatory studies and engaged in mercantile pursuits before he moved to New York City in 1830 and became a wholesale dry-goods merchant. He was a member of the New York State Senate (6th D.) in 1858 and 1859.

Schell was also an agent and lobbyist for Cornelius Vanderbilt.[1]

Schell was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-third Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of David B. Mellish and served from December 7, 1874, to March 3, 1875. After leaving Congress, he resumed mercantile pursuits. He died in New York City in 1879 and was buried in the Old Dutch Cemetery in Rhinebeck.

In the 2012 film Lincoln, the character of Richard Schell was portrayed by actor Tim Blake Nelson. He was shown lobbying for votes from Democratic House members to obtain passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[2]


  1. ^ T.J. Stiles, The First Tycoon, 2009, page 452
  2. ^ Patricia Allan Lucie, Freedom and Federalism: Congress and Courts, 1861-1866, 1986, page 118

External links[edit]

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Erastus Brooks
New York State Senate
6th District

Succeeded by
Benjamin F. Manierre
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
David B. Mellish
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Fernando Wood