Thomas D. Thacher

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Thomas D. Thacher
Thomas D Thatcher.jpg
Born Thomas Day Thacher
(1881-09-10)September 10, 1881
Tenafly, New Jersey
Died November 12, 1950(1950-11-12) (aged 69)
New York City
Resting place Brookside Cemetery
Title President of the New York City Bar Association
Term 1933–1935
Parent(s) Thomas Thacher
Sarah McCulloh Green
Relatives Thomas Anthony Thacher, grandfather

Thomas Day Thacher (September 10, 1881 – November 12, 1950) was a lawyer and judge in New York City.[1]


Thacher was born in Tenafly, New Jersey, oldest of the four children of Thomas Thacher, a prominent New York lawyer, and Sarah McCulloh (Green) Thacher. He attended Taft School and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, for his preparatory education, before following a family tradition and going to Yale University, where he was a member of Skull and Bones.[2]:183 At Yale he won the university's John Addison Porter Prize and graduated in 1904. Thacher attended Yale Law School for two years, leaving before obtaining his degree. In 1906, he was admitted to the New York bar and joined the practice of his father at the firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Thomas Day Thacher was the grandson of Yale administrator and professor Thomas Anthony Thacher, and the great-great-grandson of American founding father Roger Sherman.

Thacher's career in public service began when he was appointed Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1907, at the age of 26. While in this position, Thacher was recognized for his work in prosecuting customs fraud. In 1910, Thacher returned to Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, where he became a partner in 1914. Thacher remained in practice there until 1925, except during the World War I, when he worked with the American Red Cross, providing funding for the Bolshevik Revolution, in Russia from 1917–1918.

In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge named Thacher to be a judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Thacher was instrumental in investigating the operation of the bankruptcy laws in New York City. His reports to President Herbert Hoover were the basis for amendments to the law that extended judicial control of the over bankruptcy proceedings and speeded up the resolution of some cases.

In 1930, Hoover appointed Thacher as Solicitor General of the United States. Thacher held that office until May 1933, when he returned to his New York legal practice. He helped create the movement that made possible the election of Fiorello H. La Guardia as mayor of New York. La Guardia appointed Thacher as the leader on the commission to write a new city charter and as the city's corporation counsel in 1943. On May 12, 1943, Governor Thomas E. Dewey appointed Thacher to the New York Court of Appeals to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Edward R. Finch. In November 1943, Thacher was elected to a full fourteen-year term, but resigned from the bench on November 18, 1948.

Thacher was a fellow of the Yale Corporation from 1931–1949 and as president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York from 1933 to 1935. He was a member of numerous social clubs. He first married Eunice Booth Burall, and had three children: Sarah Booth (Storm), Mary Eunice (Brown), and Thomas. After Eunice's death in 1943, Thacher married Eleanor M. Lloyd on July 20, 1945.

Thacher died on November 12, 1950, of a coronary thrombosis at his home in New York City. He was buried in Brookside Cemetery in Englewood, New Jersey. Collections of his personal and official papers are archived at Columbia and Yale universities.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Office of the Solicitor General.

Legal offices
Preceded by
Learned Hand
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Succeeded by
Robert P. Patterson
Preceded by
Charles Evans Hughes, Jr.
Solicitor General
Succeeded by
James Crawford Biggs