Truman H. Newberry

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Truman H. Newberry
United States Senator
from Michigan
In office
March 4, 1919 – November 18, 1922
Preceded byWilliam Alden Smith
Succeeded byJames J. Couzens
39th United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
December 1, 1908 – March 4, 1909
PresidentTheodore Roosevelt
Preceded byVictor H. Metcalf
Succeeded byGeorge Meyer
Assistant Secretary of the Navy
In office
November 1, 1905 – November 30, 1908
PresidentTheodore Roosevelt
Preceded byCharles Hial Darling
Succeeded byHerbert L. Satterlee
Personal details
Truman Handy Newberry

(1864-11-05)November 5, 1864
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedOctober 3, 1945(1945-10-03) (aged 80)
Grosse Pointe, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationYale University (BS)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
UnitMichigan Naval Brigade
Battles/warsSpanish–American War

Truman Handy Newberry (November 5, 1864 – October 3, 1945) was an American businessman and political figure. He served as the Secretary of Navy between 1908 and 1909. He was a Republican U.S. Senator from Michigan between 1919 and 1922.


Newberry was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of John Stoughton Newberry (a U.S. Representative from Michigan) and his second wife, Helen P. Handy, the daughter of Truman P. Handy, a well-known financier and banker in Cleveland.[1][2] Newberry attended Michigan Military Academy before graduating from Yale College's Sheffield Scientific School, where he was a member of St. Anthony Hall in 1885.


After college Newberry became superintendent of construction, paymaster, general freight and passenger agent, and eventually manager of the Detroit, Bay City & Alpena Railway from 1885 to 1887. He was then president and treasurer of the Detroit Steel & Spring Company from 1887 to 1901. In 1902, he helped organize the Packard Motor Car Company. He engaged in various other manufacturing activities, including the Union Trust Company, the Union Elevator Company, and the Michigan State Telephone Company.[3]

In 1893, Newberry joined with others to organize the Michigan State Naval Brigade, serving as landsman in 1895; lieutenant and navigator in 1897 and 1898. He was commissioned lieutenant (junior grade) in the United States Navy in May 1898 and served on the USS Yosemite during the Spanish–American War. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy 1905–1908 under President Theodore Roosevelt and acted for the ill secretary Victor H. Metcalf, who resigned November 13, 1908. Newberry was appointed Secretary of the Navy on December 1, 1908, and served until March 5, 1909.[4] He became lieutenant commander United States Navy Fleet Reserve, June 6, 1917, and was assistant to the commandant of the Third Naval District headquartered in New York City until January 9, 1919.[3]


He was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1919, until his resignation on November 18, 1922. In 1921, Newberry was tried and convicted under the Federal Corrupt Practices Act for election "irregularities".[5] The conviction was reversed by the Supreme Court in Newberry v. United States,[6] and following an investigation the Senate declared Newberry entitled to his seat but expressed disapproval of the sum spent in his race against automaker Henry Ford.[7] In the face of a new movement to unseat him, Newberry resigned. He was replaced in the Senate by James J. Couzens, whose candidacy received the approval of then Governor Alexander Groesbeck.[8] Thereafter, Newberry engaged in manufacturing. He died in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ SI. U. Collins (1914). Successful Men of Michigan: A Compilation of Useful Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men. SI. U. Collins. p. 115.
  2. ^ Whitehouse, Robert Treat (1915). Michigan Judicature act of 1915 and New Jersey Chancery act of 1915: with notes. Callaghan and company. p. 89.
  3. ^ a b "Truman H Newberry". Historic Elmwood Cemetery. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  4. ^ "Secretaries of the Navy From 1798 to present". US Navy. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  5. ^ "Truman Handy Newberry". US House of Representatives, Office of History and Preservation. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  6. ^ Newberry v. United States, 256 US 232 (US Supreme Court 1921)., 65 L.Ed. 913, 41 S.Ct. 469.
  7. ^ "January 12, 1922 Senator "Condemned" for Excessive Campaign Expenditures". U.S. Senate: Art & History; Historical Minute Essays. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  8. ^ "Tradition". The Detroit Club. Archived from the original on April 20, 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Spencer Ervin. Henry Ford vs. Truman H. Newberry: The Famous Senate Election Contest. New York, R.R. Smith, 1935. Reprint. New York: Arno Press, 1974.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by
Party political offices
First Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Michigan
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Michigan
Served alongside: Charles E. Townsend
Succeeded by