Webster B. Todd

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Webster B. Todd
Chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee
In office
Preceded byJohn J. Spoltore
Succeeded byDavid A. Norcross
In office
Preceded byCharles R. Erdman, Jr.
Succeeded byNelson G. Gross
Personal details
Webster Bray Todd

(1899-08-27)August 27, 1899
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
DiedFebruary 8, 1989(1989-02-08) (aged 89)
Oldwick, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Eleanor Prentice Schley
(m. 1933; his death 1989)
ChildrenChristine Todd Whitman
John Todd
Webster Todd, Jr.
Kate Todd
EducationChoate Rosemary Hall
Alma materPrinceton University
Fordham University School of Law

Webster Bray Todd (August 27, 1899 – February 8, 1989) was a prominent American businessman, a Republican Party leader in New Jersey, and the father of New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman.

Early life[edit]

Todd was born in Yonkers, New York, the son of Alice Peck (née Bray) and John Reynard Todd (c. 1868–1945),[1] a lawyer who served as president of the Todd, Robertson, Todd Construction and Engineering firm and was a New Jersey delegate to the 1928, 1932, and 1940 Republican National Conventions.[2] His paternal grandparents were the Rev. James Doeg Todd, a Presbyterian minister, and Susan Webster Todd.[1]

He later moved with his parents to Summit, New Jersey. He attended Choate Rosemary Hall, Princeton University (Class of 1922), and Fordham University School of Law.[3]


In 1923, he became a partner in the Todd, Robertson, Todd Engineering Corporation, along with his father and his brother, James Todd. The firm was responsible for two projects initiated by the Rockefeller family: the reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg and the construction of Rockefeller Center. In 1928 he formed his own architectural-engineering firm, Todd & Brown Inc, with Joseph O. Brown. He also served as director of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.[3]

Republican politics[edit]

In 1950, Todd retired from business and devoted much of the remainder of his life to Republican politics in New Jersey. He was the state chairman for Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidential campaign in 1952. Upon Eisenhower's election he was appointed director of the Office of Economic Affairs of the United States mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Paris. He served as chairman of the New Jersey Republican Finance Committee from 1948 to 1953 and from 1973 to 1974. He was chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee from 1961 to 1969 and again from 1974 to 1976.[3]

His wife was also active in New Jersey Republican politics. She was president of the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women from 1946 to 1952. She was elected vice chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1956 and served as a Republican National Committeewoman from 1956 to 1966. In 1983, Gov. Thomas Kean appointed her to the New Jersey Board of Higher Education, where she served until 1988.[4]

Personal life[edit]

On October 12, 1933, Todd married Eleanor Prentice Schley (1911–1990), daughter of Reeve Schley, in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.[5] They settled in Oldwick, New Jersey and raised four children, all of whom would serve in various elected and appointed offices at the local, state, and federal government levels. Their children were:

In 1989, at the age of 89, Todd died of a heart attack at his home in Oldwick, New Jersey.[3]


  1. ^ a b "JOHN R. TODD DIES; NOTED BUILDER, 77; Former Head of Firm Which Represented Rockefeller in Construction of Center" (PDF). The New York Times. 13 May 1945. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  2. ^ Todd-Whitman family of New Jersey at The Political Graveyard.
  3. ^ a b c d Anderson, Susan Heller (10 February 1989). "Webster B. Todd Is Dead at 89; Ex-Leader of Jersey Republicans". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Eleanor S. Todd, 79, A Longtime Leader In New Jersey G.O.P." The New York Times, January 2, 1991. Accessed March 18, 2008.
  5. ^ "Miss Schley Bride of Webster B. Todd". The New York Times, October 13, 1933. Accessed March 18, 2008.
  6. ^ "BEACH, KATE TODD". The Washington Post. April 26, 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Mrs. Thompson wed To S. F. Beach Jr" (PDF). The New York Times. 10 May 1970. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  8. ^ New York Times News Service (November 27, 1993). "Evidence of vote suppression lacking". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Webster B. Todd Jr. - People - Department History". history.state.gov. Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute United States Department of State. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  10. ^ Biography of Christine Whitman at the Wayback Machine (archived April 28, 1999) New Jersey Department of Commerce.
  11. ^ "Miss Christie Todd Is Married" (PDF). The New York Times. 21 April 1974. Retrieved 25 September 2019.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Charles R. Erdman, Jr.
Chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee
Succeeded by
Nelson G. Gross
Preceded by
John J. Spoltore
Chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee
Succeeded by
David A. Norcross