Webster B. Todd

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Webster B. Todd
Born Webster Bray Todd
(1899-08-27)August 27, 1899
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
Died February 8, 1989(1989-02-08) (aged 89)
Oldwick, New Jersey, U.S.
Alma mater Choate Rosemary Hall, Princeton University
Fordham University School of Law
Occupation businessman
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Eleanor Prentice Schley Todd (1933-1989, his death)
Children Christine Todd Whitman
John Todd (deceased)
Webster Todd, Jr.
Kate Todd
Relatives Reeve Schley (parent-in-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.

Life and career[edit]

Todd was born in Yonkers, New York, the son of Alice (Bray) and John Reynard 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. 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. He also served as director of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.[2]

On October 12, 1933, Todd married Eleanor Prentice Schley, daughter of Reeve Schley, in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.[3] They settled in Oldwick, New Jersey and raised four children: John (deceased), Webster Jr., Kate, and Christine. All four would serve in various elected and appointed offices at the local, state, and federal government levels, with Christine Todd Whitman going on to serve as Governor of New Jersey.[4]

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.[2]

His wife Eleanor S. Todd (July 17, 1911 – December 31, 1990) 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.[5]

In 1989, at the age of 89, Todd died of a heart attack at his home in Oldwick, New Jersey.[2]

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


  1. ^ http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/todd.html#462.99.19
  2. ^ a b c "Webster B. Todd is Dead at 89". The New York Times, February 10, 1989. Accessed March 18, 2008.
  3. ^ "Miss Schley Bride of Webster B. Todd". The New York Times, October 13, 1933. Accessed March 18, 2008.
  4. ^ Biography of Christine Whitman at the Wayback Machine (archived April 28, 1999) New Jersey Department of Commerce.
  5. ^ "Eleanor S. Todd, 79, A Longtime Leader In New Jersey G.O.P." The New York Times, January 2, 1991. Accessed March 18, 2008.

External links[edit]