Plimpton, Francis T. P. (Francis Taylor Pearsons), 1900-1983

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1900-12-07
Death 1983-07-30

Biographical notes:

Lawyer. A.B. Amherst m.c.l. 1922, L.H.D. (hon.) 1973; J.D. Harv. Law School 1925. In law practice with firm Root, Clark, Buckner and Ballantine, New York City, 1925-1932. General Solicitor, RFC, Wash., D.C., 1932-1933. Partner in N.Y. law firm of Debevoise and Plimpton, 1933-1961, 1965-1983. Served with United Nations, 1961-1965. First vice-president and member of administrative tribunal, United Nations, 1966-1980. Author of magazine articles; contributor to As We Knew Adlai (1965).

From the description of Papers, 1923-1976. (Harvard Law School Library). WorldCat record id: 236047237

Francis T . P. Plimpton was a lawyer, diplomat, and trustee. Ambassador Plimpton was a member of the United States Deligation to the United Nations from 1961 until 1980, presindent of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York from 1968 to 1970, and active in New York City government.

From the description of Francis T. P. Plimpton papers 1901-1985. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 611927290

Francis T . P. Plimpton was named to the Board of Trustees of Barnard College upon the death of his father George A. Plimpton in 1936. He served as Treasurer from 1936-1937 and was a member of the Committee of Finance and the Investment Committee at different times. He oversaw the construction of Plimpton Hall. Plimpton was a lawyer and founding partner of the firm Debevoise & Plimpton. He served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 1961-1965, and held many advisory posts with the United Nations throughout his life. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Royal Society of Arts and President of the American Bar Association.

From the description of Francis T. P. Plimpton papers 1936-1981. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 275961364

Lawyer.

From the description of Reminiscences of Francis Taylor Pearsons Plimpton : oral history, 1981. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122597438

From the description of Reminiscences of Francis Taylor Pearsons Plimpton : oral history, 1967. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122565044

The Plimpton family members represented in this collection descend from some of the earliest English settlers of North America. From the seventeenth century on the Plimptons, Pearsonses, Taylors and Ameses were prominent families, heavily involved with higher education and with public service: John Plympton (sic, circa 1620-1677) arrived in Massachusetts in 1642, settling in the town of Medfield, where he served as constable and then as colonial Sergeant; he also contributed to the founding of Harvard College. Edward Taylor (1642-1729), ancestor of Frances Taylor Pearsons Plimpton, was a Harvard graduate (class of 1671), Puritan minister to the people of the frontier town of Westfield, Massachusetts, and a prolific poet. Oakes Ames (1804-1873), ancestor of Pauline Ames Plimpton, was a U.S. Congressman; his brother, Oliver Ames, played a large part in building the Transcontinental Railroad. Another Ames ancestor, Benjamin F. Butler (1818-1893) was a Civil War general, later a United States Congressman and then Massachusetts governor. Pauline's mother, Blanche Ames Ames (sic, 1879-1969), graduated from Smith College and worked as an artist, as an activist for women's rights, including access to birth control, and then as the President of the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston; Pauline's father, Oakes Ames (1874-1950), was a Harvard professor of botany. The presence of several genealogical documents in the collection reveal the extent to which the primary creators of this collection valued the heritage they received from this uncommonly well-educated and public-minded family.

George Arhtur Plimpton: "Well-educated" and "public-minded" are only two of the qualities that may be accurately ascribed to George Arthur Plimpton (1855-1936). After a brief stint at Harvard Law School, he worked as the senior partner of the New York-based firm Ginn and Company, which published educational textbooks, but he also served on the board of trustees of Phillips Exeter Academy (he graduated in the class in 1872), Amherst College (class of 1876), Barnard College (as its first treasurer) and the American College for Girls/Constantinople College for Women in Turkey (now Robert College, Istanbul). Further, as his correspondence reveals, George Plimpton devoted a great deal of time and energy to global Christian educational institutions and relief missions; he was particularly invested in Andrew Carnegie's various peace organizations, serving as trustee and treasurer of the Church Peace Union. Plimpton's commitment to education as a public and indeed a global good is apparent in the letters he exchanged with several young people, some non-U.S.-citizens, whom he supported financially so that they could earn college degrees. (For example, see his correspondence with S.Y. Livingston Hu.).

Plimpton was connected to Columbia University through two main channels, each of which represents one of his major passions: books and international affairs. An ardent bibliophile and an unparalleled collector of rare educational books, documents, and objects (specifically of hornbooks), as well as of medieval illuminated manuscripts, historical correspondence, and portraits of English authors, he founded the Friends of the Columbia Libraries with Professor David Eugene Smith of Teachers College. (Smith wrote the book Rara Arithmetica (1908) largely based on his study of Plimpton's collection, and Plimpton himself authored The Education of Shakespeare (1933) and The Education of Chaucer (1935), drawing heavily on the medieval and early modern educational items he had gathered.) Plimpton was also heavily involved in the establishment of Columbia's political science department. An early supporter and later treasurer of the American Academy of Political Science, he founded the journal Political Science Quarterly in 1886. Though Plimpton was never a professor in any university department, he was an active member not only of various academic political science organizations, but of the American Philological Society, the Modern Language Association, the Grolier Club, and various antiquarian societies.

Plimpton was also devoted to Lewis Farm, the estate and working farm he owned in Walpole, Massachusetts; these papers include several photographs of the residential and farm buildings, and of Plimpton and his family enjoying the property.

But his letters and photographs suggest that Plimpton's greatest interest was reserved for his family. He writes with admiration of his first wife, Francis Taylor Pearsons Plimpton, and appears smiling affectionately with her in several photographs. After her death in 1900, Plimpton focused intensively on their son, Francis T.P., to whom he wrote inventive and age-appropriate letters, often in the form of collages illustrated by cut-outs from magazines and newspapers. Plimpton married Fanny Hastings in 1917, with whom he had two children, Calvin H. and Emily Plimpton. Calvin, a medical doctor, served as the president of Amherst College from 1960-1971.

George Arthur Plimpton donated his rare book, historical correspondence and author portrait collections, containing about 20,000 items, to Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 1935. He died in 1936.

Frances Taylor Pearsons Plimpton: Frances Taylor Pearsons Plimpton (1862-1900) was herself very well educated; daughter of a judge and Mount Holyoke College benefactor, W.B.C. Pearsons, she graduated from Wellesley College in 1884 and later served as the President of its Alumnae Association. She was also a fine writer; her letters to her cousin and fellow Wellesley student Louise Pearsons, reveal both her warmth and her wit.

Like her husband, Frances was a collector of rare books, focusing on Italian books and manuscripts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Her husband donated her book collection to Wellesley after her death in 1900, which immediately followed the birth of their son, Francis T.P.

Francis T.P. Plimpton: Like his many of his ancestors, Francis T.P. Plimpton (1900-1983) attained prominence as a public servant. A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Amherst College, and Harvard Law, Plimpton started practicing law at the New York firm of Root, Clark, and in 1933 became a senior partner at Debevoise, Stevenson & Plimpton. He would continue to practice as a lawyer for several decades, earning a reputation for thoroughness and unshakeable integrity. That reputation led to his position as president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (1970-1972) and to the chairmanship of the New York City Board of Ethics (1966-1980).

Plimpton served as deputy United States ambassador to the United Nations, working with his friend, the ambassador Adlai Stevenson, from 1961-1965, and sat on State Department advisory committees during the 1960s and 1970s. He was active in higher education as well as in law and in government: like his father, Francis devoted much energy to advising educational institutions, including those from which he graduated.

Throughout his career, Plimpton was unafraid to take progressive public stances on controversial issues: in 1963, as deputy ambassador to the UN, he made a visit to Pope Paul VI, urging the pontiff to change the Catholic Church's position on birth control. At the age of 72, he took a major role in organizing the lawyers' march on Washington to protest the U.S. military's bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

Francis Plimpton was not only a successful lawyer and diplomat; his writings in this collection show the verbal wit (and the social grace) for which he was celebrated. From his student days, Francis wrote poetry and prose, but law firm celebrations gave him the opportunity to perform his gently satirical light verse, examples of which are included in his papers in this collection. A very funny essay delivered as an address at the Amherst College chapel in 1957, "In Praise of Polygamy," was published in several magazines and later as a pamphlet. The essay counseled the young men of Amherst to delay marriage for as long as possible in the interests of individualism and experience; he did not follow his own advice, it seems, for Francis was married to Pauline Ames Plimpton for over fifty years. The correspondence between them testifies to a strong, affectionate and devoted partnership. They had four children: Oakes Ames Plimpton; George Ames Plimpton, the journalist and founder of The Paris Review; Francis T.P. Plimpton, Jr.; and Sarah Plimpton, copies of whose artist's books are also housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Pauline Ames Plimpton: The daughter of two prominent figures, the daughter-in-law of one renowned man and the wife of another, Pauline Ames Plimpton (1901-1995) came into her own as an author and editor in her late seventies. A fine writer, she published several books about her family and its history, including Oakes Ames: Jottings of a Harvard Botanist (1979); The Plimpton Papers: Law and Diplomacy (1985); and A Collector's Recollections: George Arthur Plimpton (1992). A graduate of Smith College (class of 1922), Pauline was throughout her adult life active in arts and government policy organizations including Planned Parenthood, the Public Education Association, the Institute for World Affairs, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; she also worked with several libraries, including that of her alma mater, Smith College.

From the description of Plimpton Family papers, 1607-1995 [Bulk Dates: 1892-1980]. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 463434740

Plimpton, Francis T.P., lawyer, public servant, diplomat

b. December 7, 1900, New York, NY.

s. George Arthur and Frances Taylor (Pearsons) Plimpton

A.B. magna cum laude, Amherst College, 1922; L.H.D. (hon.), 1973.

J.D., Harvard University, 1925

LL.D. (hon.), Colby College, 1960; Lake Forest College, 1964; New York University, 1970; Yale University, 1972; Vermont Law School, 1979.

L.H.D. (hon.), Pratt Institute, 1967; Adelphi University, 1972

m. Pauline Ames, June 4, 1926; children: George Ames; Francis T.P.; Oakes Ames; Sarah Gay

Admitted to New York Bar, 1926

Associated with firm Root, Clark, Buckner and Ballantine, New York, NY, 1925-1932; in charge of Paris office, 1930-1931

General Solicitor, RFC, Washington, D.C., 1932-1933

Partner, firm Debevoise and Plimpton, and predecessors, New York, NY, 1933-1961, 1965-1983.

Ambassador, deputy U.S. representative, United Nations, 1961-1965; member, U.S. delegations, 15 th -19 th General Assemblies Member, advisory committee on international organizations, Department of State.

First vice-president, member of administrative tribunal, United Nations, 1966-1980.

Chairman, New York City Board of Ethics, Mayor's New York City Committee on Distinguished Guests.

Decorated chevalier Legion of Honor (France); commander Order of Merit (Italy); Order, Law, Culture and Peace (Mexico); associate knight, Order St. John Jerusalem; recipient, Distinguished Public Service award, New England Society of New York, 1963.

Other awards: Federal Bar Council, 1964; St. Nicholas Society, 1974; Institute of Man and Science, 1975; Bronze medal, City of New York, 1975; Gold medal, New York Bar Association, 1977; Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 1980; medal of distinction, Barnard College, 1979; Justice award, Legal Aid Society, 1981

Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Bar Foundation; Benjamin Franklin Fellow, Royal Society of Arts

Trustee of various financial and academic institutions.

Member of legal, historical, cultural and genealogical organizations and social clubs.

d. 1983

Magazine articles Contributing editor: As We Knew Adlai (1965)

From the guide to the Papers, 1923-1976, (Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University)

BIOGHIST REQUIRED The Plimpton family members represented in this collection descend from some of the earliest English settlers of North America. From the seventeenth century on the Plimptons, Pearsonses, Taylors and Ameses were prominent families, heavily involved with higher education and with public service: John Plympton (sic, circa 1620-1677) arrived in Massachusetts in 1642, settling in the town of Medfield, where he served as constable and then as colonial Sergeant; he also contributed to the founding of Harvard College. Edward Taylor (1642-1729), ancestor of Frances Taylor Pearsons Plimpton, was a Harvard graduate (class of 1671), Puritan minister to the people of the frontier town of Westfield, Massachusetts, and a prolific poet. Oakes Ames (1804-1873), ancestor of Pauline Ames Plimpton, was a U.S. Congressman; his brother, Oliver Ames, played a large part in building the Transcontinental Railroad. Another Ames ancestor, Benjamin F. Butler (1818-1893) was a Civil War general, later a United States Congressman and then Massachusetts governor. Pauline's mother, Blanche Ames Ames (sic, 1879-1969), graduated from Smith College and worked as an artist, as an activist for women's rights, including access to birth control, and then as the President of the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston; Pauline's father, Oakes Ames (1874-1950), was a Harvard professor of botany. The presence of several genealogical documents in the collection reveal the extent to which the primary creators of this collection valued the heritage they received from this uncommonly well-educated and public-minded family.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED George Arhtur Plimpton: "Well-educated" and "public-minded" are only two of the qualities that may be accurately ascribed to George Arthur Plimpton (1855-1936). After a brief stint at Harvard Law School, he worked as the senior partner of the New York-based firm Ginn and Company, which published educational textbooks, but he also served on the board of trustees of Phillips Exeter Academy (he graduated in the class in 1872), Amherst College (class of 1876), Barnard College (as its first treasurer) and the American College for Girls/Constantinople College for Women in Turkey (now Robert College, Istanbul). Further, as his correspondence reveals, George Plimpton devoted a great deal of time and energy to global Christian educational institutions and relief missions; he was particularly invested in Andrew Carnegie's various peace organizations, serving as trustee and treasurer of the Church Peace Union. Plimpton's commitment to education as a public and indeed a global good is apparent in the letters he exchanged with several young people, some non-U.S.-citizens, whom he supported financially so that they could earn college degrees. (For example, see his correspondence with S.Y. Livingston Hu.)

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Plimpton was connected to Columbia University through two main channels, each of which represents one of his major passions: books and international affairs. An ardent bibliophile and an unparalleled collector of rare educational books, documents, and objects (specifically of hornbooks), as well as of medieval illuminated manuscripts, historical correspondence, and portraits of English authors, he founded the Friends of the Columbia Libraries with Professor David Eugene Smith of Teachers College. (Smith wrote the book Rara Arithmetica (1908) largely based on his study of Plimpton's collection, and Plimpton himself authored The Education of Shakespeare (1933) and The Education of Chaucer (1935), drawing heavily on the medieval and early modern educational items he had gathered.) Plimpton was also heavily involved in the establishment of Columbia's political science department. An early supporter and later treasurer of the American Academy of Political Science, he founded the journal Political Science Quarterly in 1886. Though Plimpton was never a professor in any university department, he was an active member not only of various academic political science organizations, but of the American Philological Society, the Modern Language Association, the Grolier Club, and various antiquarian societies.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Plimpton was also devoted to Lewis Farm, the estate and working farm he owned in Walpole, Massachusetts; these papers include several photographs of the residential and farm buildings, and of Plimpton and his family enjoying the property.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED But his letters and photographs suggest that Plimpton's greatest interest was reserved for his family. He writes with admiration of his first wife, Francis Taylor Pearsons Plimpton, and appears smiling affectionately with her in several photographs. After her death in 1900, Plimpton focused intensively on their son, Francis T.P., to whom he wrote inventive and age-appropriate letters, often in the form of collages illustrated by cut-outs from magazines and newspapers. Plimpton married Fanny Hastings in 1917, with whom he had two children, Calvin H. and Emily Plimpton. Calvin, a medical doctor, served as the president of Amherst College from 1960-1971.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED George Arthur Plimpton donated his rare book, historical correspondence and author portrait collections, containing about 20,000 items, to Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 1935. He died in 1936.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Frances Taylor Pearsons Plimpton: Frances Taylor Pearsons Plimpton (1862-1900) was herself very well educated; daughter of a judge and Mount Holyoke College benefactor, W.B.C. Pearsons, she graduated from Wellesley College in 1884 and later served as the President of its Alumnae Association. She was also a fine writer; her letters to her cousin and fellow Wellesley student Louise Pearsons, reveal both her warmth and her wit.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Like her husband, Frances was a collector of rare books, focusing on Italian books and manuscripts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Her husband donated her book collection to Wellesley after her death in 1900, which immediately followed the birth of their son, Francis T.P.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Francis T.P. Plimpton: Like his many of his ancestors, Francis T.P. Plimpton (1900-1983) attained prominence as a public servant. A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Amherst College, and Harvard Law, Plimpton started practicing law at the New York firm of Root, Clark, and in 1933 became a senior partner at Debevoise, Stevenson & Plimpton. He would continue to practice as a lawyer for several decades, earning a reputation for thoroughness and unshakeable integrity. That reputation led to his position as president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (1970-1972) and to the chairmanship of the New York City Board of Ethics (1966-1980).

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Plimpton served as deputy United States ambassador to the United Nations, working with his friend, the ambassador Adlai Stevenson, from 1961-1965, and sat on State Department advisory committees during the 1960s and 1970s. He was active in higher education as well as in law and in government: like his father, Francis devoted much energy to advising educational institutions, including those from which he graduated.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Throughout his career, Plimpton was unafraid to take progressive public stances on controversial issues: in 1963, as deputy ambassador to the UN, he made a visit to Pope Paul VI, urging the pontiff to change the Catholic Church's position on birth control. At the age of 72, he took a major role in organizing the lawyers' march on Washington to protest the U.S. military's bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Francis Plimpton was not only a successful lawyer and diplomat; his writings in this collection show the verbal wit (and the social grace) for which he was celebrated. From his student days, Francis wrote poetry and prose, but law firm celebrations gave him the opportunity to perform his gently satirical light verse, examples of which are included in his papers in this collection. A very funny essay delivered as an address at the Amherst College chapel in 1957, "In Praise of Polygamy," was published in several magazines and later as a pamphlet. The essay counseled the young men of Amherst to delay marriage for as long as possible in the interests of individualism and experience; he did not follow his own advice, it seems, for Francis was married to Pauline Ames Plimpton for over fifty years. The correspondence between them testifies to a strong, affectionate and devoted partnership. They had four children: Oakes Ames Plimpton; George Ames Plimpton, the journalist and founder of The Paris Review; Francis T.P. Plimpton, Jr.; and Sarah Plimpton, copies of whose artist's books are also housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Pauline Ames Plimpton: The daughter of two prominent figures, the daughter-in-law of one renowned man and the wife of another, Pauline Ames Plimpton (1901-1995) came into her own as an author and editor in her late seventies. A fine writer, she published several books about her family and its history, including Oakes Ames: Jottings of a Harvard Botanist (1979); The Plimpton Papers: Law and Diplomacy (1985); and A Collector's Recollections: George Arthur Plimpton (1992). A graduate of Smith College (class of 1922), Pauline was throughout her adult life active in arts and government policy organizations including Planned Parenthood, the Public Education Association, the Institute for World Affairs, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; she also worked with several libraries, including that of her alma mater, Smith College.

From the guide to the Plimpton Family Papers, 1607-1995, [Bulk Dates: 1892-1980]., (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library, )

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Subjects:

  • Christian education
  • Torts--Study and teaching
  • Property--Study and teaching
  • Lawyers
  • Herbaria
  • Law partnership
  • Conflict of laws--Study and teaching
  • Jurisprudence--Study and teaching
  • Corporation law--Study and teaching
  • Law--Study and teaching
  • New England--Education
  • Civil procedure--Study and teaching
  • Women's colleges
  • Contracts--Study and teaching
  • Trusts and trustees--Study and teaching
  • Evidence (Law) - Study and teaching
  • Criminal law--Study and teaching
  • Trusts and trustees
  • Lawyers--Interviews
  • Public utilities--Study and teaching

Occupations:

  • Diplomats
  • Lawyers

Places:

  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • New England (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts--Cambridge (as recorded)