Gerard, James W. (James Watson), 1867-1951

Alternative names
Birth 1867-08-25
Death 1951-09-06

Biographical notes:

Lawyer, diplomat.

From the description of Reminiscences of James w. Gerard : oral history, 1950. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309742271

James Watson Gerard was born August 25, 1867 at Geneseo, New York. He received his AB and AM degrees from Columbia University in 1890 and 1891 respectively. In 1892 he received his LL. B. from New York Law School and was admitted to the New York bar. He entered practice with Bowers and Sands, a firm founded by his paternal grandfather, and became a partner in 1899.

He was interested in politics and in 1907 was elected an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. He resigned before the end of his term to accept an appointment from President Woodrow Wilson as United States Ambassador to Germany in 1913. After World War I began his duties increased, and he was entrusted with the interests of Great Britain, Japan, Serbia, Romania, and San Marino. The German government asked him to leave in January 1917. He left the following month and retired from diplomatic service the following July.

Gerard returned to private law practice but retained his interest in Democratic politics. He played a leading role in the nomination of Franklin D. Roosevelt as the Democratic candidate for President in 1932 and served several terms as treasurer for the Democratic National Committee and as chairman of the Democratic Finance Committee.

He wrote three books: My Four Years in Germany (1917), Face to Face with Kaiserism (1918), and My First Eighty-Three Years in America (1951).

Gerard married Mary Daly, daughter of Marcus Daly, in 1901. During his lifetime he maintained an interest in the Montana properties and investments of the Daly family, and had a ranch of his own north of Hamilton, Montana. He died September 6, 1951, in New York City.

From the guide to the James Watson Gerard Papers, 1750-1955, (Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections)


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  • Mines and Mineral Resources
  • Journalism
  • Practice of law--New York (State)--New York
  • Photographs
  • Diplomats--Interviews
  • Labor History
  • Diplomatic and consular service, American--Germany
  • International relations
  • Scrapbooks
  • Mines and mineral resources--Mexico--Jalisco
  • World War, 1914-1918--Germany
  • Diplomacy
  • World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives, American
  • World War, 1914-1918--Diplomatic history
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  • Ambassadors--United States


  • Germany (as recorded)
  • Germany (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)