Stokes, James Graham Phelps, 1872-1960

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James Graham Phelps Stokes was born in New York City in 1872. He graduated from Yale University in 1892. Upon graduation from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia in 1896 he entered the family business and became increasingly active in settlement house work and various other movements for social reform. Later Stokes became interested in politics and socialism. In 1908 he was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party. In 1904 Stokes married Rose Harriet Pastor whom he divorced in 1925. Stokes died in New York City in 1960.

From the description of James Graham Phelps Stokes, 1889-1910 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702125739

Socialist and philanthropist

(Columbia University. College of P&S, M.D. 1896).

From the description of James Graham Phelps Stokes papers, 1779-1960, (bulk 1884-1960). (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 299029221

James Graham Phelps Stokes was born in New York City in 1872. He graduated from Yale University in 1892. Upon graduation from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia in 1896 he entered the family business and became increasingly active in settlement house work and various other movements for social reform. Later Stokes became interested in politics and socialism. In 1908 he was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party. In 1904 Stokes married Rose Harriet Pastor whom he divorced in 1925. Stokes died in New York City in 1960.

James Graham Phelps Stokes was born in New York City on March 18, 1872. He was the son of Anson Phelps and Helen Louise (Phelps) Stokes. Family members included leaders in New York society, who had derived their fortune from the Phelps-Dodge Company and subsequent railroad and real estate holdings. The family had a long history of interest in religious and philanthropic activities and had been particularly active in the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the American Bible Society, and the American Tract Society.

Stokes was educated at the Berkeley School in New York City and entered Yale's Sheffield Scientific School as a member of the class of 1892. While at Yale he was director of the Cooperative Society and a member of the executive board of the YMCA. After graduation he spent a year traveling and then entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia with the class of 1896. In medicine he hoped to combine his religious and scientific interest to become a medical missionary. While a medical student he served as an ambulance surgeon at Roosevelt Hospital, which covered Hell's Kitchen, and from this experience he came to be interested in the environmental influences on disease. Stokes perceived that the roots of the conditions in Hell's Kitchen were intimately related to the great disparities of wealth in American society.

Upon graduation he had to forego his desire to enter the missionary field to replace his ailing father in the family business. Eventually he served as president of the Nevada Company and the Nevada Central Railroad and, after 1927, as a member of the board of directors of the Phelps-Dodge Company. Stokes combined his entry into business with a year of study of political science at Columbia. But, in the years after 1897, settlement house work became the focus of his life. He served on the board of directors of the University Settlement and immersed himself in the study of life on the Lower East Side.

After serving in the Spanish-American War, Stokes returned to reform work. He served on innumerable boards, including those of the Outdoor Recreational League of New York, the Prison Association of New York (he eventually became a state inspector of prisons and a delegate to the International Prison Congress of 1905), the League of Political Education, the Citizens' Union, the New York State Conference of Charities and Correction, the New York Child Labor Committee, and Tuskeegee Institute. He also was a founder and chairman of the board of trustees (1897-1917) of Hartley House, a settlement house on West 46th Street.

After 1902 he lived at the University Settlement. It was here that he met Rose Harriet Pastor, a former cigar worker and militant reporter for the Jewish Daily News, who would become his wife in the much publicized marriage of the "Millionaire and the Factory Girl." At this time Stokes was evolving a collectivist philosophy which he called "Omnilism," one which looked "primarily to the Well-being of the Whole which Others and Self are but parts" and called for dedication to the advancement of the whole. This philosophy and his activist wife led him to politics and socialism.

In 1904 Stokes was a presidential elector on the Populist ticket, and in 1905, running on the Municipal Ownership League ticket headed by William Randolph Hearst, he was nearly elected president of the Board of Alderman of New York City. He joined the Socialist Party in 1906 and was a founder of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, serving as its president from 1907 to 1917. In 1907 he renounced the concept of philanthropy in favor of the collective ownership of capital for the public welfare, and in 1908 he was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party. In the same year he ran for the New York State Senate on the Socialist ticket. He also was one of the participants in the 1909 meeting on the status of the Negro, which led to the calling of the National Negro Congress and the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of colored People (NAACP). In 1912 he ran for mayor of Stamford, Connecticut, on the Socialist ticket, and in 1916 he helped edit The Socialism of Today.

The question of American intervention in World War I split the Socialist Party. Stokes promoted the war effort as a founding member of the American Alliance for Labor and Democracy. His wife opposed the war and moved towards communism. Their ideological split led to a divorce in 1925. In the years after the war, Stokes became progressively more conservative and increasingly centered his attention on veterans and on cultural and philanthropic activities. In 1926 he married Lettice Lee Sands. He devoted his later years to the study of religions and published two books on Christianity and the religions of the East. Stokes died in New York City on April 8, 1960.

Extracted from: Biographical Dictionary of Social Welfare in America, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press), 1986.

From the guide to the James Graham Phelps Stokes, 1889-1910, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Stokes family. Stokes family papers, 1875-1949. Nevada State Historical Society
creatorOf Stokes, James Graham Phelps, 1872-1960. James Graham Phelps Stokes papers, 1779-1960, (bulk 1884-1960). Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Lena Morrow Lewis Photographs, Bulk, 1900-1920, 1870-1949, (Bulk 1900-1920) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Intercollegiate Socialist Society. Records, 1904-1921. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Barrows family papers, 1861-1931. Houghton Library.
creatorOf James Graham Phelps Stokes, 1889-1910 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Stokes, Rose Pastor, 1879-1933. Rose Pastor Stokes papers, 1900-1993 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Horace Traubel and Anne Montgomerie Traubel Papers, 1824-1979, (bulk 1883-1947) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Traubel, Horace, 1858-1919. Horace Traubel and Anne Montgomerie Traubel papers, 1824-1979 (bulk 1883-1947). Library of Congress
creatorOf Stokes, James Graham Phelps. James Graham Phelps Stokes, 1889-1910 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Stokes, Rose Pastor, 1879-1933. Papers, 1905-1933. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Lewis, Lena Morrow. Lena Morrow Lewis photograph collection [graphic]. Churchill County Museum
creatorOf Stokes, James Graham Phelps, 1872-1960. Correspondence with Carl Zigrosser, 1938. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Intercollegiate Socialist Society Records, 1900-1921 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Rose Pastor Stokes Papers, 1905-1933 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Rose Pastor Stokes papers, 1900-1993 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Rose Pastor Stokes Papers, Bulk, 1913-1933, 1905-1933 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Stokes, Rose Pastor, 1879-1933. Rose Pastor Stokes papers, 1900-1993 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Intercollegiate Socialist Society Records, 1900-1921 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Alliance for Labor and Democracy. corporateBody
associatedWith Baldwin, William Henry, 1863-1905. person
correspondedWith Barrows family. family
associatedWith Barrows, Samuel J. (Samuel June), 1845-1909. person
associatedWith Buck, Pearl S. (Pearl Sydenstricker), 1892-1973. person
associatedWith Constitutional Democracy Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Correctional Association of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith De Forest, Robert W. (Robert Weeks), 1848-1931. person
associatedWith Dewey, John, 1859-1952. person
associatedWith Dodge, Marcellus Hartley. person
associatedWith Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945. person
associatedWith Garland, Hamlin, 1860-1940. person
associatedWith Hartley House. corporateBody
associatedWith Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951. person
associatedWith Hurok, Sol. person
associatedWith Intercollegiate Socialist Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Keller, Helen, 1880-1968. person
associatedWith Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971. person
associatedWith Legal Aid Society (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Lewis, Lena Morrow. person
associatedWith Matthews, May. person
associatedWith Moses, Robert, 1888-1981. person
associatedWith National Conference of Charities and Correction (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Security League. corporateBody
associatedWith New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor. corporateBody
associatedWith Outdoor Recreation League. corporateBody
associatedWith Pavlova, Anna, 1881-1931. person
associatedWith Prison Association of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Riis, Jacob A. (Jacob August), 1849-1914. person
associatedWith Round, W. M. F. (William Marshall Fitts), 1845-1906. person
associatedWith Russell, Charles Edward, 1860-1941. person
associatedWith Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968. person
associatedWith Social Democratic League. corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Democratic League and National Party. corporateBody
associatedWith Socialist Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Spargo, John, 1876-1966. person
correspondedWith Stokes family. family
associatedWith Stokes, Rose Pastor, 1879-1933. person
associatedWith Stover, Charles B. person
correspondedWith Traubel, Anne Montgomerie, 1864-1954 person
correspondedWith Traubel, Horace, 1858-1919. person
associatedWith Tuskegee Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Wald, Lillian D., 1867-1940. person
associatedWith Walling, William English. person
associatedWith Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Young Men's Christian associations
Radicalism
Social settlements--United States
Social settlements
Charities
African Americans--History
Socialism
Occupation
Philanthropists
Socialists
Function

Person

Birth 1872

Death 1960

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