Elbridge Thomas Gerry: An Exceptional Life in Gilded Gotham

Elbridge Thomas Gerry: An Exceptional Life in Gilded Gotham

by Shelley L. Dowling


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Winner of the American Association of Law Libraries’ 2017 Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award. Elbridge Thomas Gerry [1837–1927], grandson of Founding Father Elbridge Gerry who signed the Declaration of Independence, was a prominent and influential Gilded Age New York trial lawyer, philanthropist and bibliophile whose 30,000 volume library became the foundation of the United States Supreme Court Library. Dowling’s extensively illustrated biography of Gerry highlights the influence of his family and its links to other prominent New York families, the Gallatins, Goelets and Livingstons.

This biography of Gerry is also the story of Gilded Age New York, when the glamorous society balls that provided entertainment to wealthy New York families such as the Astors and Vanderbilts belied their philanthropic contributions in the Progressive era. Gerry built the first steam yacht, the Electra, which became the flagship of the New York Yacht Club while he also sat on hospital boards and founded the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which still operates today. As Dowling shows, Gerry’s brilliance and passion was at the heart of it all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616193874
Publisher: The Lawbook Exchange
Publication date: 08/31/2017
Pages: 760
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.56(d)

About the Author

With this book, Shelley L. Dowling has won the Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award from the American Association of Law Libraries for the second time. In 2000 she won the award for Jurisprudence of United States Constitutional Interpretation (1999, revised 2010). Ms. Dowling received a Gilder Lehrman Fellowship (2012-2013) through the New York Historical Society to complete research for this book. She served as Director of the United States Supreme Court Library and was the Associate Librarian for Georgetown University, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She retired to part-time work as the Senior Projects Librarian at the William and Mary School Law and has taught Legal Research and written book reviews throughout her career. She edits the annual compilation, State of the Federal Judiciary: Annual Reports of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Elbridge T. Gerry III



1 The Early Years

2 Education and Apprenticeship

3 Passing the Torch

4 Father, Lawyer, Leader

5 Gerry’s Society

6 Gilded Gotham: The 1880’s Part I

7 Gilded Gotham: The 1880’s Part II

8 Gilded Gotham: The 1880’s Part III

9 Gilded Gotham: The 1890’s Part I

10 Gilded Gotham: The 1890’s Part II

11 The Twentieth Century: Part I 1900 to 1909

12 The Twentieth Century: Part II 1910 to 1930


A Goelet, Gerry, Livingston, Gallatin Family Tree

B New York City Locations

C Commodore Elbridge T. Gerry’s Children

C-1 Mabel Gerry Drury 1872–1930

C-2 Angelica Livingston Gerry 1871–1960

C-3 Senator Peter Goelet Gerry 1879–1957

C-4 Robert Livingston Gerry 1877–1957

D Commodore Elbridge T. Gerry’s Grandsons

E American Family Legacies

F European Family Origins

F-1 Emigration Map

F-2 Albert Gallatin and his Descendants

F-3 The Gallatin Family Ancestry

F-4 Goelet Family Tree

F-5 The Goelet Family Ancestry

F-6 Succession of Family Titles to Lake Delaware

F-7 Livingston Family Tree

F-8 The Livingston Family Ancestry

List of Illustrations


Table of Cases


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