James O. Putnam

James Osborne Putnam
4th Chancellor of the
University of Buffalo
In office
Preceded by E. Carleton Sprague
Succeeded by Wilson S. Bissell

James Osborne Putnam (July 4, 1818 Attica, then in Genesee Co., now in Wyoming County, New York – April 24, 1903 Buffalo, Erie County, New York) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.


He was the son of Congressman Harvey Putnam (1793–1855) and Myra (Osborne) Putnam (1795–1863). He graduated from Yale College in 1839. Then he studied law, was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice in Buffalo. On January 5, 1842, he married Harriet Foster Palmer (died 1853), and they had four children.

He was a member of the New York State Senate (31st D.) in 1854 and 1855. On March 15, 1855, he married Kate F. Wright (1835–1895), and they had three sons.

At the New York state election, 1857, he ran on the American party ticket for Secretary of State of New York, but was defeated by Democrat Gideon J. Tucker.

He was a presidential elector in 1860, voting for Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin.

He was U.S. Minister to Belgium from 1880 to 1882.

He was Chancellor of the University of Buffalo from 1895 to 1902.

He was buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo.


New York State Senate
Preceded by
George R. Babcock
New York State Senate
31st District

Succeeded by
James Wadsworth
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William C. Goodloe
U.S. Minister to Belgium
Succeeded by
Nicholas Fish II
Academic offices
Preceded by
E. Carleton Sprague
Chancellor of the University of Buffalo
Succeeded by
Wilson S. Bissell
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