John Lambert Cadwalader

John Lambert Cadwalader
10th United States Assistant Secretary of State
In office
June 17, 1874  March 20, 1877
Preceded by J.C. Bancroft Davis
Succeeded by Frederick W. Seward
Personal details
Born (1836 -11-17)November 17, 1836
Trenton, New Jersey
Died March 11, 1914 (1914 -03-11) (aged 77)
New York City

John Lambert Cadwalader (1836–1914) was an American lawyer.


John Lambert Cadwalader was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on November 17, 1836. His father was General Thomas McCall Cadwalader (1795–1873). On his paternal side, his grandfather was Lambert Cadwalader (1742–1823) and his great-grandfather was Thomas Cadwalader (1708–1779).[1] His mother was Maria Charlotte Gouverneur (1801–1867), who was sister of Samuel L. Gouverneur (1799–1867), and niece of Elizabeth (Kortright) Monroe (1768–1830), the wife of US President James Monroe.[1]

He graduated from Princeton University in 1856, then obtained an MA degree in 1859 from Princeton, and LLB from Harvard Law School in 1860.[2]

He served as United States Assistant Secretary of State from 1874 to 1877. In 1878 he became a name partner of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, the oldest continuously operating law firm in the United States, which still carries his name.[3] In 1905 he became a life member of the American Academy in Rome, where he acted as an adviser during the Academy's incorporation process.[4] From 1906 to 1907, he served as president of the New York City Bar Association.[5] He was an early trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.[6]

Cadwalader was at one time president of the New York City Bar Association, but his most prominent connection in the minds of the public was with the New York Public Library, of which he was elected the second president, as the successor of John Bigelow. For many years before his election to this office, he had been a member of the board of trustees and of the executive committee of the library. He probably did more, in the form of personal activities, for the library service of New York City than any other man. He worked out the plans for combining the Astor, Lenox, and Tilden foundations into one great, central library, and was instrumental in the material carrying out of this conception. He also devoted a great deal of thought to the planning out of the building that housed the library.[7]

He died in New York City on March 11, 1914.[2] He never married.[7] He was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and left the furnishings of his home on East 56th Street to the museum.[8] He was on the board of the New York Zoological Society (now Wildlife Conservation Society). He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, the Sons of the Revolution, the American Fine Arts Society, and the American Museum of Natural History. His clubs included the Century Association, the Union League Club, Lawyers' Club, Union Club, Metropolitan Club, Knickerbocker Club, University Club, Princeton Club, and New York Yacht Club, all of New York City.[7]

Family tree


  1. 1 2 Charles Penrose Keith (1883). The provincial councillors of Pennsylvania, who held office between 1733-1776: and those earlier councillors who were some time chief magistrates of the province, and their descendants. W.S. Sharp Printing Company. pp. 387–389.
  2. 1 2 "J. L. Cadwalader, Lawyer, Dies at 77:President of New York City Bar Association and Public Library Was Long Ill" (PDF). New York Times. March 12, 1914.
  3. "History". official web page. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. March 12, 2011.
  4. "Finding Aid". American Academy in Rome records, 1855-[ca.1981], (bulk dates 1894-1946). Archives of American Art. 2011. Retrieved 17 Jun 2011.
  5. Henry Waters Taft (1920). "John Lambert Cadwalader, an appreciation". Occasional papers and addresses of an American lawyer. Macmillan. pp. 325–331. Paper read at the opening of the Trenton Public Library on April 6, 1915.
  6. Annual Report. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 1918. p. 240.
  7. 1 2 3  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Homans, James E., ed. (1918). "Cadwalader, John Lambert". The Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: The Press Association Compilers, Inc.
  8. Durr Friedley (May 1914). "The Bequest of John L. Cadwalader". The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. 9 (5): 106–111. JSTOR 3253859.
Political offices
Preceded by
J.C. Bancroft Davis
United States Assistant Secretary of State
June 17, 1874 – March 20, 1877
Succeeded by
Frederick W. Seward
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