Lewis Cass Ledyard

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Lewis Cass Ledyard

Birthdate: (80)
Birthplace: Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States
Death: January 27, 1932 (80)
New York, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Brockholst Ledyard, I and Mathilda Frances Ledyard
Brother of Elizabeth Cass Ledyard; Henry Brockholst Ledyard, II; Susan Livingston Ledyard and Matilda Spencer Ledyard

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About Lewis Cass Ledyard

L. CASS LEDYARD, NOTED LAWYER, DIES - - - - - - Friend and Associate of the Elder J. P. Morgan Victim of Heart Disease at 80. - - - - - - FORMED BIG CORPORATIONS - - - - - - Director on Many Boards--Gave Large Sum to Charity--Former Commodore of N. Y. Yacht Club. - - - - - -

Lewis Cass Ledyard, one of the great American lawyers of his time, former personal counsel of the elder J. Pierpont Morgan and president of the New York Public Library, who had for a generation been a leader, publicly or privately, in undertakings of benefit to the citizens of New York, died at 9:45 last night of heart disease at his home, 27 East Seventy-second Street. His age was 80 years.

Mr. Ledyard had been ill for several months and, except for attending a recent meeting of the trustees of the Metropolitan Museum, had not been out of the house for a month.

He is survived by a widow, Isabel Morris Ledyard; a son of an earlier marriage, Lewis Cass Ledyard Jr., well-known lawyer, and two step-daughters, Mrs. Mansfield Ferry and Mrs. Richard L. Stokes.

  • Of Distinguished Ancestry*

Related to many of the great families of Colonial America, Mr. Ledyard was born in Detroit, Mich., on April 4, 1851, in the home of his maternal grandfather, Lewis Cass, one-time Democratic candidate for the Presidency and Secretary of State under President Buchanan. His father was Henry Ledyard, who had been secretary of the United States Legation in Paris, and the former Matilda Frances Cass.

Mr. Ledyard prepared for college at Charlier Institute, a French school in New York, and entered Columbia College, but after his freshman year went to Harvard, where he was graduated in 1872 with the degree of A, B. He received his law and Master of Arts degrees at Harvard.

Shortly after leaving the law school Mr. Ledyard entered the office of James Coolidge Carter, then one of the leaders of the American bar, who had a great part in the fight against the Tweed ring. Mr. Carter's firm had a long hostory. Founded as Kent & Davies it became Davies & Scudder; then Scudder & Carter; next Carter & Ledyard and finally Carter, Ledyard & Milburn. Mr. Ledyard was admitted to partnership in 1880, and the firm had the unusual honor of having three of its members, Mr. Carter, Mr. Ledyard and Mr. Milburn, elected to the presidency of the Bar of the City of New York.

  • Helped Form Big Corporations.*

A friend and associate of the elder J. P. Morgan, Payne Whitney, George F. Baker and many other financial leaders of this country's greatest period of growth, Mr. Ledyard participated in the organization of a number of corporations of enormous capitalization.

Legislators were constantly formulating laws having for their object the curtailing of the powers of large combinations of capital. It was in connection with the affairs of one of these corporations that probably the greatest professional event of Mr. Ledyard's career was associated. In 1890 several large tobacco concerns were consolidated in the American Tobacco Company, which built up a business equaling 80 per cent of the entire trade. It was continually attacked for its methods of conducting business, which, its opponents claimed, tended to monopolize the industry.

In 1911 the United States Supreme Court issued a mandate dissolving the company. The problem was to reconstruct the divided assets, amounting to many millions, to continue the business legally and meet the requirements of the court. Mr. Ledyard evolved a plan by which he dissolved the original company and settled its affairs. His task required not only a profound knowledge of all the legal questions involved, but also the study of all features of the tobacco business, from the planting of the leaf to its manufacture in its diversified forms, a knowledge of the methods of purchasing the raw materials and of the distribution of the manufactured product, and the ability to appraise the value of the diversified interests and distribute the assets in a way to re-establish competitive conditions and yet enable all security holders in the original company to share according to their original holdings on an equitable basis.

  • Gave $600,000 to a Hospital.*

Mr. Ledyard was president of the Lying-In Hospital of this city for more than twenty years and gave $600,000 to the Newport Hospital in memory of his father, who was its first president. He was an officer of the French Legion of Honor and a commander of the Order of the Crown of Belgium.

He held directorships on the boards of the First National Bank of New York, United States Trust Company of New York, Great Northern Paper Company, American Express Company, Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, National Park Bank and several railroads.

He was a member of the Century, University, Knickerbocker, Harvard, Metropolitan and New York Yacht Clubs.

On April 11, 1878, Mr. Ledyard married Gertrude Prince, daughter of Colonel William E. Prince, U. S. A. A son, Lewis Cass Ledyard Jr., was born to them. Mrs. Ledyard died in January, 1905, and on June 6, 1906, Mr. Ledyard married Frances Isabel Morris, granddaughter of Francis Morris, a wealthy American.

  • Once Counsel to U. S. Steel.*

Mr. Ledyard had served the United States Steel Corporation as counsel, holding that position at the time of the 1907 panic. He was counsel to the New York Stock Exchange for more than thirty years.

His hobby was yachting. He owned the schooner Montauk and was commodore of the New York Yacht Club from 1900 to 1902.

With John A. Cadwalader, he was a leader in the movement that brought about the formation of the New York Public Library from the Astor, Lenox and Tilden Libraries. Mr. Ledyard represented the Tilden interests. He was president of the Public Library from 1917. He was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pierpont Morgan Library, and trustee and vice president of the Frick collection of art.


"Lewis Cass Ledyard spent his boyhood in Detroit [MI], Washington [DC] and Newport [RI], and prepared for college at the Charlier Institute in New York City. He was graduated at Harvard in 1872, studied at the Harvard Law School, and received the degrees of M.A. and LL.B. in 1875. After his course in the law school, he began practice in the office of Scudder and Carter in New York City, the firm being composed of Henry J. Scudder and James Coolidge Carter. He was made a partner in 1881, and after Mr. Scudder died in 1886, the firm became known as Carter and Ledyard. Mr. Ledyard remained in this firm for the next quarter century, the name becoming successively Carter, Rollins and Ledyard; Carter and Ledyard; and finally with the accession of John C. Milburn, Carter, Ledyard and Milburn.

Mr. Ledyard was nominated one of the five trustees of the Tilden Trust, a corporation organized pursuant to the will of Samuel J. Tilden, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a public library in the City of New York. [...]

Mr. Ledyard served as President of the Lying-in Hospital for over twenty years. He was Commodore of the New York Yacht Club for several years, and is a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vice-President of "The Frick Collection." He has also been President of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and a director of the First National Bank and the United States Trust Company of New York.

In the course of his extended career he has been a director of the New York Central; Lake Shore and Michigan Southern; Northern Pacific; New York, New Haven and Hartford and a number of other important railroad and other corporations. He was for many years First Vice-President of the American Express Company and was for over thirty years Counsel for the New York Stock Exchange. He took a leading part in the reorganization of the American Tobacco Company and the formation and development of a plan for the complete severance of its various constituent elements to meet the decree against that company under the Sherman Act.

Mr. Ledyard holds membership in the Society of the Cincinnati, inherited through his New Hampshire line of ancestry which he traces to Major Jonathan Cass. He is an officer of the Legion d'Honneur, and a Commander of the Order of the Crown of Belgium. [...]"

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Lewis Cass Ledyard's Timeline

April 4, 1851
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States
January 27, 1932
Age 80
New York, New York, United States