Biography of James A. Hamilton
Bronx County, NY Biographies





JAMES ALBERT HAMILTON - The business and political leadership of America is in large part made up of men who have forged their own success, who have climbed to the top by virtue of native ability, unwearying perseverance, and a fine type of ambition based on high ideals. To this admirable group belongs James Albert Hamilton, resident of The Bronx, New York City, Industrial Commissioner of New York State. He was born in a quaint old house located at No. 421 West Thirty third Street, New York City, January 24, 1876, son of John Coulter and Margaret Scott (Vance) Hamilton. His father, born in Dooran Road, County Donegal, Ireland, came to the United States in 1864 and settled in New York City, where he remained until his death. His parents, James and Margaret (Coulter) Hamilton, were also native to County Donegal. Margaret Scott (Vance) Hamilton, born at Inver Bay, County Donegal, Ireland, in 1847, is alive and hearty in her seventy ninth year (1926).

James Albert Hamilton attended Public School No. 32, in Manhattan, and early displayed the determination to gain a well rounded education no matter what the cost to him in the way of effort in his leisure hours. He graduated from the New York Evening High School in 1892, after three years, during which he worked as a newsboy on the streets by day, and later in a newspaper as office boy, proofreader, and typesetter. He then entered the Peddle School, at Hightstown, New Jersey, to prepare for college, and graduating in 1894, entered the University of Rochester, where he gained both athletic and scholastic honors before his graduation in 1898 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He was quarterback on the Varsity football team and catcher on the baseball team. He was elected a member of the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity and received the key of Phi Beta Kappa because of the excellence of his scholarship. At the same time he attained fame as an exhibition cyclist, displaying his skill in various parts of the world.

From 1898 to 1914 Mr. Hamilton was a teacher in the elementary and high schools of New York City. He continued his studies at the same time, carrying graduate courses at Columbia and New York universities, and receiving, in 1903, his Master's degree; in 1904 that of Bachelor of Laws; and in 1909, that of Doctor of Philosophy. He specialized in history, economics, and constitutional law. His legal fraternity was the Delta Chi. In 1914 he entered politics as State Senator from The Bronx and served a term. On January 1, 1918, he was appointed Commissioner of Correction in New York City, continuing in that position until December 31, 1922, when he resigned in order to begin his new work as Secretary of State. On January 1, 1925, he was appointed State Industrial Commissioner by Governor Smith, an office in which he has made an excellent record. Other public offices have come his way, including that of chairman, in 1918, of the Central Purchase Committee of New York City. He was chairman of the Democratic County Committee in Bronx County in 1921 and 1922. He is a member of Bronx Lodge, No. 871, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Guiding Star Lodge, No. 565, Free and Accepted Masons; Ivy Chapter, No. 238, Royal Arch Masons; Union Council, No. 2, Royal and Select Masters; Manhattan Commandery, No. 31, Knights Templar, and Mecca Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He is also affiliated with the Academy of Political Science, the Scientific Alliance, the Society of Criminal Law and Criminology, and the University Club, of Albany, New York. He is president of the Arthur H. Murphy Association of The Bronx.

On October 11, 1904, in New York, James Albert Hamilton married Georgiana Elizabeth Montgomery, daughter of Robert and Frances Elizabeth (Montgomery) Montgomery, of County Cavan, Ireland. Her father, born in 1839, died in 1904. To Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton were born six children: 1. Georgia Montgomery, born October 3, 1905. 2. Margaret Vance, born January 7, 1907. Florence, born November 3, 1908, died at birth. James Albert, Jr., born August 25, 1910. 5. Isabel Henshaw, born August 7, 1912. 6. Robert Montgomery, October 30, 1915.

From:
The Bronx and its people
A History 1609-1927
Board of Editors: James L. Wells,
Louis F. Haffen
Josiah A. Briggs.
Historian: Benedict Fitspatrick
Publisher: The Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc.
New York 1927


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