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Chauncey Mitchell Depew

Depew, Chauncey Mitchell (dĭpyōˈ) [key], 1834–1928, American orator, politician, and railroad president, b. Peekskill, N.Y. Admitted to the bar in 1856, he was a Republican member (1862–63) of the state legislature and then secretary of state of New York (1863–65). In 1866 he refused the ministry to Japan in favor of serving the railroad interests of Commodore Vanderbilt. He served as general counsel (1875–82), vice president (1882–85), president (1885–99), and chairman of the board (1899–1928) of the New York Central lines. Noted as an after-dinner speaker, he used his oratorical abilities to deliver nominating speeches at the Republican conventions of 1888 and 1896. He was elected U.S. Senator (1899–1911) but failed to secure reelection in 1910, partly because an investigation of life insurance companies revealed that he received an annual retainer from the Equitable Life Assurance Company.

See his memoirs (1922).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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