Jacob McGavock Dickinson

JACOB McGAVOCK DICKINSON was born in Columbus, Mississippi, on 30 January 1851; enlisted at fourteen as a private in the Confederate cavalry; moved with his family to Nashville, Tennessee; graduated from the University of Nashville, 1871, and received his master’s degree in 1872; studied law briefly at Columbia University and continued his studies abroad in Leipzig and Paris; was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1874; married Martha Overton, 1876; was president of the Tennessee Bar Association, 1889–1893; was an assistant attorney general of the United States, 1895–1897; was attorney for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, 1897–1899; moved to Chicago, Illinois, 1899; became general solicitor for the Illinois Central Railroad, 1899–1901, and general counsel, 1901–1909; was a counsel for the Alaskan Boundary Tribunal, 1903; was president of the American Bar Association, 1907–1908; helped organize the American Society of International Law, served on its executive council from 1907 to 1910, and was its vice president in 1910; served as Secretary of War, 12 March 1909–21 May 1911; proposed legislation to permit the admission of foreign students to West Point; recommended an annuity retirement system for civil service employees; suggested that Congress consider stopping the pay of soldiers rendered unfit for duty because of venereal disease or alcoholism as a means of combatting those problems; was a special assistant attorney general, helped prosecute the U.S. Steel Corporation in 1913, and acted in several important labor cases in 1922; was receiver of the Rock Island Lines, 1915–1917; was president of the Izaak Walton League, 1927–1928; died in Nashville, Tennessee, on 13 December 1928.

The Artist

Ralph Clarkson (1861–1942) was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and studied at the Boston Art Museum in the early 1880’s before moving to Paris to study under Jules Lefebvre and Gustave Boulanger at the Académie Julien from 1884 to 1887. After a period of portrait painting in New York and a sojourn in Italy, he established a studio in Chicago in 1896, where he became president of the Municipal Art Commission and an instructor and governing member of the Art Institute of Chicago. He served on the art juries of the Paris Exposition (1900), the St. Louis Exposition (1904), and the San Francisco Exposition (1915), and was a founder of Friends of American Art.


Portrait, Jacob McGavock Dickinson

Taft Administration
By Ralph Clarkson Oil on canvas, 29" x 24", 1911

page created 6 March 2001

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