OVERRIDE

CCB

The Life and Century of Charles C. Burlingham, New York's First Citizen, 1858-1959

George Martin

Hill and Wang

The exemplary life of an extraordinary politician and reformer.

Though he held no elected or appointed office, the New York City lawyer Charles C. Burlingham had great influence with those who did, and used it in unusual ways. George Martin's surprising biography shows how one citizen, working quietly behind the scenes, became a power broker who transformed his country's civic life.

Growing up after the Civil War, CCB--as everyone called him--was enthralled by America's dynamism of his city but shocked by the social costs of modernization, and he deplored the endemic corruption of city politics; eventually he let his law practice take a backseat to civil reform work. His second career in "meddling," as he called it, helped to put great judges on the bench (among them Benjamin Cardozo) and climaxed when he arranged the Fusion reform ticket on which Fiorello La Guardia swept to victory in 1933. Nor does Martin neglect Burlingham's private life--his eccentric wife, tragically afflicted son, and daughter-in-law Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham, who took CCB's grandchildren off to Vienna to be analyzed, as she was, by Sigmund and Anna Freud.

This adroit, engaging account of a high-spirited, good-hearted, talented man, chronicling his witty, effective commitment to social betterment, vividly documents a century of change in the ways Americans lived, their cities were governed, and their nation fought wars.

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CCB
Part OneAS THE TWIG IS BENT ...1A Boy's View of the Civil War"I WAS BORN CHEAP," Burlingham would reply when asked how he, New York's First Citizen, came to be born in Plainfield, New Jersey. At the time, 31 August 1858, his father, the Reverend Aaron Hale Burlingham, was pastor at the South Baptist Church on New York's West Twenty-seventh Street, and his parents lived in a small brick house nearby. Yet "I was taken in my mother's womb to Plainfield to be born cheap in the house of my aunt, with the aid of my medical uncle, and I returned to New York City as speedily as practicable."1 He
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • George Martin

  • George Martin is the author of a dozen books, including biographies of Frances Perkins and Giuseppe Verdi. He lives in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
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    CCB

    The Life and Century of Charles C. Burlingham, New York's First Citizen, 1858-1959

    George Martin

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