Truman Handy Newberry

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Truman Handy Newberry (5 November, 1864 – 3 October, 1945) served as the thirty-ninth Secretary of the Navy for a short time in 1908 and 1909.

Life & Career

Newberry was born in Detroit, Michigan on 5 November, 1864. He attended public and private schools and graduated from Yale College in 1885. From Yale he became superintendent of construction, paymaster, general freight and passenger agent, and eventually manager of the Detroit, Bay City & Alpena Railway. From 1887 until 1901 he served as president and treasurer of the Detroit Steel & Spring Co., and engaged in various other manufacturing activities.

He was the organizer of the Michigan State Naval Brigade and served in the Navy during the Spanish-American War. In 1905 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and became Secretary of the Navy during the twilight of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency in December 1908.

During the First World War, Newberry served as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy Fleet Reserve and as assistant to the Commandant, Third Naval District until 1919.

Newberry was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1919, until his resignation on November 18, 1922. In 1921, Newberry was tried and convicted of election "irregularities" but the conviction was reversed by the Supreme Court, and, following an investigation, the Senate declared Newberry entitled to his seat but expressed disapproval of the sum spent on his election. His opponent was Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford. In the face of a new movement to unseat him, Newberry resigned.

Returning to Michigan, Newberry engaged in manufacturing until his death in Grosse Pointe, Michigan on 3 October, 1945.

See Also


  • Baker, Paula (2012). Curbing Campaign Cash: Henry Ford, Truman Newberry, and the Politics of Progressive Reform. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
  • Ervin, Spencer (1935). Henry Ford vs. Truman H. Newberry: The Famous Senate Election Contest. New York City: R.R. Smith.


Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Victor H. Metcalf
Secretary of the Navy
1 Dec, 1908 – 4 Mar, 1909
Succeeded by
George von L. Meyer