DENBY, Edwin

1870–1929

Biography

DENBY, Edwin, (grandson of Graham Newell Fitch), a Representative from Michigan; born in Evansville, Vanderburg County, Ind., February 18, 1870; attended the public schools; went to China in 1885 with his father, who was United States Minister; employed in the Chinese imperial maritime customs service 1887-1894; returned to the United States in 1894; was graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1896; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Detroit in 1896; during the war with Spain served as a gunner's mate, third class, United States Navy, on the Yosemite; member of the State house of representatives in 1903; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-ninth, Sixtieth, and Sixty-first Congresses (March 4, 1905-March 3, 1911); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1910 to the Sixty-second Congress; resumed the practice of law in Detroit; also engaged in banking and various other business enterprises; president of the Detroit Charter Commission in 1913 and 1914; president of the Detroit Board of Commerce in 1916 and 1917; enlisted as a private in the United States Marine Corps in 1917; retired as major in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1919; appointed chief probation officer in the recorder's court of the city of Detroit and in the circuit court of Wayne County in 1920; appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Harding and served from March 4, 1921, until March 10, 1924, when he resigned in the aftermath of the Teapot Dome scandal; again resumed the practice of law and various business enterprises; died in Detroit, Mich., February 8, 1929; interment in Elmwood Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Detroit Public Library
Burton Historical Collection

Detroit, MI
Papers: 1907-1925, 6 linear feet. The papers of Edwin Denby include correspondence with Mr. and Mrs. Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and members of the cabinet. Also included is a scrapbook of photos of U.S. fleet on maneuvers, drafts of speeches, and several letters from Theodore Roosevelt as acting secretary of the navy.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: In the Charles Stanhope Cotton Papers, ca. 1860-1921, 600 items. Correspondents include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Denby Family Papers, 1850-1911, 3.2 linear feet. Persons represented include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Samuel Reber Papers, 1854-1924, 11 items. Correspondents include Edwin Denby.
Papers: In the Theodore Roosevelt Papers, ca. 1780-1962, 33 linear feet. Correspondents include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.

Naval War College
Library

Newport, RI
Papers: 1923, 1 page. A letter from Edwin Denby to a woman seeking employment with the Navy Department, written on November 22, 1923. In the letter, Edwin Denby informs her that there are no vacancies and reductions may be in order.

University of Michigan
Michigan Historical Collections, Bentley Historical Library

Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: 1845-1846 and 1880-1929, 2.4 linear feet. The papers of Edwin Denby include correspondence, 1880-1927, concerning personal matters, business affairs, and political activities; letters to Mrs. Denby regarding Edwin Denby's death. Also included are articles, speeches, notes and memoranda on various topics including the Panama Canal, Boxer Indemnity, United States Navy, and oil leases. Also included are photocopies of letters exchanged between Nathaniel Denby and George Bancroft, 1845-1846, as well as photographs. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Marion LeRoy Burton Papers, 1895-1925, 22.3 linear feet and 1 oversize folder. Correspondents include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library and online.
Papers: In the John J. Carton Papers, 1883-1921, 17 linear feet and 3 volumes. Correspondents include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Marshall L. Cook Papers, 1880-1945, 6 linear feet. Correspondents include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Mortimer E. Cooley Papers, 1873-1944, 69 linear feet and 7 oversize volumes. Correspondents include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Detroit Board of Commerce Papers, 1916-1943, approximately 85 items. Correspondents include Edwin Denby.
Papers: In the Jay G. Hayden Scrapbooks, 1916-1965, 8 linear feet (46 volumes). Subjects include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Francis Willey Kelsey Papers, 1894-1928, 2 linear feet and 28 volumes. Correspondents include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Charles Moore Papers, 1889-1940, 1 linear foot and 2 oversize volumes. Other authors include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the James Orin Murfin Papers, 1896-1940, 8 linear feet. Other authors include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Chase Salmon Osborn Papers, 1889-1949, 168 linear feet and 3 volumes. Other authors include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library and online.
Papers: In the Thomas Clarkson Trueblood Papers, 1886-1946, 65 items. Other authors include Edwin Denby.
Microfilm: In the Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg Papers, 1891-1974, 11 microfilm reels. Other authors include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library and online.
Papers: Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg Papers, 1884-1974, 8 linear feet and 25 volumes. Other authors include Edwin Denby. A finding aid is available in the library.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Denby, Edwin. Memoranda for the American Delegates to the Conference on Limitation of Armament. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1922.

Trani, Eugene P. "Secretary Denby Takes a Trip." Michigan History 51 (Winter 1967): 277-97.

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