Cornelius Newton Bliss

Cornelius Newton Bliss (January 26, 1833 – October 9, 1911) was an American merchant, politician and art collector, who served as Secretary of the Interior in the administration of President William McKinley and as Treasurer of the Republican National Convention in four successive campaigns.[1]

Cornelius Bliss
Cornelius Newton Bliss 2
21st United States Secretary of the Interior
In office
March 6, 1897 – February 19, 1899
PresidentWilliam McKinley
Preceded byDavid R. Francis
Succeeded byEthan Hitchcock
Chair of the New York Republican Party
In office
Preceded byChester S. Cole
Succeeded byJohn N. Knapp
Personal details
Cornelius Newton Bliss

January 26, 1833
Fall River, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedOctober 9, 1911 (aged 78)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Mary Plummer
(m. 1859; his death 1911)
Children4, including Lillie, Cornelius

Early life

Mary Elizabeth Plummer
Mary Elizabeth Plummer

Cornelius Bliss was born at Fall River, Massachusetts. He was the son of Asahel Newton and Irene Borden (née Luther) Bliss.[2] His family was of English ancestry and their earliest American ancestor was Thomas Bliss, who emigrated from Belstone, Devonshire to New England in 1635.[3] His father died when he was an infant and his mother remarried to Edward S. Keep. They moved to New Orleans in 1840.[2]

He was educated in his native city and in New Orleans, where he early entered his stepfather's counting house.[2]


Returning to Massachusetts in 1849, he became a clerk and subsequently a junior partner in a prominent Boston commercial house. Later he moved to New York City to establish a branch of the firm. The firm, originally Wright & Whitman, in 1874 became Wright, Bliss & Fabyan upon the death of the senior partner, Mr. John S. Wright. On the death in 1881 of Mr. Eben Wright,[4] the firm became Bliss, Fabyan & Co., under which name it continued until well into the 20th Century.[5] Bliss, Fabyan & Co. was one of the largest wholesale dry-goods houses in the country.[6]


A consistent advocate of the protective tariff, he was one of the organizers and for many years president of the American Protective Tariff League. In politics an active Republican, he was chairman of the Republican state committee in 1887 and 1888, and contributed much to the success of the Harrison ticket in New York in the latter year. He was treasurer of the Republican National Committee from 1892 to 1904.[7] He turned down the offer of becoming United States Secretary of the Treasury under President McKinley,[8] but he served as United States Secretary of the Interior in President William McKinley's cabinet from 1897 to 1899.[9][10][11]

In 1900, he was invited to stand as President McKinley's vice-president.[12][13] He refused the offer.[14][15] The following year McKinley was assassinated and Roosevelt (who did accept the offer) became President.[16]

Personal life

The Manneporte near Étretat MET DT1028
Claude Monet's The Manneporte near Étretat, owned by Bliss

On March 30, 1859,[2] Bliss was married to Mary Elizabeth Plummer (1837–1923), the daughter of Hon. Avery Plummer of Boston.[17] Together, they were the parents of four children, two who survived him:[3]

He was also a member of the famous Jekyll Island Club (aka The Millionaires Club) on Jekyll Island, Georgia.[21]

Bliss' health began to fail in 1910. He spent the Summer of 1911 at his country home in Rumson, New Jersey, accompanied by his physician Arthur W. Bingham, but returned to New York City in September due to his frailty. He spent the last two weeks of his life at his residence at 29 East 37th Street before succumbing to heart disease at 7 pm on October 9, 1911.[1] He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York.[22][23]


Cornelius Bliss was a collector of fine art. He owned works by Arthur Bowen Davies, along with Claude Monet's The Manneporte near Étretat, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[24][25]


  1. ^ a b Obituary (10 October 1911). "Cornelius N. Bliss, Merchant, is Dead" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography: Being the History of the United States as Illustrated in the Lives of the Founders, Builders, and Defenders of the Republic, and of the Men and Women who are Doing the Work and Moulding the Thought of the Present Time. J. T. White Company. 1901. p. 15. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Cutter, William Richard (1918). American Biography: A New Cyclopedia. Pub. under the direction of the American historical Society. pp. 342–345. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  4. ^ "A RICH MAN'S BEQUESTS; TROUBLE LIKELY TO ARISE OVER EBEN WRIGHT'S WILL". The New York Times. 2 May 1881. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  5. ^ "COTTON AGENCIES MERGED; Haywood, Mackay & Valentine to Be Bliss Fabyan Department". The New York Times. 14 April 1936. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  6. ^ "COL. GEORGE FABYAN, SCIENTIST, DIES AT 69; l Retired Merchant Widely Known for His Studies of Sound and His War Work". The New York Times. 18 May 1936. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  7. ^ Picone, Louis L. (2016). The President Is Dead!: The Extraordinary Stories of the Presidential Deaths, Final Days, Burials, and Beyond. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. p. 344. ISBN 9781510703773. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  8. ^ "THE CABINET COMPLETED; Cornelius N. Bliss of New York Consents to be McKinley's Secretary of the Interior. HAS YIELDED TO PRESSURE. Hanna and New York Friends Persuade Him to Accept Office When He Prefers to Remain in Private Life -- Platt Not Overpleased". The New York Times. 4 March 1897. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  9. ^ "VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES". The New York Times. 8 December 1899. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  10. ^ "A NEW CABINET MEMBER; Ethan Allen Hitchcock Is Appointed Secretary of the Interior. HIS NOMINATION CONFIRMED He Is at Present United States Ambassador to Russia -- Will Succeed Cornelius N. Bliss". The New York Times. 22 December 1898. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  11. ^ "THE PUBLIC SERVICE OF MR. BLISS". The New York Times. 27 April 1899. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  12. ^ "BLISS STILL THE CHOICE; Vice Presidential Candidate If New York Man Is Named. MR. HANNA'S STRONG PLEADING Friends Believe Mr. Bliss Will Yield to Persuasion -- Woodruff Not to Withdraw". The New York Times. 12 April 1900. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  13. ^ "BLISS NOW THE FAVORITE; Many Things Point to His Choice for Vice President. CONFERS WITH SENATOR HANNA That Is Quite Customary, He Explains, Smilingly -- Condolences for Woodruff -- President's Attitude". The New York Times. 10 April 1900. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  14. ^ "MR. BLISS NOT A CANDIDATE.; Friends of the New York Merchant Deny that He Desires to Reenter Public Life". The New York Times. 1900. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  15. ^ "BLISS BOOM IS REVIVED; Ex-Secretary Will Not Decline Nomination in Advance. MORE TALK OF A STAMPEDE Col. Youngs Does Not Think Gov. Roosevelt Can Be Forced to Run for Vice President". The New York Times. 14 June 1900. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  16. ^ "FOR THE McKINLEY MONUMENT.; President Roosevelt Appoints Trustees and They Will Meet at Canton Thursday to Organize". The New York Times. 6 October 1901. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Mrs. Elizabeth M. Bliss". The New York Times. 29 September 1923. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  18. ^ "MISS BLISS AND THE MODERN MUSEUM". The New York Times. 16 March 1931. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  19. ^ "CORNELIUS BLISS, 74, FINANCIER, IS DEAD; Philanthropist, Formerly Head of Metropolitan Opera Board, Succumbs in Hospital". The New York Times. 6 April 1949. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  20. ^ "BLISS-COBB WEDDING.; Son of New York Banker Makes Washington Girl His Wife". The New York Times. 27 April 1906. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  21. ^ Hutto, Richard Jay (2005). The Jekyll Island Club Members. Indigo Custom Publishing. pp. 24–27. ISBN 9780977091225. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  22. ^ "CORNELIUS N. BLISS BURIED.; Many Prominent Men at Funeral Service -- Rev. Dr. Jefferson's Eulogy". The New York Times. 13 October 1911. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  23. ^ "CORNELIUS N. BLISS FUNERAL.; Services at His Home To-morrow Morning -- Eulogy from Taft". The New York Times. 11 October 1911. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  24. ^ The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  25. ^ The Frick Collection. "Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America". The Frick Collection. Retrieved 27 March 2012.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Chester S. Cole
Chairman of the New York
Republican State Committee

1887 – 1889
Succeeded by
John N. Knapp
Political offices
Preceded by
David Rowland Francis
U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Served under: William McKinley

1897 – 1899
Succeeded by
Ethan A. Hitchcock

1911 (MCMXI)

was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar, the 1911th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 911th year of the 2nd millennium, the 11th year of the 20th century, and the 2nd year of the 1910s decade. As of the start of 1911, the Gregorian calendar was

13 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

A highlight was the race for the South Pole.

Anson Goodyear

Anson Conger Goodyear (June 20, 1877 – April 24, 1964) was an American manufacturer, businessman, author, and philanthropist and member of the Goodyear family. He is best known as a founder and first president of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Battle of Sugar Point

The Battle of Sugar Point, or the Battle of Leech Lake, was fought on October 5, 1898 between the 3rd U.S. Infantry and members of the Pillager Band of Chippewa Indians in a failed attempt to apprehend Pillager Ojibwe Bugonaygeshig ("Old Bug" or "Hole-In-The-Day"), as the result of a dispute with Indian Service officials on the Leech Lake Reservation in Cass County, Minnesota.

Often referred to as "the last Indian Uprising in the United States", the engagement was also the first battle to be fought in the area of the United States known as the Old Northwest since the Black Hawk War in 1832. It is sometimes considered to be the last battle fought between Native Americans and the U.S. Army.

The last Medal of Honor issued during the Indian Wars was awarded to Private Oscar Burkard of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment.

Bliss (surname)

Bliss is a surname. Notable people with the name include:

Aaron T. Bliss (1837–1906), U.S. Representative and Governor of Michigan

A. J. Bliss (1862–1931), British iris breeder

Alexa Bliss (born 1991), ring name of American professional wrestler Alexis Kaufman

Arthur Bliss (1891–1975), British composer

Atlanta Bliss (born c. 1952), American jazz trumpeter

Baron Bliss (1869–1926), British philanthropist in British Honduras

Bliss Carman (1861–1929), Canadian poet

Brian Bliss (born 1965), American soccer defender and coach

C. D. Bliss (1870–1948), American football player and coach

Caroline Bliss (born 1961), British actress

Charles K. Bliss (1897–1985), inventor of Blissymbols

Chester Ittner Bliss (1899–1979), biologist known for his contributions to statistics

Cornelius Newton Bliss (1833–1911), American merchant and politician

Daniel Bliss (1823–1916), American founder of the American University of Beirut

Dave Bliss (born 1943), American college basketball coach

Diana Bliss (1954–2012), Australian theatre producer

Doctor Willard Bliss (1825–1889), American physician

Dorothy Bliss (1916–1987), American carcinologist

Douglas Bliss (1900–1984), Scottish painter

Duane Leroy Bliss (1835–1910), American industrialist

Ed Bliss (1912-2002), American journalist

Edward Bliss (1865-1960), American missionary to China

Eleanor Albert Bliss (1899–1987), American bacteriologist

Frank Bliss (1852-1929), American baseball player

Franklyn Bliss Snyder (1884-1958), American educator and academic

Frederick J. Bliss (1857–1939), American archaeologist

George Bliss (disambiguation), multiple people

Gilbert Ames Bliss (1876–1951), American mathematician

Harry Bliss, American cartoonist

Henry E. Bliss (1870–1955), American librarian and inventor of the Bliss classification

Henry H. Bliss (1830–1899), first person killed in a motor vehicle accident in the United States

Ian Bliss, Australian actor

James Blish (1921–1975), American author of fantasy and science fiction

Johnny Bliss (1922–1974), Australian rugby league footballer

Karen Bliss (born 1963), American cyclist

Laurie Bliss (1872–1942), American football player and coach in the United States

Lillie P. Bliss (1864–1931), American art collector and patron, founder of Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lucille Bliss (1916-2012), American actress and voice artist

Michael Bliss (born 1941), Canadian historian and award-winning author

Mike Bliss (born 1965), American NASCAR driver

Nathaniel Bliss (1700–1764), English astronomer

Philemon Bliss (1813–1889), U.S. Congressman and jurist

Philip Bliss (1838–1876), American hymn lyricist and composer

Philip Bliss (academic) (1787–1857), Registrar of the University of Oxford, etc.

Ray C. Bliss (1907–1981), one of the important national U.S

Richard Bliss, American telecommunications technician arrested in Russia on charges of espionage.

Ryan Bliss (born 1971), American digital artist

Sister Bliss (born 1970), British keyboardist, record producer, DJ, composer and songwriter

Stephen Bliss (1787–1847), American minister and politician

Sylvester Bliss (1814–1863), Millerite minister and editor

Timothy Vivian Pelham Bliss (born 1940), British neuroscientist

Thomas Bliss (born 1952), motion picture producer and executive producer

Tasker H. Bliss (1853–1930), U.S. Army officer

William Dwight Porter Bliss (1856–1926), American religious leader and activist

William Henry Bliss (1835–1911), English scholar

William Wallace Smith Bliss (1815–1853), U.S. Army Officer

Zenas Bliss (1835–1900), U.S. Army General and Medal of Honor recipient

Cornelius Newton Bliss Jr.

Cornelius Newton Bliss Jr. (April 15, 1875 – April 5, 1949) was an American merchant, political organizer, and philanthropist.

Indian Congress

The Indian Congress occurred from August 4 to October 31, 1898 in Omaha, Nebraska, in conjunction with the Trans-Mississippi International Exposition. Occurring within a decade of the end of the Indian Wars, the Indian Congress was the largest gathering of American Indian tribes of its kind to that date. Over 500 members of 35 different tribes attended, including the Apache chief Geronimo, who was being held at Fort Sill as a United States prisoner of war.Frank A. Rinehart's photographs of the Indian Congress participants are regarded as one of the best photographic documentations of American Indian leaders around the start of the 20th century.

Jekyll Island Club

The Jekyll Island Club was a private club on Jekyll Island, on Georgia's Atlantic coast. It was founded in 1886 when members of an incorporated hunting and recreational club purchased the island for $125,000 (about $3.1 million in 2017) from John Eugene du Bignon. The original design of the Jekyll Island Clubhouse, with its signature turret, was completed in January 1888. The club thrived through the early 20th century; its members came from many of the world's wealthiest families, most notably the Morgans, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts. The club closed at the end of the 1942 season due to complications from World War II. In 1947, after five years of funding a staff to keep up the lawn and cottages, the island was purchased from the club's remaining members for $675,000 (about 7.4 million in 2017) during condemnation proceedings by the state of Georgia.

The State tried operating the club as a resort, but this was not financially successful and the entire complex was closed by 1971. The complex was designated a historic landmark in 1978.

It was restored and reopened as a luxury resort hotel in 1985. Today, Jekyll Island Club Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

John Kendrick Bangs

John Kendrick Bangs (May 27, 1862 – January 21, 1922) was an American author, humorist, editor and satirist.

Lillie P. Bliss

Lizzie Plummer Bliss (April 11, 1864 in Boston – March 12, 1931 in New York City), known as Lillie P. Bliss, was an American art collector and patron. At the beginning of the 20th century, she was one of the leading collectors of modern art in New York. One of the lenders to the landmark Armory Show in 1913, she also contributed to other exhibitions concerned with raising public awareness of modern art. In 1929, she played an essential role in the founding of the Museum of Modern Art. After her death, 150 works of art from her collection served as a foundation to the museum and formed the basis of the in-house collection. These included works by artists such as Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani.

Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock

Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, 187 U.S. 553 (1903), was a United States Supreme Court case brought against the US government by the Kiowa chief Lone Wolf, who charged that Native American tribes under the Medicine Lodge Treaty had been defrauded of land by Congressional actions in violation of the treaty.

The Court declared that the "plenary power" of the United States Congress gave it authority to abrogate treaty obligations between the United States and Native American tribes unilaterally. The decision marked a departure from the holdings of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 30 U.S. 1 (1831), and Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 (1832), which had shown greater respect for the autonomy of Native American tribes.

M.C.D. Borden

Matthew Chaloner Durfee Borden (July 18, 1842 – May 27, 1912) (commonly referred to as M.C.D. Borden), was a textile leader from Fall River, Massachusetts who, in 1880 reorganized the failed American Print Works into the American Printing Company. In the years that followed, his company would grow to become the largest cloth-printing company in the world, earning him the nickname "the Calico King". His father was Colonel Richard Borden, who founded the Fall River Iron Works.

Presidency of William McKinley

The presidency of William McKinley began on March 4, 1897, when William McKinley was inaugurated and ended with his death on September 14, 1901. He is best known for leading the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, taking ownership of Hawaii, purchasing the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico, restoring prosperity, and promoting pluralism among all groups. It includes the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition, and the Gold Standard Act of 1900 that rejected free silver inflationary proposals. Rapid economic growth and a decline in labor conflict also marked the presidency.

The 25th United States president, McKinley took office following the 1896 presidential election, in which he defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan. In the campaign, McKinley advocated "sound money", promised that high tariffs would restore prosperity, and denounced Bryan as a radical who promoted class warfare. He defeated Bryan again in the 1900 presidential election, in a campaign focused on imperialism in the Philippines, high tariffs, and free silver. McKinley's presidency marked the beginning of an era in American political history, called the "Fourth Party System" or "Progressive Era," which lasted from the mid–1890s to the early 1930s. On the national level, this period was generally dominated by the Republican Party.

In 1897–98, the most pressing issue was an insurrection in Cuba against repressive Spanish colonial rule which had been worsening for years. Americans sympathized with the rebels and demanded action to resolve the crisis. The administration tried to persuade Spain to liberalize its rule but when negotiations failed, both sides wanted war. American victory in the Spanish–American War was quick and decisive. During the war the United States took temporary possession of Cuba; it was promised independence but it remained under the control of the U.S. Army throughout McKinley's presidency. The status of the Philippines was heavily debated, and became an issue in the 1900 election, with Democrats opposed to American ownership. McKinley decided it needed American protection and it remained under U.S. control until the 1940s. As a result of the war, the United States also took permanent possession of Guam and Puerto Rico. Under Mckinley's leadership, the United States also annexed the independent Republic of Hawaii in 1898. Unlike the other new possessions, citizens of Hawaii became American citizens and Hawaii became a territory with an appointed governor. McKinley's foreign policy created an overseas empire and put the U.S. on the world's list of major powers.

In 1897 the economy rapidly recovered from the severe depression, called the Panic of 1893. McKinley's supporters in 1900 argued that the new high tariff and the commitment to the gold standard were responsible. Historians looking at his domestic and foreign policies typically rank McKinley as an "above average" president. Historian Lewis L. Gould argues that McKinley was "the first modern president":

He was a political leader who confirmed the Republicans as the nation's majority party; he was the architect of important departures in foreign policy; and he was a significant contributor to the evolution of the modern presidency. On these achievements rest his substantial claims as an important figure in history of the United States.

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