Theodore Sedgwick (writer)

Theodore Sedgwick III (1811–59) was an American law writer.

He was born at Albany, New York and graduated from Columbia College in 1829. In 1858, he became United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He was the son of Theodore Sedgwick II (1780–1839) and Susan Anne Ridley Sedgwick (1788–1867), a writer, and grandson of Theodore Sedgwick (1746–1813). His grandfather was a Delegate to the Continental Congress, a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, the fifth Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.[1]

He graduated at Columbia college, New York, in 1829, and was admitted to the bar in May, 1833. The next 15 months he passed in Europe, chiefly at Paris, where he was attached to the legation of Edward Livingston. Theodore married Sarah Morgan Ashburner of Stockbridge on 28 September 1835, and they had seven children, three of whom died in infancy.[2] On his return home he joined his uncle Robert Sedgwick's practice in May 1835 in New York and taking over the law office when Robert was debilitated by a stroke in 1838, which he prosecuted with great industry and success till about 1850.[3]

Ill health forced Theodore Sedgwick III himself to retire from law in 1850, and he spent the next several years travelling to Italy, Switzerland, France, and England.

In 1852, he became president of the Crystal Palace Association, organizing the construction of the building for the New York World's Fair.[4]

Theodore declined President James Buchanan's offer to become minister to the Netherlands and assistant secretary of state in 1857, and in 1858, he became the U.S. district attorney of the southern district of New York.

His writings include his edition of the political writings of William Leggett (two volumes, 1840); Treatise on the Measure of Damages (1847; eighth edition, 1891); Treatise on the Rules which Govern the Interpretation and Application of Statutory and Constitutional Law (1857; second edition, 1874); and Thoughts on the Proposed Annexation of Texas (1844, originally published 1843 as letters to the New York Evening Post), which declared the annexation of Texas unconstitutional.


  1. Brown (ed.), John Howard (1903). Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States. Boston: Federal Book Company of Boston.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. Sedgwick Family Papers 1717-1946 - The Massachusetts Historical Society
  3. "The Law Office of Robert and Theodore Sedgwick III, Esqs. New York. Records, 1723-1890: Finding Aid". Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  4. "The New York Crystal Palace Essay -- Architecture History". Retrieved 2018-03-15.

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. Missing or empty |title= (help)

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