Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

William Gibbs Peckham

New York

"William G. Peckham . . . was born at Newport, R.I., on February 7, 1849 . . . . He was educated in Harvard College, from which institution he was graduated, in the class of 1867, at the age of eighteen. . . . He was first editor of the Harvard 'Collegian,' and its successor, the Harvard 'Advocate' . . . . He was actively interested and largely instrumental in effecting elective instead of compulsory attendance at chapel. Mr. Peckham further pursued his studies in the Heidelberg University, Germany, and in 1868 and 1869 was awarded specialists' certificates.

His legal training was gained in the law offices of William M. Evarts and Joseph H. Choate, and in the Law School of the University of New York from which he received his Bachelor of Law degree in 1870. He immediately began the practice of his profession . . . .

As counsel for the Northampton Bank, which was looted of $2,000,000, Mr. Peckham brought suit against various stockbrokers and others who had received some of the stolen securities, and also defended suits brought against the bank in the same matter. Many of the suits were carried to the court of appeals in Albany, and the supreme Court, Washington, and he was invariably successful.

Mr. Peckham's attention has been devoted to a general civil practice, and he has made a specialty of that department of the profession designated as corporation law. In this connection he has figured as leading counsel in most of the suits against the New York Elevated Railroad, and his numerous legal victories indicated that railroad litigation is his forte. He recently signed the papers for the settlement of the case of the American Bank-Note Company against the Elevated Roads, at a figure which makes $135,000 case for the total recovery on the one building, much the largest recovery in any Elevated cases. He was counsel for Rutherford Stuyvesant against the Elevated Roads. Mr. Stuyvesant inherited the property of Governor Stuyvesant, the first Dutch governor of New York, and owns fifty-seven houses along the elevated roads, all of which were tried in one case.

Mr. Peckham possess versatile intellectual attainments, and enjoys an enviable reputation in the literary world, where he is known as the author of several volumes of poems. He has also been prominently identified with political reforms, being for six years a colleague of the late George W. Curtis and Carl Schurz on the committee that managed the independent part of the Cleveland campaign of 1994, and was chairman of the New Jersey Mugwumps in the same year." [William G. Peckham, 10 Banking L.J. 175-176 (1894)] [A search of the OCLC database reveals, unfortunately, no "volumes of poems."]


William Gibbs Peckham & Wallace Stevens, Verses from the Harvard Advocate. Third series, 1886-1906 (Cambridge: The Harvard Advocate, 1906)(contains five poems by Wallace Stevens: "Song", p. 74; "Song", p. 74; "Street Songs", p. 116; "Outside the hospital", p. 118; "Sonnet", p. 160) [We have not, to date, examined the volume to see whether any of Mr. Peckham's poetry might appear in the volume along with the poems of Wallace Stevens.]

William Gibbs Peckham, Children and Classmates ([New York], 1915)(reprints of articles by Peckham, from the Harvard Graduates' Magazine, International Studio, The Green Bag, New York Evening Post, Harvard Advocate, Forest and Stream, and other periodicals)

__________________, Selections from the Harvard Advocate, 1906-1916 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: University Press, 1916)