Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Garrison, Lindley M. (Lindley Miller), 1864-1932
Lindley M. Garrison Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1850-1971 (mostly 1913-1916)
28 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-28


Lindley M. Garrison (1864-1932) was a lawyer who served as Secretary of War for President Woodrow Wilson from 1913 to 1916. Garrison's papers document his service as Secretary of War and include correspondence, writings, and newspaper clippings.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Garrison's papers document his service as Secretary of War and include correspondence, writings, and newspaper clippings. The correspondence includes letters between Garrison and government officials, legislators and citizens, and includes discussions of military policy and business pleasantries. The majority of the papers document United States military preparation before entering World War I, and also includes materials regarding the Philippines and Mexico. Additionally, the papers include personal papers, largely financial, of Garrison and his family.

Please see the series descriptions in the contents list for additional information about individual series.


The Papers have been arranged in four series:

Collection Creator Biography:

Garrison, Lindley M. (Lindley Miller), 1864-1932

Lindley M. Garrison (1864-1932) was a lawyer who served as Secretary of War for President Woodrow Wilson from 1913 to 1916. As Secretary of War, Garrison was a key figure in developing policies to strengthen the nation's military, and was also involved in issues related to the Philippines and Mexico.

Lindley Miller Garrison was born on November 28, 1864 in Camden, New Jersey, the son of the Reverend Joseph Fithian Garrison and Elizabeth Van Arsdale (Grant) Garrison. His brother, Charles Grant Garrison, was a justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Garrison attended the Protestant Episcopal Academy and Phillips Exeter Academy, both in Philadelphia, and then studied at Harvard University for a year as a special student. In preparation for a legal career, Garrison entered the service of the law firm Redding, Jones & Carson in Philadelphia in 1883. While still at the firm, he became a student at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1886. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar that same year. Garrison married Margaret Hildeburn of Philadelphia on June 30, 1900. She died in December of 1926; they had no children.

Garrison continued working at Redding, Jones & Carson and its successor Jones & Carson until January 1888. He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in June 1888 and began practicing law, without partners, in Camden, New Jersey. Garrison remained in Camden until January 1899, when he founded the firm of Garrison, McManus & Enright in Jersey City, New Jersey, and soon became recognized as a leader of the New Jersey Bar. He left the firm in June 1904 when he was appointed Vice Chancellor of the State, a position that corresponded to that of a supreme court justice, for a seven year term. He was the youngest Vice Chancellor ever to hold the position in New Jersey. When the term expired, he was re-appointed to serve a second term which would end in 1918.

In 1913, Garrison resigned his post as Vice Chancellor to serve as Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President Woodrow Wilson. He assumed the office on March 5, 1913, the day after Wilson's inauguration. He had never served in the military, but his experience as Vice Chancellor prepared him for settling issues regarding United States dependencies, including the Philippine Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Panama Canal Zone, which the Secretary of War controlled. He also had experience involving waterway problems, another aspect of the War Department.

As Secretary of War, Garrison's main task was strengthening the nation's defense at a time when the world was at war. Garrison drafted a plan that included a regular army of 140,000 men, a national guard of 130,000 men, and a reserve ("continental army") of 400,000 men. The continental army would serve for six years, training for two months every year for the first three years. While leading army officials approved the plan, it was opposed by the House Military Affairs Committee, which believed the public would not support it, and instead proposed partially federalizing the National Guard to provide the army reserve. Garrison deemed this plan to be ineffectual, but Wilson would not oppose it. Faced with irreconcilable differences with Wilson on the method for increasing the nation's military strength, as well as objecting to Wilson's plan to set a definite time for granting independence to the Philippines, Garrison resigned on February 11, 1916. In addition to his work on developing the country's military strength, Garrison had also started a system of military training camps for college students, been involved in writing a bill to grant practical autonomy to the Philippines, and sent a large contingent of the army to patrol the Mexican border to protect Americans during a period of Mexican civil war following the assassination of their president, Francisco I. Madero, by conservative general Victoriano Huerta.

Following his resignation, Garrison returned to the practice of law, joining the New York firm of Hornblower, Miller, Potter & Earle, later Hornblower, Miller & Garrison. His most prominent work while with this firm was serving as receiver of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, later reorganized into B.M.T. Garrison was appointed to the position by Federal Judge Julius M. Mayer on December 31, 1918 to restore the company to profitability. His work was complicated by a strike of a portion of the labor force and conflicts with Mayor Hylan, but by 1923, B.R.T. had recovered, with increased traffic and earnings. Judge Mayer ended the receivership on June 14, 1923.

Garrison retired from the law firm on January 1, 1930. Hornblower, Miller & Garrison then joined the firm headed by former Governor Nathan L. Miller (Miller, Otis & Farr), and became Hornblower, Miller, Miller & Boston. Garrison died on October 18, 1932.

Collection History


This collection was donated by Merritt Lane, Jr.


Duplicate materials were separated from this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Adriane Hanson and Grace Loro in 2008. Finding aid written by Adriane Hanson in September 2008.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Lindley M. Garrison Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-28

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Related Materials

The Mudd Manuscript Library holds many collections related to World War I, including the papers of government officials, soldiers, journalists, individuals involved in aid work, peace negotiations and the economic rebuilding of Europe, and collected materials related to the war. Researchers wishing to access these collections should search for the subject "World War, 1914-1918" or related terms in the Princeton University Library Finding Aids website. Collections at the Mudd Manuscript Library of particular relevance to the Lindley M. Garrison Papers include the Papers of the Woodrow Wilson Project Records and other collections on Wilson, the papers of Secretary of State Robert Lansing, and the papers of Chairman of the Commission on Training Camp Activities Raymond Blaine Fosdick.

Another collection of Garrison's papers, also related to his service as Secretary of War, is located at the New Jersey Historical Society.


The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note: Biographical Directory of the United States Executive Branch, 1774-1989, Robert Sobel, editor-in-chief. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990. "Lindley M. Garrison Dies in 68th Year." The New York Times, October 20, 1932. Requests for Biographical Information about Garrison; 1913-1914; Lindley M. Garrison Papers, Box 7 Folder 14; Public Policy Papers, Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

Subject Terms:
Cabinet officers -- United States.
Military education.
Military policy.
Military readiness.
National security -- United States.
World War, 1914-1918 -- United States.
Genre Terms:
United States. War Department
Garrison, Lindley M. (Lindley Miller), 1864-1932
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.
United States -- Armed forces -- Management.
United States -- Defenses -- Law and legislation.
United States -- Foreign relations.