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Benjamin B. Odell Letters

An inventory of his letters at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Sep 1987

Biographical History

Benjamin Barker Odell was an American politician who served as the Governor of New York from 1901 to 1904.

Odell was born on January 14, 1854 in Newburgh, New York to Benjamin Barker Odell, Sr. and Ophelia (Bookstaver) Odell. He attended Bethany College in West Virginia before transferring to Columbia College. After his junior year at Columbia, Odell returned home to join his father's ice business. Odell started as a driver of the ice wagon, but eventually became the head of the company. In 1877, he married Estell Cristee who tragically died in 1888 when she drowned in the Hudson River.

Around 1884, Odell was selected as a member of the Republican State Committee and in 1895 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Serving two terms, Odell acted as chairman of the Committee on Accounts during his second term. In 1891, he was remarried to Linda Traphagen, the widowed sister of his first wife. Most markedly, Odell served as Governor of the New York from 1901-1904.

Throughout his lifetime, Odell also held positions as the Ice Controller of the State during World War I, President of the Consolidated Gas, Electric Light, Heat, and Power Company of Newburgh, and President of the Hudson Steamboat Company. He died on May 9, 1926 in Newburgh, New York.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Benjamin B. Odell Letters consist of nine items written between 1901 and 1922.

Two of the incoming letters (A. G. Mills, Henry Codman Potter) protest the selection of Ray Brook (near Lake Placid) as the proposed site of the State Hospital for consumptives. An outgoing letter refers another item on the same subject to Timothy L. Woodruff's attention.

Four of the letters offer recommendations to the then Governor for appointments to State agencies. Letters from Wilson S. Bissell and John Griffith McCullough recommend the reappointment of Ashley W. Cole to the State Board of Railroad Commissioners. An item from Nathan L. Miller suggests the appointment of William Crane of Homer for the Board of Visitors to the Binghamton State Hospital.

A letter from Horatio Collins King requests a meeting on behalf of Judge Michael H. Hirschberg.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains one series, Correspondence, which is arranged alphabetically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has several collections that contain correspondence to and from Benjamin B. Odell. The Chauncey M. Depew Letters contain one piece of correspondence to Odell, while the Elihu Root Correspondence contains one piece of correspondence from Odell. The Horace White Papers contain correspondence both to and from Odell. Please contact the Repository listed above for more information on these materials.

Subject Headings


King, Horatio C. (Horatio Collins), 1837-1918.
McCook, Anson G. (Anson George), 1835-1917.
McCullough, J. G. (John Griffith), 1835-1915.
Miller, Nathan L., 1868-1953.
Odell, Benjamin B. (Benjamin Barker), 1854-1926.
Potter, Henry Codman, 1834-1908.


Governors -- New York (State)
Tuberculosis -- Hospitals -- New York (State)
Tuberculosis -- Hospitals -- Public opinion.


New York (State) -- Officials and employees -- Selection and appointment.
New York (State) -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Benjamin B. Odell Letters
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

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