Concept

George von Lengerke Meyer

Résumé
George von Lengerke Meyer (June 24, 1858 – March 9, 1918) was a Massachusetts businessman and politician who served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, as United States ambassador to Italy and Russia, as United States Postmaster General from 1907 to 1909 during the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt and United States Secretary of the Navy from 1909 to 1913 during the administration of President William Howard Taft. Meyer was a native of Boston, reared in a patrician society. His paternal grandfather, George Augustus Meyer (also the name of von Lengerke Meyer's father), had emigrated from Germany to New York City. Meyer graduated from Harvard in 1879, and for twenty years was in business as a merchant and trustee. In 1885, he married Marian Alice Appleton. He was a director of various trust companies, banks, manufacturing companies, and public utilities concerns. While managing his business affairs, he also held positions in state and local government, his public service beginning in 1889 with the Boston Common Council. Later he served on the Boston Board of Aldermen. Then he joined the Massachusetts Legislature, where for some time he served as speaker of the house. In 1898 he was appointed by Governor Wolcott as chairman of the Massachusetts Paris Exposition managers. He was a conservative Republican, and in 1899 was appointed a national committeeman. Republican Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt appointed Meyer to ambassadorships in Italy (1900–1905) and Russia (1905–1907). His patrician roots facilitated his interactions with the nobility of Europe, then in control of the continent. Roosevelt often used him to deliver messages to Kaiser Wilhelm II in preference to the official ambassador, Charlemagne Tower. As ambassador to Russia, he presented Roosevelt's proposals with regard to the Russo-Japanese War directly to the Czar. Meyer also served as Roosevelt's Postmaster General, from 1907–1909, where he directed the introduction of the first stamp vending machines of the country and the first coil stamps.
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