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Jonathan Brewster Bingham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jonathan Brewster Bingham
Jonathan Brewster Bingham.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1983
Preceded byCharles A. Buckley
Succeeded byBenjamin A. Gilman
Constituency23rd district (1965–73)
22nd district (1973–83)
Personal details
Born(1914-04-24)April 24, 1914
New Haven, Connecticut
DiedJuly 3, 1986(1986-07-03) (aged 72)
New York City
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)June Rossbach Bingham
Alma materYale University
Yale Law School
AwardsWar Department citation
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army

Jonathan Brewster Bingham (April 24, 1914 – July 3, 1986) was an American politician and diplomat. He was the US delegate to the United Nations General Assembly and was elected to Congress from The Bronx, serving in the  House of Representatives from 1965 to 1983.

Early life

Bingham was born in New Haven, Connecticut. His father, Hiram Bingham III, was a Senator and explorer and his great grandfather, Hiram Bingham I, was a missionary, who helped translate the Bible into Hawaiian.

Bingham attended Hamden Hall Country Day School and Groton School and graduated from Yale University in 1936 with a BA and from Yale Law School in 1939 with a law degree. He was a member of Skull and Bones, class of 1936.[1] In 1940 he was admitted to the bar, and began the practice of law in New York City. His practice was interrupted in August 1941, when he joined the Machinery Branch of the newly created Office of Price Administration (OPA) as a legal advisor. He was not at the OPA for long, for in 1942 he joined the Military Intelligence Service. In April of the following year he was enlisted as a private in the United States Army and was discharged a captain in October 1945 with a War Department citation.[2]


On his return he was appointed chief of the newly created Alien Enemy Control Section of the State Department. The Alien Enemy Control Section was unpopular and short-lived. Bingham got off the boat before it sank, resuming the practice of law in New York City in 1946.

He left the practice of law again in 1951 to become assistant director of the Office of International Security Affairs. Bingham left in the same year to become deputy administrator of the Technical Cooperation Administration, implementing the Point 4 Program of technical assistance to developing countries. His book, Shirt-Sleeve Diplomacy: Point 4 in Action, was published in 1953. He left the administration in that year and resumed the practice of law. In 1955 he became secretary to fellow Bonesman, W. Averell Harriman, while he was Governor of New York. When Harriman was defeated in the 1958 election by Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, Bingham joined the law firm Goldwater & Flynn.

In 1961 Bingham entered the world of diplomacy, as a United States representative on the United Nations Trusteeship Council with rank of Minister in 1961 and 1962, serving as President in 1962. During this period he was also principal adviser to the U.S. ambassador to U.N. on colonial and trusteeship questions. From 1963 to 1964 he was a United States representative on the United Nations Economic and Social Council with rank of Ambassador. He was also alternate representative to the 15th and 18th United Nations General Assemblies.


In 1964 he was elected to the House of Representatives from the 23rd District of New York, a district in the Bronx, at a time when elections in the Bronx were decided in the Democratic primaries in contests between "regular" or machine Democrats, and "reform" or challenger Democrats. Bingham defeated Charles Buckley, the leader of the Bronx "regular" Democrats and a powerful, senior committee chairman in Congress, in a rematch following Bingham's defeat in his first try against the incumbent Buckley in the 1962 Democratic primary.[citation needed]

Bingham represented the 23rd District from January 3, 1965 until January 3, 1973, when, as a result of redistricting following the 1970 census, he was elected to the House from the 22nd District of New York following a bruising primary with neighboring Democratic incumbent congressman James H. Scheuer. He served the 22nd District from January 3, 1973 until January 3, 1983,[3] but did not pursue reelection when, in 1982, his district essentially disappeared as a result of another post-census redistricting. In the House, Bingham served on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee and chaired the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade. He was particularly dedicated to nuclear non-proliferation and environmental protection. Bingham was instrumental in supporting aid to Romania following the Vrancea earthquake in March 1977, sponsoring a bill to provide $20 million in assistance to the country.[citation needed]


He was married to June Rossbach[4] (June 20, 1919 – August 21, 2007), an author, playwright,[5] and member of the Lehman family (her great-grandfather was Mayer Lehman, one of the founders of the Lehman Brothers firm).[6] They had four children: Sherrell Bingham Downes; Timothy Woodbridge Bingham; Claudia Bingham Meyers; and June Mitchell (Micki) Esselstyn (d. 1999).[7]

After Jonathan Bingham's death, Mrs. Bingham married Robert Birge and was then known as June Bingham Birge.[8]


Bingham died from complications of pneumonia, aged 72, at the Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan on July 3, 1986. He was interred in Woodbridge Cemetery, in Salem, New London, Connecticut.[9]


  1. ^ Alexandra Robbins, Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power, Little, Brown and Company, 2002, p. 165
  2. ^ "Jonathan Brewster Bingham". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Jonathan Brewster Bingham". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Jonathan Brewster Bingham". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  5. ^ "June Bingham Birge, Who Wrote Books and Plays, Dies at 88", The New York Times, August 29, 2007. Accessed May 4, 2008. "June Bingham Birge, the author of books and plays, died August 21 at her home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. She was 88."
  6. ^ Lehman College: "June Bingham Birge, 1919 - 2007" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine August 27, 2007
  7. ^ Gainesville Sun: "Local reverend dies of cancer" By GARY KIRKLAND October 28, 1999
  8. ^ New York Times: "June Bingham Marries Robert B. Birge" March 29, 1987
  9. ^ Find-A-Grave

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles A. Buckley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 23rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Peter A. Peyser
Preceded by
Herman Badillo
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 22nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Benjamin A. Gilman
This page was last edited on 18 January 2021, at 18:06
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