John W. Garrett (diplomat)

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John W. Garrett
John Work Garrett.jpg
United States Ambassador to Italy
In office
November 20, 1929 – May 22, 1933
PresidentHerbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byHenry P. Fletcher
Succeeded byBreckinridge Long
United States Ambassador to Luxembourg
In office
November 11, 1917 – June 18, 1919
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
Preceded byHenry van Dyke
Succeeded byWilliam Phillips
United States Ambassador to the Netherlands
In office
October 11, 1917 – June 18, 1919
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
Preceded byHenry van Dyke
Succeeded byWilliam Phillips
United States Ambassador to Argentina
In office
February 29, 1912 – November 22, 1913
PresidentWilliam Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Preceded byJohn Ridgely Carter
Succeeded byFrederic Jesup Stimson
United States Ambassador to Venezuela
In office
March 30, 1911 – October 21, 1911
PresidentWilliam Howard Taft
Preceded byWilliam W. Russell
Succeeded byElliott Northcott
Personal details
John Work Garrett

May 19, 1872 (1872-05-19)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
DiedJune 26, 1942 (1942-06-27) (aged 70)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocrat
Alice Warder
(m. 1908; his death 1942)
RelationsJohn W. Garrett (grandfather)
ParentsThomas Harrison Garrett
Alice Dickerson Whitridge
Alma materPrinceton University

John Work Garrett (May 19, 1872 – June 26, 1942) was an American diplomat. His postings included Minister to Venezuela, Argentina, and the Netherlands, and Ambassador to Italy.[1]

Early life[edit]

Garrett was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 19, 1872. He was the son of Alice Dickerson (née Whitridge) Garrett (1851–1920) and Thomas Harrison Garrett (1849–1888), who operated the family's bank in Baltimore.[1] He was also the grandson of John W. Garrett, a banker and the president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and nephew of Robert Garrett, who also served as President of the B&O.[2]

Garrett graduated from Princeton University, with a B.S. degree, in 1895 and began a career at the bank owned by his family.[3] He later received an honorary LL.D. from St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland.[1]


In 1901, Garrett embarked on a diplomatic career with appointment as Secretary of the United States legation at The Hague. In 1905, he transferred to a similar position in Berlin, and in 1908 another transfer brought him to Rome.[4][5]

Garrett was appointed Minister to Venezuela in 1910 and served until 1911, when he was appointed as Minister to Argentina.[6]

In 1914, Garrett left Argentina when he was appointed as a special assistant to the Ambassador to France. He served in this post until 1917. As an American diplomat in Europe during World War I, Garrett took part in commissions and conferences on the handling of prisoners of war and other war-related issues.[7]

From 1917 to 1919, Garrett served as Minister to the Netherlands and Luxembourg.[8]

Originally a Democrat, Garrett later became a Republican and served as a Delegate to the 1920 Republican National Convention.[9] In 1922 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator, losing to incumbent Joseph I. France.[10][11][12] (France went on to lose the general election to William Cabell Bruce).[13][14] In 1924, he was again a Delegate to the Republican National Convention.[15]

Garrett served as Ambassador to Italy from 1929 to 1933.[16][17][18]

Later life[edit]

Garrett's home in Baltimore, Evergreen, circa 2011.

In retirement, Garrett resided at Evergreen, the Garrett family mansion which is now a museum and library of the Johns Hopkins University. Garrett and his wife, Alice Warder Garrett, entertained and patronized artists, filling the house with Tiffany lamps, paintings by Zuloaga, Pablo Picasso, Raoul Dufy, Degas and Amedeo Modigliani and a custom-designed stage by Leon Bakst.

Personal life[edit]

On December 24, 1908, Garrett was married to Alice Warder (1877–1952),[19] who shared his love of the arts and travel.[20]

Garrett died in Baltimore on June 26, 1942, and is buried in Baltimore's Green Mount Cemetery.[21]


Garrett and several of his family members were well known collectors of rare books and manuscripts, coins and other items. He donated his papers and much of his library to Johns Hopkins University, and many of his other items are still bought and sold by collectors.[22][23][24][25]


  1. ^ a b c "JOHN W. GARRETT, NOTED DIPLOMAT; Former U. S. Ambassador to Rome Dies at the Age of 70 in His Baltimore Home IN PARIS DURING LAST WAR Helped American Refugees in Switzerland--Belonged to Family of Financiers". The New York Times. 27 June 1942. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. ^ Lewis Historical Publishing Co, Baltimore: Biography, 1912, pages 465 to 466
  3. ^ John William Leonard, Who's Who in Finance and Banking, 1922, page 260
  4. ^ United States Dept of State (1919). Register of the Department of State. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 112. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  5. ^ Baltimore Sun, John W. Garrett Promoted: Baltimorean Now First Secretary Of Embassy In Rome, June 16, 1908
  6. ^ Shavit, David (1992). The United States in Latin America: a historical dictionary. Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313275951. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  7. ^ Baltimore Sun, John W. Garrett to Head U.S. Commission, August 10, 1918
  8. ^ The Encyclopedia Americana: The International Reference Work. Vol. 12. Americana Corporation. 1958. p. 297. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  9. ^ Baltimore Sun, Maryland Men are Jolted by League Plank, June 11, 1920
  10. ^ "Maryland Primary". Lawrence Journal-World. September 11, 1922. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  11. ^ "MARYLAND SELECTS TODAY.; Contests for Senator France's Seat Feature Both Party Primaries". The New York Times. 11 September 1922. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  12. ^ St. Petersburg Evening Independent, Lodge Seat is in Jeopardy, September 11, 1922
  13. ^ "EX-SENATOR FRANCE OF MARYLAND DEAD; Candidate in 1920 and 1932 for Republican Nomination to the Presidency HAD PRACTICED MEDICINE Opposed League of Nations-- One of the First Advocates of Soviet Recognition Urged Soviet Recognition Served in State Senate Married Russian Emigre". The New York Times. January 27, 1939. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  14. ^ "EX-SENATOR BRUCE, AUTHOR, DIES AT 86; Winner of Pulitzer Prize for Franklin Biography Served Maryland in Upper House A Foe of Prohibition Defeated Wilson in Contest Opposed Party's Measures Fought Ku Klux Klan". The New York Times. 10 May 1946. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  15. ^ "GARRETT SELECTED FOR POST IN ROME; Baltimore Banker Who Will Succeed Fletcher Returns to Diplomatic Career. MOORE WILL RESIGN IN PERU Ambassador Tells Hoover That He Will Retire--Ex-Gov. Baxter of Maine Considered as Envoy. Baxter Is White House Guest. Rome Welcomes Appointment". The New York Times. 1 August 1929. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  16. ^ Christian Science Monitor, Baltimore Banker Named as Hoover Choice for Ambassador to Italy, July 31, 1929
  17. ^ Hartford Courant, John W. Garrett Named New Ambassador to Italy, August 6, 1929
  18. ^ New York Times, J.W. Garrett Returns From Italy, June 16, 1933
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ "MISS ALICE WARDER WEDS J.W. GARRETT; Becomes the Bride of the Secretary of the American Embassy at Rome. AT HER WASHINGTON HOME Mrs. Garrett Is a Member of the Colony Club of New York, and a Sister to Mrs. Ralph Ellis". The New York Times. 25 December 1908. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  21. ^ Chicago Daily Tribune, John W. Garrett, Former Envoy to Italy, Dies, June 27, 1942
  22. ^ Baltimore Sun, Early Maryland Books On Exhibit, February 21, 1949
  23. ^ New York Times, 1787 Doubloon Sold for $625,000, March 28, 1981
  24. ^ Baltimore Sun, Remnants of Top Coin Collection Still Being Sold, June 17, 1984
  25. ^ "JOHNS HOPKINS GETS J.W. GARRETT LIBRARY; Princeton Also Has Bequests in Will of Ex-Ambassador". The New York Times. 6 July 1942. Retrieved 9 May 2018.

External resources[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William W. Russell
U.S. Minister to Venezuela
Succeeded by
Elliott Northcott
Preceded by
John Ridgely Carter
U.S. Minister to Argentina
Succeeded by
Frederic Jesup Stimson
Preceded by
Henry van Dyke
U.S. Minister to the Netherlands
Succeeded by
William Phillips
Preceded by
Henry van Dyke
U.S. Minister to Luxembourg
Succeeded by
William Phillips
Preceded by
Henry P. Fletcher
United States Ambassador to Italy
Succeeded by
Breckinridge Long