Papers of Levi Woodbury, 1811 - 1851Manuscript MS-986


Levi Woodbury was born in Francestown, N.H., on December 22, 1789. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1809, and went on to briefly attend law school in Litchfield, Conn. He was admitted to the bar in 1812, and practiced law in Francestown from 1813 to 1816. From 1816 to 1823, he served as a judge on the Superior Court of New Hampshire. From 1823 to 1824 he served as New Hampshire's fifteenth governor and in 1825, he served as Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. A Jacksonian Democrat, Woodbury served in the U.S. Senate from 1825 to 1831, when he was named Secretary of the Navy in Jackson's cabinet. In 1834, Jackson appointed him Secretary of the Treasury, a position he held until 1841. In 1841, he was again elected to the U.S. Senate by New Hampshire and served until 1845, when he resigned. That year, he was appointed Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by James K. Polk, whose presidential bid he had supported. He was the first U.S. Supreme Court justice to have attended law school, and he served on the court until his death on September 4, 1851.

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