Nicholas Murray Butler Biography

(Philosopher, Educator)

Birthday: April 2, 1862 (Aries)

Born In: Elizabeth

Nicholas Murray Butler was an American philosopher, diplomat, educator and a global peace activist. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his promotion of the Briand-Kellogg pact. Butler was an outstanding student from an early age and by the time he was 22 years old, he had obtained his doctorate. He started off as a staff member of the philosophy department at Columbia College and after serving the University for more than a decade and half, he became its president. Butler remained as the president of Columbia University for 43 years and remains the longest serving president of the university. Additionally, he is regarded as its most influential president due to the developments that took place in the university during his tenure. He opened up new buildings, new departments and transformed the university into one of the finest educational institutions in the world. Butler was also an important member of the Republican Convention and was a part of it for close to five decades. His most remarkable work was the setting up of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which he headed for 20 years.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Nicholas Butler

Died At Age: 85

Nobel Peace Prize Educators

Died on: December 7, 1947

place of death: New York City

City: Elizabeth, New Jersey

U.S. State: New Jersey

More Facts

education: 1882 - Columbia College of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1883 - Columbia College of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1884 - Columbia College of Columbia University in the City of New York

awards: Nobel Peace Prize

Childhood & Early Life
Nicholas Murray Butler was born on April 2, 1862, in the city of Elizabeth in New Jersey, to Henry Butler and his wife Mary Butler. His father used to work in a manufacturing factory and his mother, who was the daughter of a clergyman, looked after the family.
There is no information available on the schools that Nicholas Murray Butler attended when he was a child, but according to most accountS he was a brilliant student who stood out due to his excellent grades throughout his school days.
After finishing school, Nicholas Murray Butler went to Columbia University, then known as Columbia College and graduated with a bachelors’ degree, in 1882. In 1883, he completed his master’s and in 1884, he attained his doctorate. He did his master’s and doctorate also from the Columbia College. Butler’s prodigious record as a student saw Theodore Roosevelt calling him ‘Nicholas Miraculous’.
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After spending some time in Paris and Berlin in 1885 to further enhance his educational qualifications, Nicholas Murray Butler joined the philosophy department of Columbia College as one of its most promising members. He would go on to serve the university with distinction for six decades.
In spite of his excellence as a student, it was as an educator that Nicholas Murray Butler made his mark at Columbia College. In 1887, he was one of the co-founders of the New York School for the Training of Teachers that later became known as the Teachers College, affiliated to Columbia University.
In 1890, he became a lecturer at John Hopkins University but only stayed there for a year and in the next decade he worked as a member of the New Jersey Board of Education.
In 1901, Nicholas Murray Burton became the interim president of Columbia University and, in 1902, he became the president of the institution. He went on to serve as the president of the University for 43 years and became its longest serving president in history. During his tenure, the university was expanded to include plenty of new departments and buildings that firmly established it as one of the finest universities in the world.
Nicholas Murray Butler was a fixture at the Republican National Convention for 49 years starting from 1888 and was an influential member.
In 1916, Butler campaigned for his friend Elihu Root, who was seeking the Republican presidential nomination but it proved to be unsuccessful. In 1920 and 1928, he tried to secure the nomination for himself but was unsuccessful in both his attempts.
Butler was also instrumental in working towards uniting the world of academia and politics in his quest to achieve global peace. Other than being the chairperson of the Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration, Butler was also responsible for bringing in the $10 million funding from Andrew Carnegie for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He headed the Endowment for two decades starting in 1925.
Major Works
Nicholas Murray Butler is fondly remembered for his 43 year tenure as the President of Columbia University during which he transformed the institution
He did stellar work for international peace and was instrumental in the establishment of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which he headed for 20 years.
Awards & Achievements
Nicholas Murray Butler won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 along with Jane Addams for his promotion of the Briand-Kellogg pact and his contribution as the leader of the more establishment-oriented part of the American peace movement.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1887, Nicholas Murray Butler got married to Susanna Edwards Schuyler and had one daughter from the marriage. Susanna died in 1903.
Butler married Kate La Montagne, in 1907. He had no children from his second marriage.
Nicholas Murray Butler died on December 7, 1947, in New York, at the age of 85.
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