James P. Goodrich

James Putnam Goodrich, (February 18, 1864 - August 15, 1940), a Republican, was Governor of Indiana from 1917 to 1921.


Born and raised in Winchester, Indiana, Goodrich attended public schools and DePauw University, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. Admitted to the bar in 1887, Goodrich practiced law in Winchester and quickly gained prominence in Republican politics, serving as state chairman from 1901 to 1910 and national committeeman from 1912 to 1916. In 1910, he moved his law practice to Indianapolis. His investments in farms, grain elevators, coal mines and banks made him wealthy.


Nominated for governor over two opponents in the 1916 primary (including Warren T. McCray, who was elected governor four years later), he defeated Democrat John A. M. Adair in the November election.

Goodrich's achievements as governor included adoption of property tax assessment at full cash value, increased powers for the state board of tax commissioners, creation of a state highway commission, creation of a department of conservation on the heels of the development of state parks (at the behest of his close friend Richard Lieber), a prohibition law and provision for the Indiana World War Memorial. He called a one-day session of the legislature on January 16, 1920, to ratify the Women's Suffrage Amendment to the United States Constitution and another special session six months later to deal with a state financial crisis.

In 1920, Goodrich was Indiana's favorite son candidate for the Republican nomination for president, losing to Senator Warren G. Harding. As president, Harding appointed Goodrich to the Russian Relief Commission. Goodrich made four trips to Russia, then governed by the Bolshevik regime of Vladimir Lenin, and gained a reputation as one of America's best-informed observers of conditions there. Goodrich also served in Herbert Hoover's American Relief Administration and on the St. Lawrence Waterway Commission. He remained active in Republican Party politics and made large donations from his personal fortune to Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he served on the board of trustees.

He died in 1940 at the Randolph County Hospital in Winchester, Indiana, and he is buried in Fountain Park Cemetery in Winchester. Goodrich Hall at Wabash College is named for him.


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