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Mac Chesney, Nathan William (1878-1954) | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Name: Mac Chesney, Nathan William (1878-1954)


Historical Note:

Nathan William Mac Chesney, 1878-1954, was born in Chicago, June 2, 1878, and graduated from California Wesleyan College (University of the Pacific in 2012) in 1898, before participating in the Spanish-American War.  He Aslo attended Stanford University (special student, 1896-99) and then Northwestern University Law School (1899-1900), before receiving his L.L.B. degree from the University of Michigan in 1902.  He married Lena Frost December 1, 1904, and had two sons, Brunson III and Gordon.  He formed the Mac Chesney and Becker law firm, where in 1950 he was listed as senior partner in the 1950 Who's Who in Chicago and Illinois--though his son Brunson, writing in 1960, states that his father gave up his practice in 1947, when he became a full-time judge.

Mac Chesney  had a long, varied and distinguished career--as a real estate attorney and later as heir to his father's real estate, in the military becoming a General in World War I and also in World War II, as a political activist, as a judge, and as a prominent cultural leader--heading up Illinois' Lincoln birth centennial in 1909.

A progressive Republican, in the Theodore Roosevelt and Reform Era vein, he backed General Wood for the presidency in 1920 and, having known and worked with Herbert Hoover, he led Hoover's well-organized and successful 1928 presidential campaign in the West and again led the Hoover-Curtis Organization Bureau in 1932, with less resources and less success.  This was his last campaign.  He broke ranks with Republicans in 1936, when they took a position against Social Security, after older workers had lost their savings in the Depression after the 1929 crash.

General Mac Chesney, as he was known after World War I, by the 1940s was a part-time bankruptcy judge while also maintaining his practice, and then a full time judge for a term of six years, 1947-53.  He died in 1954 at the age of 76.

Sources:

MacChesney, Brunson, General Nathan William Mac Chesney (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1960).

"MacChesney, Nathan William," Who's Who in Chicago and Illinois, 9th ed. (1950), pp. 371-72.

Sources:

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<p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.8em; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; "> MacChesney, Brunson, <em style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">General Nathan William Mac Chesney</em> (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1960).

<p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.8em; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; "> "MacChesney, Nathan William," <em style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">Who's Who in Chicago and Illinois</em>, 9th ed. (1950), pp. 371-72.

Note Author: Arthur H. Miller, Archivist, Lake Forest College library, amiller@lakeforest.edu





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