Saturday, June 30, 2007

New's York First Catholic Governor

A reader sent along this link to an article in last week's Evangelist about New York's first Catholic Governor:
In 1994, Dominick Lizzi wrote "Governor Martin H. Glynn: Forgotten Hero," a biography of New York State's first Catholic governor.

Thirteen years later, he has updated the book because "I don't want people to forget who he was and the great contributions this great man made to the state."

Mr. Lizzi, a member of St. John the Baptist parish in Valatie, is a retired social studies teacher and historian/archivist for the Town of Valatie. The new edition of the biography was sponsored by a government grant obtained by the Capital District Celtic Cultural Association.
. . .
Gov. Glynn himself is nearly invisible to New Yorkers due to his short term in office (he completed the term of another governor who had been impeached and removed from office) and his suicide in 1924.

In the prologue to the second edition of his book, Mr. Lizzi writes, "This forgotten governor was a man of dreams, a poor man who became rich, and a man of small stature that became a giant -- one who worked with Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan and William R. Hearst. He was among the powerbrokers of the Albany and Tammany [political] machines and he lit the sky of American Progressive politics."

As governor, Glynn was responsible for workers' compensation legislation in New York as well as laws that established length-of-workday rules and limited child labor.

As a result of Glynn's suicide, Mr. Lizzi said that his name was not spoken by the Irish Catholic community from which he came.

"To these people, his suicide was a disgrace," the author explained. "His name drifted into anonymity. They couldn't say bad things about him because he was a good man and he accomplished a lot in his lifetime. They simply stopped talking about him at all.

"He made so many changes that benefitted generations of New Yorkers. Growing up in the mill town of Valatie, he saw the direct result of suffering, poor wages, child labor and abuse. The unfortunate circumstances of his death caused him to be forgotten for too long. I hope to change that."

Albany Catholic wants to thank Pat Pasternak for writing this intersting article.