James Graham Phelps Stokes

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"Graham" Phelps Stokes

James Graham Phelps Stokes (March 18, 1872 - April 9, 1960) was a wealthy aristocrat who advocated socialism,[1] widely known as the "millionaire socialist".[2]

Early life

He was born in New York, on March 18, 1872, the son of Anson Phelps Stokes and Helen Louisa Phelps. His father was one of the most prominent bankers of this city. He was educated at the Berkeley School, New York, and while there was president of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of New York. In 1889 he entered the Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University, where he was an editor of the "Yale Record," vice-president of the College Young Men's Christian Association, director of the Cooperative Association, and a member of the Delta Psi Fraternity. He was graduated in 1892, with the degree of Ph. B., and spent the next year in traveling around the world.

In the fall of 1893 he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and was graduated in 1896, with the degree of M. D. He served for some time as assistant ambulance surgeon at Roosevelt Hospital. He did not take up regular medical practice, however, but used his education as an instrument in sociological work. In 1896 he became a resident at the University Settlement, and a sanitary inspector for the then East Side Sanitary Union. He spent the college year of 1896-97 studying sociology, pauperism, and penology at Columbia University.

Non-profit Work

For some years he has been a member of the executive committee of the Armstrong Association, a trustee of the Tuskegee Institute, a manager of the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, chairman of Hartley House, a director of the Institution for Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, chairman of the People's Institute, a member of the executive committee of the Federation of Churches and Christian Workers, a member of the council of the University Settlement Society, a director of the Legal Aid Society, a trustee of the City Club, and also director of the Prison Association.[3]


Through his work and interviews with the press, he met Rose Harriet Pastor,[4] their marriage was announced on April 6, 1905.[5]

Rose Pastor Stokes would go on to be a controversial member of the Communist Party.[6]

Socialist Activities

Graham Phelps Stokes was a founding member of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society.[7]

Political aspirations

When William Randolph Hearst ran for Mayor of New York City in 1905 on the ticket for the Municipal Ownership League, Stokes was one of two running mates.[8][9]


Stokes passed away in his native New York City on April 9, 1960, at the age of 88.[10]