John Seaman Bainbridge


Memories by his mother, June Wheeler Bainbridge
November 1, 1915: At 10 in the evening our second little son arrived, well and strong and weighing 8 lbs.
November 19, 1915: We have decided to name baby John Seaman. His hair is red and his eyes are blue and he’s plump and adorable.
January 19, 1916: John gave Billy the jolliest, sweetest smile today, as if he recognized his brother, and Billy patted and kissed him.
September 29, 1916: John creeps with most amusing energy and rapidity.
June 20, 1917: Took John to Best's for shoes - his first visit to a shop and he wept in the elevator!
November 1, 1918: John's 3rd birthday finds him a remarkably sturdy little fellow weighing about 44 pounds. We celebrated, had supper tonight. Had a cake with candles and a merry time.
Little John, five years old and just home from school, comes flying down our long narrow hall on his velocipede with one hand uplifted. "I'm a knight, Mother," he calls, "and this is a banner I'm carrying. This world is wicked and bad and I'm going to help somebody."
"I want to go to Heaven," says John one day. "What for?" we ask anxiously. "I want to see Washington and Lincoln so badly."
At five and a half John announced - "My two best friends are God and Uncle Sam."
November 1, 1923: John at eight is dearer than ever before. This was the afternoon for them to go to the swimming-pool and for the first time they came home alone on the trolley!
March 14, 1932: John watched his Dad operate this morning and is intensely interested.
June 19, 1933: John went off with three other boys in Alan Ford’s roadster, early this A.M., bound for Washington and eventually the Chicago fair!
July 1, 1933: John arrived this afternoon ahead of schedule, sun-burned and very happy, traveled over 2000 miles, saw the "Century of Progress" fair at Chicago and had interesting experiences. He read poetry aloud to me this evening.
June 25, 1934: A beautiful day for John’s graduation, and we are proud of his diploma from Hotchkiss.
September 4, 1937: John got several medals swimming at Candlewood today.
November 5, 1937: John arrived to be Bill's best man.
June 22, 1938: John is Class Poet and we were very proud of him when he read his poem. Festivities all day. Very happy.

April 1919
Harvard Class Poem, 1938

Gold from the rock heard its challenge,
Till out beyond the world’s rim
In the blackness and void there was battle;
And torn like silk in the running wind
The dream of battle comes back again.
    We who have listened with the dawn’s rain
    Found one echo in the sun’s beam,
    And as the fog lifts we live who sing–

Yellow ochred earth,
Now destroy thy memoried habit,
By the mud winds seared and tattered,
As thy former self is yielding
To this dawn of metaled brightness,
As its crying will be echoed
Far in silence dissipated.
Leave us hovering in our muteness
Till the stain of grass is on us,
And the rain is heard forever
Pounding on the roric leaves.

And out beyond the greying stillness
An echo comes far backward fleeing
Through the freshened smell of morning
While in wonder we stand listening.
"Learn, thou wanderer, to lie
By the ancient cadence of this land.
Hear the new wind song beneath the sky
Still passing on across the strand."

Now we in the dawn’s mist receive our dream
By which we were born far out in infinite night;
And standing by the older dream’s frustration
Know the earth’s insistent falling and ever rising of the light.

    Class Poet

From Ancestry of William Seaman Bainbridge, by Louis Effingham De Forest

JOHN SEAMAN BAINBRIDGE was born in New York City on November 1, 1915.

John Seaman Bainbridge attended the Friends' Seminary, the Browning School, the Lawrence Smith School, all in New York City, and the Foxwood School in Flushing, Long Island. In boyhood (1927-1929) he served in the Knickerbocker Greys, a famous old organization in New York, which he left as a lieutenant. He prepared for college at The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Connecticut graduating in 1934, and entered the class of 1938 at Harvard.

At Harvard he served two years on the literary board of the 'Lampoon,' humorous magazine of the college. He was also a member of the university swimming team, breaking one intercollegiate record and being invited to compete for the Olympic Games team. He was a member of the Hasty Pudding-Institute of 1770, and of the Speakers' Club and was the Class Poet. The summer of 1935 was spent in France and included a course at the Sorbonne. After his graduation from Harvard in 1938 he entered the Law School of Columbia University, from which he received the degree of LL.B. III 1941.

He was an officer in the Naval Reserve before he took his bar examinations and was permitted to go on inactive duty for a time in 1941 to complete his admission to the New York Bar, to which he was admitted December 24, 1941. His interest in the Navy, inherited from his father, was first shown when he spent one summer vacation from Harvard by working as a seaman on a liner in the Caribbean Sea. After graduation from Columbia Law School he entered the Midshipman's School on the U.S.S. Prairie State in the North River. His formal enlistment dated from July 26, 1940, when he became an apprentice seaman, V-7. In the summer of 1940 he made a cruise on the U.S.S. New York. In June, 1941, he took the oath as midshipman. On September 16, 1941, he was commissioned Ensign, D-V(G), U.S.N.R., as of September 12, 1941. He reported for active duty on November 5, 1941. He was at first assigned to the Navy District Intelligence Office in New York City. On April 20, 1942, he was transferred to the Gyro Compass School at the Navy Yard in Brooklyn. On May 18, 1942, he was ordered to report to the YP 224 at the Marine Basin, Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn, as executive officer. He sailed on June 6, 1942, and arrived at the Section Base, Inshore Patrol, San Juan, Puerto Rico, on July 22, 1942. On October 1, 1942, he was promoted to Lieutenant (j.g.). He was given command of the YP 224 while on anti-submarine patrol in the Caribbean.

He took command of his own ship, the U.S.S. SCI273, on July 1, 1943, at a ceremony in Boston. He took this vessel to Pacific waters, where he was on convoy duty in the Central and South Pacific areas, and at one time was task force commander of a 'hunter-killer' group. Ordered back from the South Pacific, he was made executive officer of the USSPCE 893, which he commanded in the Aleutian area and of which he was still the captain when the Japanese surrendered.

His terminal leave started on September 13, 1945, and on the following December 3 his leave expired and he was released to inactive duty with the rank of Lieutenant Commander dating from October 3, 1945. On September 17, 1946, after he had become a resident of Baltimore, Bainbridge was transferred on his own request to the organized reserves and ordered to the command of the First Division of the Fifth Naval District. His status at the beginning of the year 1947 was that of Lieutenant Commander, D, U.S.N.R., Organized Reserves, commanding officer, 1st Division 5 N D.

Upon leaving active duty Bainbridge returned to his former employment with the law firm of Satterlee, Warfield and Stephens of New York City, but in 1946 he moved to Baltimore and was admitted to practice at the Maryland Bar on September 29, 1946. In 1947 he returned to New York and entered the office of Townley, Updike and Carter.

Who's Who in the World, 1984-1985
BAINBRIDGE, JOHN SEAMAN, law school administrator; b. N.Y.C., Nov. 1, 1915; s. William Seaman and June Ellen (Wheeler) B.; m. Katharine Barker Garrett. Feb. 3. 1943 (div. July 24, 1968); 1 son, John Seaman; m. Elizabeth Kung-Ji Liu, May 13, 1978. B.S., Harvard U., 1938; LL.B., J.D., Columbia U., 1941. Bar: N.Y. 1941, Md. 1946, U.S. Dist. Ct. Md. 1946, U.S. Supreme Ct. 1946, U.S. Dist. Ct. (so. dist.) N.Y. 1948. Gen. practice law. Md. and N.Y., 1945-56; asst. dean Columbia U. Law Sch., 1956-65, assoc. dir. Internat. Fellows Program, 1960-62, asst. to pres. Columbia U., 1965-66: dir. Project on Staffing of African Instns. of Legal Edn. and Research, 1962-72; assoc. dir. Ctr. for Adminstrn. of Justice, Wayne State U., Detroit, 1972-74; dir. planning Sch. Law, Pace U., Westchester County, N.Y., 1974-76; assoc. dean, dean, prof. law No. Ill. U. Coll. Law, Glen Ellyn, 1976-81: vis. prof., assoc. dean Del. Law Sch., Wilmington, 1981-82; dean. prof. law Touro Coll. Sch. Law. Huntington, N.Y., 1982-; cons. Edward John Noble Found., 1959-61, Inst. Internat. Edn., 1962-67; mem. adv. com. Peace Corps Lawyers Project, 1963; founder, dir. African Law Assn. in Am. Inc., 1965-72. Served to lt. comdr. USNR, 1940-46. Mem. ABA, Assn. Bar City of N.Y., S.R. Presbyterian. Club: Harvard (N.Y.C.). Author: The Study and Teaching of Law in Africa, 1972. Home: 17 Ringfield, Chadds Ford, PA 19317.
Touro College School of Law Bulletin 1984-1986


The study of law should be an adventure in ideas. As change is inherent in the legal process, the study of law itself requires a rethinking of the problems of mankind. It views what has been done, to avoid old mistakes, and ventures forth in new terrain in the unending quest for ultimate solutions.

The professional study of law thus requires an understanding of what has gone before and an appreciation of current wisdoms in all social disciplines. It is only then one can predict how the courts will react to tomorrow's issues.

The program at Touro College School of Law requires an intensive study of the basic building blocks of the profession, courses essential to professional standing and the practice of law. Electives constitute about sixty percent of the student's undertaking. They enable the student to develop strengths in several areas of the law and to qualify for practice in any field in any common law jurisdiction. Touro graduates should also find their professional skills in demand in many areas peripheral to those associated with the traditional practice of law.

The study of law should be an enriching experience. It should also be enjoyable and rewarding. We seek to make it so at Touro.

John S. Bainbridge, Dean
New York Times, Sunday, February 12, 2006


Touro College and the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center communities are saddened by the passing, at age 90, of our beloved friend and former Dean, John S. Bainbridge. Dean Bainbridge was a scion of one of America's most distinguished and historic families. He had a distinguished career in legal education. He was a teacher, scholar and effective administrator, bringing his talents to: Columbia, Pace, Wayne State, Northern Illinois and Delaware. He played a critical role in the founding years of Touro Law School. He was Director of the SAILER Project that established legal education and research in Africa. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his devoted wife, Elizabeth, and son, John.

Touro College and the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center
Bernard Lander, Pres.
Lawrence Raful, Dean
Howard Glickstein, Dean Emeritus
and the Touro Community

New York Times, February 6, 2006

John S. Bainbridge, 90, Legal Educator for African Leaders


John S. Bainbridge, who organized a law-education program that trained many leaders in emerging African nations in the 1960's and later helped establish the Touro College law center in Huntington, N.Y., died on Jan. 25 in Kennett Square, Pa. He was 90.

His family said he died after years of declining health.

Mr. Bainbridge was assistant dean of Columbia Law School and associate director of the International Fellows Program when he devised a program to help new countries in postcolonial Africa build up their law schools. It was called the Sailer project, an acronym for Staffing of African Institutions of Legal Education and Research, and got the backing of the Ford Foundation.

Starting in 1962, he directed It for 10 years. His project sent 116 young lawyers and professors to law schools in English-speaking African countries, and brought African students to study law in the United States and return home to teach.

"The project made a difference in Africa at the time, as the new nations emerged," sald David Brownwood, a retired partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, who taught for two years in Kenya and Sudan, "and, I think, has had a lasting impact in many ways as the students and teachers involved matured into leaders in their countries."

Mr. Bainbridge went on to work at several other law schools. In 1982, he joined the recently formed Touro Law Center as its dean. He held the post for three years and helped it gain national accreditation. It is now known as the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.

John Seaman Bainbridge was born in Manhattan and graduated from Harvard in 1938. After receiving his law degree from Columbia in 1941, he served as a Navy officer in the Pacific. He was in private. practice until 1956, when he returned to Columbia Law as assistant dean and was briefly an assistant to the president of Columbia University in the mid-1960's. After the Sailer project, he held administrative posts at the law schools of Wayne State University, Pace University, Northern Illinois University and Delaware Law School, then became dean at Touro.

Mr. Bainbridge is survived by his wife of 27 years, Elizabeth Liu Bainbridge; a son, John S. Jr., of Glyndon, Md.; four grandchildren; three step children; and three step-grandchildren. His first marriage, to Katherine Garrett Bainbridge, ended in divorce.