James Rockwell Sheffield Edit Profile
He attended Williston Seminary and graduated from Yale University in 1887, where he was a member of Psi Upsilon and Scroll and Key. He attended Harvard Law School for a year, then continued studying law in Washington, D.C.
While working as private secretary for William B. Allison, a United States Senator from Iowa. Sheffield was admitted to the bar in 1893 and commenced practice in New York City. Active in politics as a Republican, Sheffield was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1893 and served one term.
He was a delegate to every New York State Republican Convention from 1896 to 1924, and a delegate to the Republican National Conventions of 1916, 1920, 1924, and 1936. In 1924 Sheffield was selected to serve as Ambassador to Mexico, with Hughes playing a leading role in obtaining the appointment from President Coolidge. In 1925 he acted on his own to reprimand Mexico's government for its support of Augusto César Sandino's revolutionary movement in Nicaragua, complicating the Coolidge administration's efforts to maintain a policy of non-confrontation with Mexico.
Sheffield continued to practice law in New York City, and in 1930 he was appointed a Special Ambassador to Venezuela, leading a U.S. delegation for ceremonies dedicating a statue of Henry Clay in Caracas. Sheffield died in Saranac Lake, New York on September 2, 1938. He was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Utica.
In 1898 Sheffield married Edith Tod (1873–1956) of Cleveland, Ohio. She was a great-granddaughter of David Tod.
Sheffield was also a friend and political ally of Charles Evans Hughes, who was United States Secretary of State from 1921 to 1925. Sheffield served until 1927, and earned notoriety for expressing racist views of and contempt for individuals in the Mexican government.
From 1895 to 1898 he was a member of New York City's Board of Fire Commissioners, and he was the board's president in 1897 and 1898.
Married Edith Tod, November 2, 1898.