Samuel R. Thayer was an American attorney and diplomat who served as United States Ambassador to the Netherlands.
Thayer, Samuel Richard was born on December 12, 1837 in Richmond, New York, United States. Son of George and Phebe (Wood) Thayer.
He graduated from Union College in 1860 and taught school for two years.
In 1889 President Benjamin Harrison appointed Thayer as Ambassador to the Netherlands, where he served until 1893. Besides maintaining a thriving law practice, Thayer was a successful businessman, including profitable investments in Minnesota real estate, and he made substantial donations to normal schools and colleges throughout the state. In 1892 he received an honorary LL.D. degree from Union College.
Later in his career he maintained homes and offices in both Minneapolis and New York City. He was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester.
A Republican, Thayer was interested in higher education and served as a member of the Minnesota State Normal School Board from 1873 to 1877.