Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 123, page(s) 697-698


Arthur Leffingwell Shipman, who died October 16th, 1937, was by training and ancestry, a true son of Connecticut, and heir to a long legal tradition. Descendant of Edward Shipman of Hull, England, one of the original settlers at Saybrook, he was the son of Judge Nathaniel Shipman of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. His mother was Mary Caroline Robinson Shipman, daughter of a family which has produced lawyers in Hartford for generations.

Mr. Shipman was born in Hartford on November 19th, 1864. He was a member of the Hartford Public High School Class of 1882, and of Yale 1886. While in college he was editor of the Yale Literary Magazine and a member of the Senior Society of Skull and Bones. He received the degree of LL.B. from the Yale Law School in 1888 and immediately entered the office of Seward, Da Costa and Guthrie of New York City. In 1890 he returned to Hartford and formed a partnership with Judge William F. Henney, who was afterward mayor of Hartford. He continued thus for four years, and then joined the firm of Gross, Hyde and Shipman in 1894. As a member of this firm, and afterward, he took part in much important litigation. In 1919 he became the senior member of the firm of Shipman and Goodwin.

He was a director of the Aetna Insurance Company, the Travelers Insurance Company, Connecticut River Banking Company, the Collins Company, Arrow Hart and Hegeman Electric Company, Capewell Manufacturing Company, and of many other corporations.

On June 27th, 1901, he married in Poughkeepsie, New York, Miss Melvina Van Kleeck. The children of this marriage surviving are Natalie, now Mrs. Gurdon S. Worcester, born December 17th, 1902; Arthur Leffingwell Shipman, Jr., born July 4th, 1906; and Mary Caroline, now Mrs. Minot A. Howard, born December 23d, 1910.

Arthur Shipman was a republican in politics, and became a member of the court of common council of the city of Hartford from the fourth ward in 1892; and in 1895 he was elected a member of the high school committee. In 1904 he was appointed by his former partner, Mayor Henney, as corporation counsel; and again in 1910 he was appointed by Mayor Cheney. He was a member of the Hartford Club, the University Club of Hartford, the Twilight Club and the Monday Evening Club. He was a trustee of Wadsworth Atheneum, of the Connecticut Historical Society, and was deeply interested in the Hartford Public Library. He was also a member of the American Law Institute.

During the week of his death he had been active in the application of the trustees of the Burr Memorial Fund to the Superior Court for approval of the devotion of that fund to the building fund of the Hartford Public Library. He was a member to the time of his death of the Connecticut Commission of Sculpture, and was one of the moving spirits on the erection of the magnificent equestrian statue at Lafayette Square.

He was a man of strong opinion and deep convictions; of scholarly attainments and especially interested and learned in the early history of Hartford and of Connecticut. Shortly before his death he had been working on some new aspects of the hiding of the charter, and it is our loss that this study remained unfinished. He lived and thought intensely. Sometimes he appeared to reach a decision on the spur of the moment, but those who were closest to him found what seemed a hasty judgment, to be sounder than another's considered opinion. His pungent comments on politics, foreign and domestic, found a ready hearing. New thought in a multiplicity of lines engaged his attention. Deeply loyal to his client, he spared no pains in the practice of his profession and was always a prodigious researcher and a clear and accurate thinker.

He passed as he would have wished - quickly, and in the full tide of affairs - leaving a place that will not soon be filled.