Morgan Gardner Bulkeley

1837 – 1922

Morgan Gardner Bulkeley

Morgan G. Bulkeley was president of Aetna Life Insurance. He was also a prominent politician. He served as Hartford mayor from 1879 to 1887. He was Connecticut’s governor from 1889 to 1893 and U. S. senator from 1905 to 1911.

Election of 1888

During the election of 1888, Democratic candidate Luzon B. Morris received the most votes. But neither Morris nor Bulkeley obtained more than fifty percent of the vote as required. The Republican Legislature decided the governorship in favor of Bulkeley.

Two years later, there again was no clear-cut gubernatorial winner. Bulkeley had not run for the position. Instead, he abided by the unwritten rule preventing a Republican governor from seeking a second term. Bulkeley responded to voter indecision by refusing to relinquish the Governor’s office.

Crowbar Governor

To encourage Bulkeley to resign, the State Comptroller chained and padlocked the Governor’s office. Bulkeley handled this by using a crowbar to gain access. This earned him the nickname “Crowbar Governor.”

The Legislature then refused to pass funding for state operation costs. Bulkeley handled this by using funds from Aetna Insurance, of which he was president.

After considerable angst, the Legislature finally succumbed to Bulkeley’s leadership. He served as Governor of Connecticut for a second two-year-term.

National Baseball Association President

In 1874 and 1875, Bulkeley served as president of the Hartford Dark Blues, a baseball team of the National Baseball Association. In 1876, he was elected as the National League’s first president. He was elected posthumously to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.

Section 1, Lot 17


Baseball Hall of Fame. Accessed at

Wikipedia.  Morgan Bulkeley. Accessed at

Photo Credit:

Morgan Gardner Bulkeley, public domain