JAMES HARTNESS was born in Schenectady, New York and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. At the age of sixteen, he learned to be a machinist, and ultimately settled in Springfield, Vermont, where he began working at the Jones and Lamson Machine Company as a superintendent and rose to become president in 1900. Well known nationally as an engineer and inventor, he perfected the flat turret lathe, which made Springfield the chief manufacturer of that lathe in the world, and over the years he received numerous honorary degrees and awards for his contributions to tool design. In addition, he was an officer of various scientific organizations, including president of the American Engineering Council, a position in which he focused on commercial aviation. From 1915 until 1921 he served on the State Board of Education. During World War I he was Federal Food Administrator for Vermont. An airplane enthusiast and licensed pilot, he was also appointed to the Inter-Allied Aircraft Standardization Commission in London and Paris. As governor, Hartness favored agricultural and industrial development in Vermont. He was an advocate of women’s participation in public affairs, and during his administration, the first woman was elected to the Vermont legislature. He did not seek reelection after one term but instead returned to his business affairs. He died at his home in Springfield.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 30. New York: James T. White & Company.