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Royal Samuel Copeland is Born

Today in Masonic History Royal Samuel Copeland is born in 1868.

Royal Samuel Copeland was an American politician.

Copeland was born on November 7th, 1868 in Dexter, Michigan. He graduated from Michigan Normal State College, now Eastern Michigan University, with a Bachelor's degree before teaching in Sylvan Township, Michigan in 1888. The following year he graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a degree in medicine. He went to Europe for post-graduate studies before moving to Bay City, Michigan.

In Bay City, Copeland opened a medical practice. He was in practice from 1890 to 1895. Also in 1890 he was admitted to the Homeopathy Society of Michigan. He served as the Homeopathy Society's Secretary and President. Starting in 1895 he taught at the University of Michigan Medical School, in the Homeopathy Department. He was a professor of Ophthalmology and Otology, eyes and ears. He worked at the University as a professor until 1908.

While he taught at the University of Michigan, Copeland successfully ran for mayor of Ann Arbor. He served, as a Republican from 1901 to 1903. He also served as the President of the Ann Arbor Board of Education from 1907 to 1908 and served as the President of the Ann Arbor Board of Parks Commissioners.

In 1908, Copeland moved to New York City with his wife to accept the position as as the dean of the New York Homeopathic Medical College and Flower Hospital. He served as dean until 1918 when he left the position to become the President of the New York City Board of Health. He received a lot of positive attention for his handling of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic by keeping residents calm.

In 1922, Copeland ran successfully as a Democrat for the United States Senate seat. His honorary campaign manager was future President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt. Copeland was reelected two more times to the senate, once in 1928 and the other in 1934. In the Senate he had two very notable pieces of legislation the first was the Copeland Committee, the committee was created after a United States Senator was killed in a plane crash. The Committee was tasked with reviewing air safety. The scathing report, Copeland largely wrote, criticized the under funding and lack of maintenance on air safety equipment. The other was the Copeland "Anti-kickback" Act which targeted kickback to federal contractors, sub-contractors and officials, coming from construction employees. Some of his other accomplishments in the Senate were his successful efforts to bring air conditioning to the Senate and legislation which helped those in the Homeopathy field.

In New York, Copeland was close with the Democratic Organization, which was boss-led by Tammany Hall. Copeland was a conservative Democrat and did not fully support Roosevelt's New Deal policies. In 1937 he ran in both the Republican and Democratic primaries for Mayor of New York City. He lost both races, the Republican primary he lost to incumbent Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia.

Copeland passed away in office on June 17th, 1938.

Copeland was a member of Bay City Lodge No. 129 in Bay City, Michigan. He was also a member of Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13, Knights Templar and Moslem Shrine Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, both in Ann Arbor. It is unclear his masonic affiliations in New York. His affiliation with the fraternity did continue, he gave a speech in 1920 at Stuyvesant Lodge No. 745 in New York.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.