Hiram Bingham III
U.S. Senator, Connecticut, In office 1924 - 1933
Preceded by Frank Bosworth Brandegee
Succeeded by Augustine Lonergan
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii February 19, 1875
Political party: Republican
Spouse: 1) Alfreda Mitchell (div.), 2) Suzanne Carroll Hill
Religion: Protestant Christian
Hiram Bingham, formally Hiram Bingham III, (19 November 1875 – 6 June 1956) was an American academic, explorer and politician. He rediscovered the Inca settlement of Machu Picchu in 1911. Later, Bingham served as Governor of Connecticut and a member of the United States Senate.
Bingham was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Hiram Bingham II (1831 - 1908), an early Protestant missionary to the Kingdom of Hawaii, the grandson of Hiram Bingham I (1789 – 1869), another missionary. He attended Punahou School and O'ahu College in Hawaii from 1882 to 1892. He returned to the United States in his teens in order to complete his education, entering Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1894. He obtained a degree from Yale University in 1898, a degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1900, and a degree from Harvard University in 1905. While at University, Bingham was a member of Acacia Fraternity. He taught history and politics at Harvard and then served as preceptor under Woodrow Wilson at Princeton University. In 1907, Yale University appointed Bingham as a lecturer in South American history.
It was during Bingham's time as a lecturer (later professor) at Yale that he rediscovered the largely forgotten Incan city of Machu Picchu. In 1908, he had served as delegate to the First Pan American Scientific Congress at Santiago, Chile. On his way home via Peru, a local prefect convinced him to visit the pre-Columbian city of Choqquequirau. Bingham was thrilled by the prospect of unexplored Incan cities, and in 1911 returned to the Andes with the Yale Peruvian Expedition of 1911. On 24 July 1911, a mestizo guide led Bingham to Machu Picchu, which had been largely forgotten by everybody except the small number of people living in the immediate valley, and the young explorer had his ''lost city''. Bingham returned to Peru in 1912 and 1915 with the support of Yale and the National Geographic Society.
Machu Picchu has become one of the major tourist attractions in South America, and Bingham is recognized as the man who brought the site to world attention, although many others contributed to the archaeological resurrection of the site. The switchback filled road that carries tourist buses to the site from the Urubamba River is called the Hiram Bingham Highway. Bingham has been cited as one possible basis for the ''Indiana Jones'' character. His book Lost City of the Incas became a bestseller upon its publication in 1948.
Marriage and family
He married Alfreda Mitchell, granddaughter of Charles L. Tiffany, on November 20, 1899, and had seven sons, including: congressman Jonathan Brewster Bingham (1914 - 1986); diplomat Hiram Bingham IV (1903 - 1988); Charles Tiffany (1906 - 1993) (physician), Brewster (1908 - 1995) (minister), Mitchell (1910 - 1994) (artist), Woodbridge (1901 - 1986) (professor) and Alfred Mitchell Bingham (1905 - 1998) (lawyer). After a divorce he married Suzanne Carroll Hill in June of 1937. In 1982 Temple University Press published Char Miller's doctoral dissertation on the Bingham family titled ''Fathers and sons : the Bingham family and the American mission.''
Bingham achieved the rank of captain of the Connecticut National Guard in 1916. In 1917, he became an aviator and organized the United States Schools of Military Aeronautics. He served the Aviation Section of the United States Army Signal Corps and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. In Issoudun, France, Bingham commanded a flying school.
In 1922, Bingham was elected Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut, an office he held until 1924. In November 1924, he was elected Governor. On December 16, 1924, Bingham was also elected as a Republican to serve in the United States Senate to fill a vacancy created by the suicide of Frank Bosworth Brandegee. Now both Governor-elect and Senator-elect, Bingham served as Governor for one day, the shortest term of any Connecticut Governor. Bingham was reelected to a full six-year term in the Senate in 1926. Senator Bingham was Chairman of the Committee on Printing and then Chairman of the Committee on Territories and Insular Possessions. In 1929, Bingham was censured by the Senate on charges that he had placed a lobbyist on his payroll. President Calvin Coolidge appointed Bingham to the President's Aircraft Board during his first term in the Senate; the press quickly dubbed the ex-explorer ''The Flying Senator''. Bingham failed in his second reelection effort in the wake of the 1932 Democratic landslide following the Great Depression and left the Senate at the end of his second term in 1933. During World War II, Bingham lectured at several United States Navy training schools. In 1951, Bingham was appointed Chairman of the Civil Service Commission Loyalty Review Board, an assignment he kept through 1953.
On June 6, 1956, Bingham died at his Washington, DC home. He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. His son Hiram Bingham IV was a diplomat and World War II hero, while another son, Jonathan Brewster Bingham, served as a Democrat in Congress.