Charles McCarthy, 1873–1921, American political scientist and author, b. Brockton, Mass. He organized and directed (1901–21) at Madison, Wis., the first official legislative reference library in the country. Through published articles, lectures, and contact with legislators he became one of the chief minds behind the progressive legislation enacted in Wisconsin in the gubernatorial administration of Robert M. La Follette. He wrote The Wisconsin Idea (1912). McCarthy served (1914–15) as the first director of the U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations.
See biography by E. A. Fitzpatrick (1944).