John Woodruff Simpson attended Amherst College and Columbia Law School. In 1884, with two partners, he formed the law firm that would become Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett. He married Katherine (Kate) Seney of Brooklyn on May 15, 1889. They had one daughter, Jean Walker Simpson. He and his wife came to know the sculptor Auguste Rodin very well, and acquired an important collection of Rodin's work. After Mr. Simpson's death, his widow gave many items from their art collection to the NGA and other museums.
"J.W. Simpson Dead of Complications." The New York Times (17 May 1920):15:1