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Secretaries

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First Secretary of Commerce

The first Secretary of Commerce, William C. Redfield, was an iron and steel executive and author of a book, The New Industrial Day. The first Secretary of Commerce and Labor was George B. Cortelyou.

Length of Service

The longest-serving Secretary of Commerce was Herbert C. Hoover, a mining engineer who directed projects in Australia and for the Chinese before his public service career, which culminated in his election as President of the United States. Hoover served almost seven and one-half years. The Department of Commerce headquarters building is named in his honor.

Both William C. Redfield and Malcolm Baldrige served for more than six years.

Eight Secretaries served less than a year.

Two Secretaries died while in office: Malcolm Baldrige and Ronald H. Brown.

Women Secretaries

Juanita Kreps, the first woman and the only economist to serve as Secretary, was vice president of Duke University and a labor demographics specialist.

Barbara Franklin was the second woman to serve as Secretary. She was among the first women to graduate from Harvard Business School and served in the administrations of four U.S. presidents. In 1971, she directed the first White House program to recruit women for high-level government jobs.

African-American Secretary

Ronald Brown was the first African American to serve as Secretary. A lawyer, a negotiator, a pragmatic bridge builder, and a past Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Brown, unlike many of his predecessors, did not come out of the business community directly.

Brown died in a plane crash while on a trade mission to Croatia and Bosnia on April 3, 1996.

Asian-American Secretaries

Norman Mineta was the first Asian-American Secretary (July 21, 2000-Jan. 19, 2001). Secretary Gary Locke later followed as the second. He resigned Aug. 1, 2011 when he was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China.

Other Offices Held

Henry Wallace served as Vice President of the United States before his appointment as Secretary of Commerce. Three secretaries served in the U.S. Congress. Sinclair Weeks served in the U.S. Senate, and Joshua Alexander served seven terms and Rogers C. B. Morton four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Four others held top state offices. Luther Hodges was elected governor and lieutenant governor of North Carolina. Charles Sawyer was lieutenant governor of Ohio and Elliot Richardson served as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. Gary Locke was a two-term governor of the state of Washington, 1997-2005.

Richardson, an attorney, was Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General and an U.S. Ambassador before becoming Secretary of Commerce.

W. Averell Harriman and Mickey Kantor also held diplomatic posts before becoming Secretaries of Commerce. Harriman served as U.S. Ambassador to the U.S.S.R. and to Great Britain. Kantor served as the U.S. Trade Representative.

Daniel Roper's 50-year career of government service included positions with the U.S. Tariff Commission, and as Commissioner of Internal Revenue. He also worked for the Census Bureau, which was part of the Department of Commerce when he became Secretary.

Youngest and Oldest Appointees

The youngest person to be named Secretary was 38-year-old Alexander Trowbridge, an oil company executive who joined the Department as an assistant secretary.

The oldest to be appointed was Philip Klutznick, 72, creator of planned communities to meet the extraordinary housing needs of returning World War II veterans.

Education

Most Secretaries were college graduates, many with degrees from Ivy League universities; but Jesse Jones, the Secretary who directed the Commerce Department's responses to war needs between 1940-1945, received his formal education at a rural school house in Kentucky.

Secretaries of Commerce and the Years They Served

John E. Bryson
October 21, 2011- June 21, 2012

Gary Locke
March 26, 2009 - August 1, 2011

Carlos M. Gutierrez
February 7, 2005 - January 19, 2009

Donald L. Evans
January 20, 2001 - February 3, 2005

Norman A. Mineta
July 21, 2000 - January 19, 2001

William M. Daley
January 30, 1997 - July 19, 2000

Mickey Kantor
April 12, 1996 - January 21, 1997

Ronald H. Brown
January 22, 1993 - April 3, 1996

Barbara H. Franklin
February 27, 1992 - January 20, 1993

Robert A. Mosbacher
January 31, 1989 - January 15, 1992

C. William Verity
October 19, 1987 - January 30, 1989

Malcolm Baldrige
January 20, 1981 - July 25, 1987

Philip M. Klutznick
January 9, 1980 - January 19, 1981

Juanita M. Kreps
January 23, 1977 - October 31, 1979

Elliot L. Richardson
February 2, 1976 - January 20, 1977

Rogers C. B. Morton
May 1, 1975 - February 2, 1976

Frederick B. Dent
February 2, 1973 - March 26, 1975

Peter G. Peterson
February 29, 1972 - February 1, 1973

Maurice H. Stans
January 21, 1969 - February 15, 1972

C. R. Smith
March 6, 1968 - January 19, 1969

Alexander B. Trowbridge
June 14, 1967 - March 1, 1968

John T. Connor
January 18, 1965 - January 31, 1967

Luther H. Hodges
January 21, 1961 - January 15, 1965

Frederick H. Mueller
August 10, 1959 - January 19, 1961

Lewis L. Strauss (Interim appointee)
November 13, 1958 - June 30, 1959

Sinclair Weeks
January 21, 1953 - November 10, 1958

Charles Sawyer
May 6, 1948 - January 20, 1953

W. Averell Harriman
October 7, 1946 - April 22, 1948

Henry A. Wallace
March 2, 1945 - September 20, 1946

Jesse H. Jones
September 19, 1940 - March 1, 1945

Harry L. Hopkins
December 24, 1938 - September 18, 1940

Daniel C. Roper
March 4, 1933 - December 23, 1938

Roy D. Chapin
August 8, 1932 - March 3, 1933

Robert P. Lamont
March 5, 1929 - August 7, 1932

William F. Whiting
August 22, 1928 - March 4, 1929

Herbert C. Hoover
March 5, 1921 - August 21, 1928

Joshua W. Alexander
December 16, 1919 - March 4,1921

William C. Redfield
March 5, 1913 - October 31, 1919

Secretaries of Commerce and Labor

Charles Nagel
March 6, 1909 - March 4, 1913

Oscar S. Straus
December 17, 1906 - March 5, 1909

Victor H. Metcalf
July 1, 1904 - December 16, 1906

George B. Cortelyou
February 18, 1903 - June 30, 1904