|32nd United States Secretary of the Interior|
March 4, 1933 –February 15, 1946
|President|| Franklin D. Roosevelt |
Harry S. Truman
|Deputy||Oscar L. Chapman (Acting)|
|Preceded by||Ray Lyman Wilbur|
|Succeeded by||Julius Krug|
|High Commissioner to the Philippines|
October 12, 1942 –September 14, 1945
|President|| Franklin Roosevelt |
Harry S. Truman
|Preceded by||Francis Bowes Sayre Sr.|
|Succeeded by||Paul V. McNutt|
Harold LeClair Ickes
March 15, 1874
near Altoona, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||February 3, 1952 77) (aged|
Washington D.C., U.S.
|Political party|| Republican |
Anna Wilmarth Thompson
(m. 1911;died 1935)
Jane Dahlman(m. 1938)
|Children||4, including Harold|
|Education||University of Chicago (BA, LLB)|
Harold LeClair Ickes ( // IK-əs; March 15, 1874 – February 3, 1952) was an American administrator and politician. He served as United States Secretary of the Interior for 13 years, from 1933 to 1946, the longest tenure of anyone to hold the office, and the second longest-serving Cabinet member in U.S. history after James Wilson. Ickes and Labor Secretary Frances Perkins were the only original members of the Roosevelt cabinet who remained in office for his entire presidency.
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior in the United States is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources; it oversees such agencies as the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Geological Survey, and the National Park Service. The Secretary also serves on and appoints the private citizens on the National Park Foundation board. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet. The U.S. Department of the Interior should not be confused with the Ministries of the Interior as used in many other countries. Ministries of the Interior in these other countries correspond primarily to the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. Cabinet and secondarily to the Department of Justice.
James "Tama Jim" Wilson was a Scottish-American politician who served as United States Secretary of Agriculture for sixteen years during three presidencies, from 1897 to 1913. He holds the record as the longest-serving United States Cabinet member, and the only cabinet member to serve under four consecutive presidents.
Ickes was responsible for implementing much of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal". He was in charge of the major relief program, the Public Works Administration (PWA), and in charge of the federal government's environmental efforts.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A Democrat, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. He is often rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1936. It responded to needs for relief, reform and recovery from the Great Depression. Major federal programs included the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). They provided support for farmers, the unemployed, youth and the elderly. The New Deal included new constraints and safeguards on the banking industry and efforts to re-inflate the economy after prices had fallen sharply. New Deal programs included both laws passed by Congress as well as presidential executive orders during the first term of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs focused on what historians refer to as the "3 Rs": relief for the unemployed and poor, recovery of the economy back to normal levels and reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression. The New Deal produced a political realignment, making the Democratic Party the majority with its base in liberal ideas, the South, traditional Democrats, big city machines and the newly empowered labor unions and ethnic minorities. The Republicans were split, with conservatives opposing the entire New Deal as hostile to business and economic growth and liberals in support. The realignment crystallized into the New Deal coalition that dominated presidential elections into the 1960s while the opposing conservative coalition largely controlled Congress in domestic affairs from 1937 to 1964.
Public Works Administration (PWA), part of the New Deal of 1933, was a large-scale public works construction agency in the United States headed by Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. It was created by the National Industrial Recovery Act in June 1933 in response to the Great Depression. It built large-scale public works such as dams, bridges, hospitals, and schools. Its goals were to spend $3.3 billion in the first year, and $6 billion in all, to provide employment, stabilize purchasing power, and help revive the economy. Most of the spending came in two waves in 1933-35, and again in 1938. Originally called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, it was renamed the Public Works Administration in 1935 and shut down in 1944.
In his day, he was considered a prominent liberal spokesman, a skillful orator and a noted supporter of many African-American causes, although he was at times politically expedient where state-level segregation was concerned. Before his national-level political career, where he did remove segregation in areas of his direct control, he had been the president of the Chicago NAACP.
Robert C. Weaver, who in 1966 became the first African-American person to hold a cabinet position in the U.S., was in the "Black Kitchen Cabinet", Ickes' group of advisers on race relations.
Robert Clifton Weaver was an American economist, academic, and political administrator; he served as the first United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) from 1966 to 1968, in the new agency established in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Weaver was the first African American to be appointed to a US cabinet-level position.
He was the father of Harold M. Ickes, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton.
Harold McEwen Ickes was White House Deputy Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton. He is the son of Harold L. Ickes, who was Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The White House Deputy Chief of Staff is officially the top aide to the White House Chief of Staff, who is the senior aide to the President of the United States. The Deputy Chief of Staff usually has an office in the West Wing and is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the White House bureaucracy, as well as such other duties as the Chief of Staff assigns to him or her. In some administrations, there are multiple deputy chiefs with different duties.
William Jefferson Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Prior to the presidency, he was the governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1983 to 1992, and the attorney general of Arkansas from 1977 to 1979. A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was ideologically a New Democrat and many of his policies reflected a centrist "Third Way" political philosophy.
Of Scottish and German ancestry,Ickes was born in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, the son of Matilda (McCune) and Jesse Boone Williams Ickes. He moved to Chicago at the age of 16 upon his mother's death and attended Englewood High School there. He was the class president while at Englewood. After graduating, he worked his way through the University of Chicago, finishing with a B.A. in 1897. At Chicago, Ickes was a charter member re-establishing the Illinois Beta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta.
Hollidaysburg is a borough and the county seat of Blair County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is located on the Juniata River, 5 miles (8 km) south of Altoona and is part of the Altoona, Pennsylvania, Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 1900, 2,998 people lived in the borough, in 1910, 3,734 lived there, and in 1940, 5,910 residents were counted. The population was 5,791 at the 2010 census. Coal, iron ore, ganister, and limestone are found in the vicinity. In the past, the borough had foundries and machine shops, a silk mill, car works and classification yards.
Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.
Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. As of the 2017 census-estimate, it has a population of 2,716,450, which makes it the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States, and the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as "Chicagoland." The Chicago metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, the fourth largest in North America, and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.
He first worked as a newspaper reporter for The Chicago Record and later for the Chicago Tribune . He obtained a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1907 but rarely practiced. Instead, he became active in reform politics.
Initially a Republican in Chicago, Ickes was never part of the establishment. He was unsatisfied with Republican policies and joined Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose movement in 1912. After returning to the Republican fold, he campaigned for progressive Republicans Charles Evans Hughes (1916) and Hiram Johnson (1920 and 1924).
He fought lengthy and legendary battles first with Chicago figures Samuel Insull, the utilities magnate, William Hale Thompson, the mayor, and Robert R. McCormick, the owner of The Chicago Tribune. Later he had an ongoing battle with Thomas E. Dewey, the presidential candidate.
Although locally active in Chicago politics, he was unknown nationally until 1933. As part of this involvement, Ickes was involved in Chicago's social and political affairs; among his many activities include his work for the City Club of Chicago.
After Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, he began putting together his cabinet. His advisers thought the Democratic president needed a progressive Republican to attract middle-of-the-road voters. He sought out Hiram Johnson, a Republican Senator at the time who had supported Roosevelt in the campaign, but Johnson was uninterested. Johnson, however, recommended an old ally, Ickes.
Ickes served simultaneously in several major roles for Roosevelt. Although he was the Secretary of the Interior, he was better known to the public for his simultaneous work as the director of the Public Works Administration, where he directed billions of dollars of projects designed to lure private investment and provide employment during the depths of the Great Depression. His management of the PWA budget and his opposition to corruption earned him the name "Honest Harold." He regularly presented projects to Roosevelt for the President's personal approval.
Ickes' support of PWA power plants put increased financial pressure on private power companies during the Great Depression, which had both positive and negative effects. He tried to enforce the Raker Act against the city of San Francisco, an act of Congress that specified that because the dam at Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park was on public land, no private profit could be derived from the development. The city continues selling the power to PG&E, which is then resold at a profit.
In July 1938, Ickes wrote a letter to then President Roosevelt, imploring him not to turn Palmyra Atoll over to the US Navy for use as a military base. Quoting his letter, he writes,
... the Navy Department has plans for the acquisition and development of the island as an air base. Our representatives have studied conditions at Palmyra and other islands in the south Pacific, and they report that use of this small land area as an air base for Navy Department purposes would undoubtedly destroy much if not all that makes the island one of our most scientifically and scenically unique possessions.
Unfortunately, the letter was unsuccessful, and plans for the base proceeded, but he was by all accounts the first official to propose Palmyra Atoll become a national monument. Today the atoll is part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and despite suffering the kind of devastation Ickes predicted, it has recovered and is used regularly for scientific study, having still retained what Ickes also described in his letter as "geologic and biologic exhibits ... of great beauty and scientific importance".
He was instrumental in establishing the Kings Canyon National Park, commissioning Ansel Adams as a 'photographic muralist' in a visionary public relations project that Ickes had himself conceived to document and communicate, on a visceral level, the outstanding beauty of the parks for the capitol public to see, and indirectly but effectively persuading the Congress to support the bill to President Roosevelt in 1940.
After the Hindenburg disaster, the German Zeppelin Company director Dr. Hugo Eckener sought to obtain inert helium to replace the flammable hydrogen gas for use in their future airships. Ickes opposed the sale although practically every other member of the Cabinet supported it along with the President himself. Ickes would not back down, fearing military use of the dirigibles. The Zeppelin company could not obtain the helium from other sources, and Eckener refused to risk passenger safety by the continued use of hydrogen. Hence, Ickes effectively ended Zeppelin passenger air service himself.[ citation needed ]
The Saudi Aramco oil corporation, through Secretary of the Interior Ickes, got Roosevelt to agree to Lend-Lease aid to Saudi Arabia, which would involve the US government in protecting American interests there and create a shield for ARAMCO.[ citation needed ]
Between June and October 1941, during a projected oil shortage, Ickes issued orders to close gasoline stations in the Eastern United States between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Ickes was a powerful orator and the only man in the Roosevelt Administration who could rebut John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers, who often delivered radio addresses critical of the Roosevelt administration.
Ickes was a strong supporter of both civil rights and civil liberties. He had been the president of the Chicago National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and supported African American contralto Marian Anderson when the Daughters of the American Revolution prohibited her from performing in DAR Constitution Hall. Ickes was the organizer and master of ceremonies at Anderson's subsequent concert at the Lincoln Memorial.
In 1933, Ickes ended segregation in the cafeteria and rest rooms of his department, including the national parks around the country. He encouraged private contractors working for the PWA to hire both skilled and unskilled blacks. Robert C. Weaver, who in 1966 became the first black person to hold a cabinet position, was one of his advisers on race relations, a group known as the "Black Kitchen Cabinet."White attitudes toward blacks evolved little in the 1930s, and Ickes did not try to speed up the change, arguing that first there needed to be emergency relief and the upgrading of black skills.
In 1937, when Senator Josiah Bailey, Democrat of North Carolina, accused him of trying to break down segregation laws, Ickes wrote him that he worked towards and foresaw equality but did not waste his energy on state-level segregation:
I think it is up to the states to work out their social problems if possible, and while I have always been interested in seeing that the Negro has a square deal, I have never dissipated my strength against the particular stone wall of segregation. I believe that wall will crumble when the Negro has brought himself to a high educational and economic status. ... Moreover, while there are no segregation laws in the North, there is segregation in fact and we might as well recognize this.
In 1941 Ickes paved the way for the National Park Service to desegregate its facilities in the nation's capital after a group of black men came to play mini-golf at East Potomac Park Golf Course and were verbally harassed by the patrons of the then white-only facility.He did so the day after this event and almost fourteen years before Brown v. Board of Education.
He complained in his diary about the Japanese American internment in 1942.
As an official delegate to the founding United Nations conference in San Francisco, presided over by Acting Secretary General Alger Hiss, Ickes advocated for stronger language promoting self-rule and eventual independence for the world's colonies.
In a news conference on the eve of Thanksgiving 1938, Ickes proposed offering Alaska as a "haven for Jewish refugees from Germany and other areas in Europe where the Jews are subjected to oppressive restrictions." The proposal was designed to bypass normal immigration quotas, because Alaska was not a state. Ickes had toured Alaska that summer, meeting with local officials to discuss how to attract greater development, both for economic reasons and to bolster security in an area so close to Japan and Russia and to develop a plan to attract international professionals, including European Jews. In his press conference, he pointed out that 200 families had been relocated from the Dust Bowl to Alaska's Matanuska-Susitna Valley.
The Department of the Interior prepared a report detailing the advantages of the plan, which was introduced as a bill by Utah's Senator William H. King and California's Democratic Representative Franck R. Havenner. The plan met with little support from American Jews, however, with the exception of the Labor Zionists of America; most Jews agreed with Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise of the American Jewish Congress that the plan, if implemented, would deliver "a wrong and hurtful impression ... that Jews are taking over some part of the country for settlement."
The final blow was dealt when Roosevelt suggested a limit of only 10,000 immigrants a year for five years, with a maximum of 10 percent Jews. He later reduced even that number and never publicly mentioned the plan.
Although he stayed on in President Harry S. Truman's cabinet after Roosevelt died in April 1945, he resigned from office within a year. In February 1946, Truman nominated Edwin W. Pauley to be Secretary of the Navy. Pauley was the former Democratic Party national treasurer. He once suggested to Ickes that $300,000 in campaign funds could be raised if Ickes would drop his fight for title to oil-rich offshore lands. Ickes testified to this during Pauley's Senate confirmation hearing. This led to a heated confrontation with Truman, who suggested that Ickes's memory might have been faulty.
Ickes wrote a 2,000-word letter of resignation, which read in part: "I don't care to stay in an Administration where I am expected to commit perjury for the sake of the party. ... I do not have a reputation for dealing recklessly with the truth." Truman accepted his resignation and gave Ickes three days to vacate his office. Soon afterward, Pauley declined the nomination.
Ickes had bought a working farm, Headwaters Farm, near Olney, Maryland, in 1937. His wife Jane managed the farm and Ickes grew flowers as a hobby. President Roosevelt spent occasional weekends there before the establishment of "Shangri-La", the presidential retreat now known as Camp David.
After he resigned from the Cabinet in 1946, Ickes retired to his farm but remained active on the political scene, working as a syndicated columnist.In December 1945, Ickes accepted the position of executive chairman of the newly founded Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions, a group that criticized Truman's lack of fidelity to FDR's principles. A thousand people attended the hotel banquet that celebrated his appointment. He resigned on February 13, 1946, unhappy with the organization's failure to pay him the agreed-upon salary and unwilling to support the organization of a new political party to support Henry Wallace's presidential race.
Ickes was known for his acerbic wit and took joy in verbal battles. He often took verbal abuse too. For instance, Roosevelt selected Ickes to deliver a response following the nomination of Wendell Willkie. In response to Ickes' comments, Senator Styles Bridges called Ickes "a common scold puffed up by high office." Republican Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce once famously remarked that Ickes had "the mind of a commissar and the soul of a meataxe."
In September 1944, Thomas E. Dewey, the Republican nominee for president, promised to fire Ickes if elected. Ickes penned a letter of resignation to Dewey and it was widely printed in the press. Ickes wrote, in part:
Hence, I hereby resign as Secretary of the Interior effective, if, as and when the incredible comes to pass and you become the President of the United States. However, as a candidate for that office you should have known the primary school fact that the Cabinet of an outgoing President automatically retires with its chief.
Ickes married divorcee Anna Wilmarth Thompson in 1911. He had one son, Raymond Wilmarth Ickes (1912–2002) with Anna.He was a stepfather to two children from Anna's previous marriage, her biological son Wilmarth Thompson, and her adopted daughter Frances Thompson. Ickes and Anna also adopted son Robert Harold Ickes (1913–1971). Anna died in an automobile accident on August 31, 1935.
At the age of 64, he married 25-year-old Jane Dahlman (1913–1972), the younger sister of Wilmarth Ickes' wife, Betty, on May 24, 1938.Children resulting from this marriage were daughter Elizabeth Jane and son Harold McEwen Ickes, who became Deputy Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton.
There was a Chicago Housing Authority public housing project on the south side of Chicago named the Harold L. Ickes Homes. Built between 1954 and 1955, the buildings have since been demolished.
The Harold Ickes Playground, a 1.82-acre park located in the Red Hook neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City, is named in his honor.
Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest "I think you come as close as anybody when you suggest that it rhymes with sickness with the n omitted. The e is halfway between a short e and short u": hence, // IK-əss. His son Harold M. Ickes, however, pronounces the name // IK-eez. The correct spelling of Ickes' middle name is undetermined. It is sometimes spelled Le Clair, Le Claire or LeClare.
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Frederick "Fred" Moore Vinson was an American Democratic politician who served the United States in all three branches of government. The most prominent member of the Vinson political family, he was the 53rd United States Secretary of the Treasury and the 13th Chief Justice of the United States.
Ickes is a surname and may refer to:
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The Main Interior Building, officially known as the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building, located in Washington, D.C., is the headquarters of the United States Department of the Interior.
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Anna Wilmarth Thompson Ickes was an American politician and activist.
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Ray Lyman Wilbur
| U.S. Secretary of the Interior |
Served under: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman
Julius "Cap" Krug