Charles W. Sawyer, U.S. Secretary of Commerce

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Charles W. Sawyer

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Edward Milton Sawyer and Caroline Sawyer

Managed by: Private User
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About Charles W. Sawyer, U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Charles W. Sawyer (February 10, 1887 – April 7, 1979) was United States Secretary of Commerce from May 6, 1948 to January 20, 1953 in the administration of Harry Truman.

Sawyer was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served as a member of Cincinnati City Council from 1912–1916. Prior to his political career, he worked at the Cincinnati law firm of Dinsmore & Shohl. Between the world wars, he was a prominent Democratic politician in Ohio. In the 1930s, a faction led by Sawyer vied with a faction led by Martin L. Davey for control of the state Democratic party. He was the 44th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio from 1933–1935. In 1938, Sawyer was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Ohio governor.

Charles Sawyer authored the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment. (Sawyer, Concerns of a Conservative Democrat, Southern Illinois University Press, Pgs 48-51.)

He was also appointed as United States Ambassador to Belgium by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and was Minister to Luxembourg during the difficult period 1944–1946 in this country, the beginning of the Belgian royal question concerning King Leopold III of Belgium.

While Secretary of Commerce, Sawyer was ordered by Truman to seize and operate the steel mills in 1952. This seizure was executed to prevent a labor strike which Truman believed would hamper the ability of the United States to proceed in the war in Korea.

When he returned to Cincinnati after serving for President Truman, he joined the law firm Taft, Stettinius, and Hollister, which had been founded by another prominent Cincinnati politician, Robert Taft, and became its managing partner.

In 1968, he authored Concerns of a Conservative Democrat (Southern Illinois University Press). Charles Sawyer served on the following commissions, Hoover Commission on Overseas Task Force, the Commission on Money and Credit, and the World's Fair Site Committee. He had five children.

Sawyer died in Palm Beach, Florida.

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Charles W. Sawyer, U.S. Secretary of Commerce's Timeline

Age 92