Jones, Jesse Holman

Jones, Jesse Holman,

1874–1956, U.S. Secretary of Commerce (1940–45), b. Robertson co., Tenn. A lumber magnate, banker, and millionaire of Houston, Tex., Jones was appointed (1932) by President Hoover as a member of the Reconstruction Finance CorporationReconstruction Finance Corporation
(RFC), former U.S. government agency, created in 1932 by the administration of Herbert Hoover. Its purpose was to facilitate economic activity by lending money in the depression.
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 (RFC). He became (1933) its chairman under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and, with the merging of the RFC with other federal agencies, he was appointed (1939) federal loan administrator. Jones's performance in the RFC won such high praise that, after his appointment (1940) as Secretary of Commerce, Congress transferred the RFC from the Federal Loan Agency to the Department of Commerce. His close ties with the business community made him indispensable to the Roosevelt administration, and during World War II he was one of the most powerful men in Washington, D.C. He retired from government service in 1945.


See his Fifty Billion Dollars (1951).

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Jones, Jesse Holman

(1874–1956) businessman, government official; born in Robertson County, Tenn. A lumber and real-estate magnate based in Houston, Texas, he provided financial support for the Democrats. Head of the Reconstruction Finance Committee (1932–40) he set loan terms for banks and corporations, becoming secretary of commerce (1940–45). Afterward he published the Houston Chronicle.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.