Hall of Secretaries
Portrait Artist: Hans Schlereth
James J. Davis
Tenure: March 5, 1921 to November 30, 1930
Born in Wales; emigrated at age eight to Pennsylvania and went straight to work in the steel mill as a puddler's assistant (he always liked to be called "Puddler Jim"). Active in the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers. A leader in the Loyal Order of the Moose, a fraternal organization.
Appointed by Warren Harding. The major problems of his tenure related to immigration, which was then a DOL responsibility. Established a Border Patrol to reduce flow of illegal aliens, called for restrictions in the number of immigrants. Also, he strengthened labor statistics, encouraged labor-management cooperation and, with support from the iron and steel workers union, persuaded U.S. Steel to abolish the 12-hour work day. He was the only Secretary to serve three Presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover.
Went on to serve in the Senate, where he was co-sponsor of the Davis-Bacon Act.