Alexander Trowbridge was born on December 12, 1929, in Englewood, New Jersey. He was the son of American University Professor of Russian History Alexander Buel Trowbridge, Jr., and the grandson of Alexander Buel Trowbridge, former dean of the Cornell University College of Architecture (1897-1902). His grandmother Gertrude Mary Sherman was the great-great-granddaughter of American founding father Roger Sherman. His mother, the former Julie Chamberlain, was the executive director of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation from 1942 to 1961. Trowbridge's parents divorced, and he was raised by his mother.
As a young man he attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1947, before graduating from Princeton University in 1951. After World War II he worked with various reconstruction efforts. After working with the International Intern Program of the United Nations in Lake Success, New York he attended university and served in the Korean War in the Marine Corps.
Between 1954 and 1965 he served as an oil businessman. In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson made him Assistant Secretary of Commerce. On 19 January 1967 he became acting Secretary of Commerce. He became Secretary of Commerce on 14 June 1967 and served until 1 March 1968, at age 36 the youngest Secretary of Commerce in American history. He resigned to return to business, serving first as the President of the American Management Association before joining Allied Chemical as Vice-Chairman of the Morristown,NJ-based parent company and Chairman of their Canadian subsidiary, Allied Chemical Canada Ltd. of Pointe-Claire (QC). He later served as head of the National Association of Manufacturers (from 1981 to 1989). In the early 1990s, he served as a member of the Competitiveness Policy Council.
As Secretary he proposed to re-merge the Department of Commerce with the Department of Labor.
- "Julie C. Herzog, Headed the Wilson Foundation." New York Times. May 15, 1980.
- Interestingly, Trowbridge's step-great-grandfather was also a Secretary of Commerce. Julie Chamberlain married Paul M. Herzog, the former Chairman of the United States National Labor Relations Board, in 1959. Interestingly, Herzog's first wife was the former Madeleine Schafer—the granddaughter of Oscar S. Straus, a former Secretary of Commerce and Labor under President Theodore Roosevelt and the first Jewish Cabinet Secretary) in 1929. See: "Paul M. Herzog, Dean at Harvard." New York Times. November 25, 1986; "Madeleine Schafer Engaged to Marry." New York Times. January 29, 1929.
- Saxon, Wolfgang. "Alexander Trowbridge, 76, Ex-Secretary of Commerce, Dies", The New York Times, April 28, 2006.
- Arlington National Cemetery
- NNDB Profile
- Phillips Andover Obit
- A.Buel Trowbridge, Professor At American University, Is Dead
- American President: Alexander B. Trowbridge (1967 - 1968)
- The College of Architecture: A True Art Sentiment
John Thomas Connor
|U.S. Secretary of Commerce
Served under: Lyndon B. Johnson
June 14, 1967 - March 1, 1968
C. R. Smith