Frank Polk

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Frank Polk

Frank Lyon Polk (September 13, 1871 in New York City — February 7, 1943) was a prominent United States lawyer and a name partner of the law firm today known as Davis Polk & Wardwell, and for some years held prominent diplomatic positions.


Polk graduated from Yale College[1] (B.A., 1894) and Columbia University Law School[1] (LL.B., 1897). He was a member of the Scroll and Key Society.

In 1897, Polk began his law practice in New York City. He served on a variety of City boards and commissions. He was member of the civil service commission of New York from 1907 to 1909, and in 1907 and 1910 was a member of the New York City Board of Education. On 24 January 1914 Mayor Mitchel appointed him corporation counsel, in which office he remained until his appointment on 16 September 1915 as counselor for the United States Department of State at Washington, D.C.[2]

He served in the Department of State as Counselor until 1919, and then as Acting Secretary of State (1920) and Under Secretary of State (1919–1920). Polk headed the American Commission to Negotiate Peace (1919), and after President Wilson's and Secretary Lansing's departure from Paris in 1919, he represented the United States at the peace conference.[3] He managed the 1924 Democratic presidential convention campaign of John W. Davis, another name partner of his law firm.

His portrait was painted by Sir Oswald Birley in 1923.

He died on February 7, 1943.


  1. ^ a b Frank_L._Polk
  2. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Polk, Frank Lyon". Encyclopedia Americana. 
  3. ^  "Polk, Frank Lyon". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Lansing
Secretary of State (Acting)
February 14 - March 12, 1920
Succeeded by
Bainbridge Colby
First Under Secretary of State
July 1, 1919 – June 15, 1920
Succeeded by
Norman H. Davis
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Henry M. Waite
President of the National Municipal League
1923 – 1927
Succeeded by
Richard S. Childs