Frank B. Kellogg

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Frank B. Kellogg
45th United States Secretary of State
In office
March 5, 1925 – March 28, 1929
PresidentCalvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Preceded byCharles Evans Hughes
Succeeded byHenry L. Stimson
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
January 14, 1924 – February 10, 1925
PresidentCalvin Coolidge
Preceded byGeorge Harvey
Succeeded byAlanson B. Houghton
United States Senator
from Minnesota
In office
March 4, 1917 – March 4, 1923
Preceded byMoses E. Clapp
Succeeded byHenrik Shipstead
Personal details
Frank Billings Kellogg

(1856-12-22)December 22, 1856
Potsdam, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 21, 1937(1937-12-21) (aged 80)
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Clara Cook
AwardsLegion of Honour

Frank Billings Kellogg (December 22, 1856 – December 21, 1937) was an American lawyer, politician, and statesman who served in the U.S. Senate and as U.S. Secretary of State.[1] He co-authored the Kellogg–Briand Pact, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Portrait of Kellogg by Philip de László.

Kellogg was born in Potsdam, New York, on December 22, 1856, the son of Abigail (Billings) and Asa Farnsworth Kellogg.[3] His family moved to Minnesota in 1865.[4]

Kellogg read law and began practicing law in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1877. He served as city attorney of Rochester 1878–1881 and county attorney for Olmsted County, Minnesota, from 1882 to 1887. He moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1886.[4]

In 1905, Kellogg joined the federal government when Theodore Roosevelt asked Kellogg to prosecute a federal antitrust case.[5] In 1906, Kellogg was appointed special counsel to the Interstate Commerce Commission for its investigation of E. H. Harriman. In 1908, he was appointed to lead the federal prosecution against Union Pacific Railroad, under the Sherman Antitrust Act.[6][7][8] His most important case was Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911). Following this successful prosecution, he was elected president of the American Bar Association (1912–1913).

In 1907, he was elected as a Compatriot of the Minnesota Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.[9]

United States Senate[edit]

In 1916, Kellogg was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate from Minnesota and served from March 4, 1917 to March 4, 1923 in the 65th, 66th, and 67th Congresses. During the ratification battle for the Treaty of Versailles, he was one of the few Republicans who supported ratification. He lost his re-election bid in 1922 and, in 1923, he was a delegate to the Fifth International Conference of American States at Santiago, Chile.[4]

Ambassador to Great Britain[edit]

Time cover, 28 September 1925

In 1924, he was appointed by President Calvin Coolidge as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Great Britain,[10] serving from January 14, 1924 to February 10, 1925. He succeeded George Brinton McClellan Harvey who served under Warren G. Harding and was succeeded by Alanson B. Houghton so that Kellogg could assume the role of Secretary of State.[4]

Secretary of State[edit]

1927 hand signed passport by Frank B. Kellogg as Secretary of State

From 1925 to 1929, he served as the United States Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Coolidge.[11] In 1928, he was awarded the Freedom of the City in Dublin, Ireland and in 1929 the government of France made him a member of the Legion of Honour.[4]

As Secretary of State, he was responsible for improving U.S.–Mexican relations and helping to resolve the long-standing Tacna–Arica controversy between Peru and Chile. His most significant accomplishment, however, was the Kellogg–Briand Pact, signed in 1928. Proposed by its other namesake, French foreign minister Aristide Briand, the treaty intended to provide for "the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy." He was awarded the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition.[4][12][13]

He was associate judge of the Permanent Court of International Justice from 1930 to 1935.[14][15][16][17]

Kellogg was self-conscious about his lack of academic credentials; he attended a one-room country school and dropped out at age 14. He never attended high school, college or law school. His only advanced training came from clerking in a private lawyer's office. Kellogg grew up in a poor farm in Minnesota, and lacked a commanding presence or the sophistication to deal with the aristocrats who dominated European diplomacy. As Secretary of State, his main focus was Latin America, where he dealt with brutal but unsophisticated strongmen. His staff provided the ideas, and they appreciated that he was always open, candid, and easy to communicate with. He helped end the battle between the Mexican government and the Catholic Church, but failed to resolve the dispute over ownership of the oil reserves. In the Far East, he followed the advice of Nelson Johnson, the new chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs. They favored China and protected it from threats from Japan. They successfully negotiated tariff reform with China, thereby giving enhanced status to the Kuomintang and helping get rid of the unequal treaties.[18] As for Europe he was primarily interested with expanding the limitations on naval armaments that been established by the Washington Treaty; he made little progress. Kellogg gained international fame, and the Nobel Peace Prize, with the Kellogg–Briand Pact. It was endorsed by nearly every nation and made starting a war a punishable criminal action. It formed the legal basis for the trial and execution of German and Japanese war leaders after 1945.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Kellogg's former residence in Washington, D.C.

In 1886, Kellogg was married to Clara May Cook (1861–1942), the daughter of George Clinton Cook (1828–1901) and Elizabeth (née Burns) Cook (1838–1908).[20]

In 1880, he became a member of the Masonic Lodge Rochester No. 21, where he received the degrees of freemasonry on April 1, April 19, and May 3.[21]

He died from pneumonia, following a stroke, on the eve of his 81st birthday in St. Paul.[1] He was buried at the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea in Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.[4]


In 1937, he endowed the Kellogg Foundation for Education in International Relations at Carleton College, where he was a trustee.[22] His house in St. Paul, the Frank B. Kellogg House was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[23]

The following were named in his honor:


Frank B. Kellogg's papers are available for research use at the Minnesota Historical Society. They include correspondence and miscellaneous papers, State Department duplicates, news clippings scrapbooks, awards, floor plans, honorary degrees, maps, memorials and memoranda.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Frank B. Kellogg Dies At Age Of 81 [sic]. Winner of Nobel Peace Prize for Pact Outlawing War, Ex-Secretary of State". The New York Times. December 22, 1937. Retrieved December 16, 2014. Frank B. Kellogg, former World Court judge and Secretary of State, died at 7:28 P. M., Guy Chase, his law partner, announced tonight.
  2. ^ "The Nobel Peace Prize 1929". Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  3. ^ Sobel, Robert (1990). Biographical Directory of the United States Executive Branch, 1774-1989. ISBN 9780313265938.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "KELLOGG, Frank Billings - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  5. ^ Frank B. Kellogg on Edit this at Wikidata, accessed 29 April 2020
  6. ^ "TAFT DECLINES COMMENT.; F.B. Kellogg, in Conference with Candidate, Also Silent Now". The New York Times. July 23, 1908. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  7. ^ "Article 2 -- No Title". The New York Times. November 21, 1909. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  8. ^ Neubeck, Deborah Kahn. "Collection Finding Aids, Frank B. Kellogg chronology". Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  9. ^[full citation needed]
  10. ^ "2,000 NOMINATIONS MADE BY COOLIDGE; List Is Headed by Frank B. Kellogg for Ambassador to Britain". The New York Times. December 11, 1923. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  11. ^ "SACASA PROTESTS KELLOGG'S COURSE; Said to Have Threatened in Message to Rouse Latin America Against Us. WILL KEEP UP THE FIGHT He Promptly Denies Story That He Is Giving Up in Face of Our Opposition". The New York Times. January 15, 1927. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  12. ^ Times, Wireless To The New York (November 29, 1930). "KELLOGG TO GO TO OSLO.; But Nobel Peace Prize Winner Is Uncertain When He Can Pay Visit". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  13. ^ Times, Wireless To The New York (November 27, 1929). "Kellogg Gets Honorary Degree at Oxford; Outstanding Candidate for Nobel Peace Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  14. ^ Photo, Manley O. Hudson, Bemis Professor Of International Law, Harvard Law School times Wide World (October 12, 1930). "WHO'S WHO OF THE JUDGES ELECTED TO WORLD COURT; FRANK B. KELLOGG". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  15. ^ Kellogg, Frank B. (December 24, 1933). "THE ROAD TO PEACE". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  16. ^ "CABINET MEMBERS EXPLAIN NEW DEAL; Cummings and Roper Urge at Rollins College Education as Aid to Government. BOTH RECEIVE DEGREES College at Founders' Day Celebration Honors Frank B. Kellogg for World Peace Efforts". The New York Times. February 27, 1934. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  17. ^ Installation ceremony of Frank B. Kellogg at Permanent Court of International Justice, The Hague (1930), at YouTube.
  18. ^ Russell D. Buhite, "Nelson Johnson and American Policy Toward China, 1925-1928." Pacific Historical Review (1966): 451-465 online.
  19. ^ Edward Mihalkanin, ed. (2004). American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell. pp. 293-98.
  20. ^ "MRS. F. B. KELL0GG, DIPLOMAT'S WIDOW; Was Hostess for Her Husband Co-Author of Peace Pact and Ex-Secretary of State DIES AT ST. PAUL HOME Aided Mrs. Coolidge at White House FetesmCouple Marked 50th Anniversary in 1936". The New York Times. October 3, 1942. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  21. ^ Denslow, William R. (1957). "10,000 Famous Freemasons". The Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library. Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  22. ^ "CARLETON COLLEGE GETS $500,000 GIFT; Frank B. Kellogg Establishes Unit for Study of International Relations". The New York Times. June 8, 1937. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  23. ^ "Frank B. Kellogg House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on April 3, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
  24. ^ Millett, Larry (2007). AIA Guide to the Twin Cities: The Essential Source on the Architecture of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-87351-540-5.
  25. ^ Frank B. Kellogg Papers

Further reading[edit]

  • Bryn-Jones, David (1937). Frank B. Kellogg: A Biography. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. (Reprinted in 2007: ISBN 978-1-4325-8982-0)
  • Carroll, Francis M. "9. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg Comes to Ireland, 1928." in America and the Making of an Independent Ireland (New York University Press, 2021) pp. 184-198.
  • Ellis, Lewis Ethan (1961). Frank B. Kellogg and American foreign relations, 1925-1929. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.
  • Ellis, Lewis Ethan (1968). Republican foreign policy, 1921–1933.
  • Ellis, L. Ethan (1961). "Frank B. Kellogg" in An Uncertain Tradition: American Secretaries of State in the 20th Century. ed. Norman A. Graebner. pp. 149–67.
  • Ferrell, Robert H. Frank B. Kellogg & Henry L. Stimson: The American Secretaries of State and their diplomacy. Cooper Square Publishers, 1963. online
  • Rhodes, Benjamin D. (2001). United States Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period, 1918–1941: The Golden Age of American Diplomatic and Military Complacency. pp. 57–72.
  • Weber, Eric. "Kellogg, Frank Billings (1856–1937)". MNopedia. Minnesota Historical Society.

Primary sources[edit]

  • Kellogg, Frank (1925). China's Outstanding Problems. OCLC 40941492.
  • Kellogg, Frank B. "American Policy and Chinese Affairs." American Bar Association Journal 11.9 (1925): 576-579. online
  • Kellogg, Frank B. “Some Foreign Policies of the United States.” Foreign Affairs, vol. 4, no. 2, 1926, pp. i-xvii. online
  • Kellogg, Frank B. "The World Court." Minnesota Law Review 14 (1929): 711+ online.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
First Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
(Class 1)

1916, 1922
Succeeded by
Arthur E. Nelson
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Moses E. Clapp
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Knute Nelson
Succeeded by
Henrik Shipstead
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
George Harvey
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Alanson B. Houghton
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Evans Hughes
United States Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Henry L. Stimson