John Stephens Graham

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John Stephens Graham (1905–1976) was a Washington, D.C. attorney and political appointee. He was an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and commissioners for the Internal Revenue Service and Atomic Energy Commission.

Personal life[edit]

He was born August 4, 1905 in Reading, Massachusetts,[nb 1] son of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company executive Joseph L. Graham and artist Margaret Nowell Graham. He was the younger brother of Katherine G. Howard.[1][3] He was a cousin of Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell.[4]

Graham graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and attended Harvard Law School before graduating from University of Virginia School of Law[1][5] with close friend[citation needed] Frank Wisner.[6]

He married Elizabeth Foster Breckinridge (1901–October 25, 2005), daughter of Ruth Bradley Woodman Breckinridge[nb 2] and Henry S. Breckinridge, assistant secretary of war for Woodrow Wilson, and member of the prominent Breckinridge family. She was born in Monterey, Pennsylvania, grew up in Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland, and was a 1933 graduate of Vassar College.[7][nb 3] She was a tutor, teacher and founder of an after-school program, Tuesday School.[7]

Graham and his wife first lived in Winston-Salem. In 1942 they moved to Washington, D.C. where Graham served in the Navy. The couple had four daughters: Katherine, Louise, Polly, and Susan.[7]


Graham served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Harry S. Truman.[7] He served as Commissioner of Internal Revenue from 1952–53.[10] Until 1962, he was a commissioner of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission,[11][12][13] and was a delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency.[14]


Graham died in October 20, 1976 in Washington, D.C.[1][7] His wife, Elizabeth, lived until October 25, 2005, when she died following a heart attack.[7]


  1. ^ Derby states that Graham was born in Reading, Massachusetts,[1] as does the family census records.[2]
  2. ^ During World War II, Ruth Breckinridge traveled via the SS Maasdam for England where she was to work in London at a hospital as a house mother to Red Cross nurses. On June 27, 1941 the ship was attacked by a Nazi submarine near Iceland. Mrs. Breckinridge was lost at sea. In memory of her mother, Elizabeth Graham donated a family Concord, New Hampshire residence to the Red Cross. Until early 2005 it was the Red Cross' Concord headquarters.[7][8][9][subnote 1]
  3. ^ Elizabeth and her father were familiar with the Charles Lindberg family. In 1927 Lindbergh gave her her first airplane ride. Colonel Henry S. Breckinridge was made counsel for Lindbergh following the kidnapping of his young son.[7]


  1. ^ The Washington Post article states that Ruth Breckinridge was lost at sea on June 26, 1941, but the official sources state the ship was hit on June 27th.[7][8][9]


  1. ^ a b c d George Derby; James Terry White. The National Cyclopædia of American Biography: Being the History of the United States as Illustrated in the Lives of the Founders, Builders, and Defenders of the Republic, and of the Men and Women who are Doing the Work and Moulding the Thought of the Present Time. J. T. White. p. 365. 
  2. ^ Year: 1920; Census Place: Winston-Salem Ward 2, Forsyth, North Carolina; Roll: T625_1298; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 87; Image: 170.
  3. ^ Katherine G. Howard. With My Shoes Off. New York. Vantage Press. 1977. pg. 1–2, 19, 37, 40. ISBN 0-533-02950-3
  4. ^ Darden Asbury Pyron (1 October 1992). Southern Daughter: The Life of Margaret Mitchell. HarperPerennial. p. 653. ISBN 978-0-06-097501-2. 
  5. ^ Coast Guard Bulletin. U.S. Coast Guard. 1949. p. 168. 
  6. ^ Athan Theoharis, Richard Immerman, Loch Johnson, Kathryn Olmsted, and John Prados, "The Central Intelligence Agency: Security Under Scrutiny", Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006. ISBN 0-313-33282-7 doi:10.1336/0313332827
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Joe Holley. "Education Volunteer Elizabeth Graham, 94." The Washington Post. Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive. October 28, 2005. HighBeam Research, subscription required. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "NAVAL EVENTS, June 1941, Part 2 of 2, Sunday 15th – Monday 30th". Naval History. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Maasdam". Uboat. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Internal Revenue Service Databook 2009. Government Printing Office. 1 April 2010. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-16-085218-3. 
  11. ^ Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963. Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  12. ^ United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary (1962). Administrative procedure act amendments: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Eighty-seventh Congress, first session, pursuant to S. Res. 51 on S. 1734, to amend sections 7 and 8 of the Administrative procedure act. May 18, June 9, August 1, 1961. United States Govt. Print. Off. pp. 86–87. 
  13. ^ Andreas Wenger (1 January 1997). Living with Peril: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Nuclear Weapons. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-8476-8515-8. 
  14. ^ United States. President (1964). U.S. Participation in the International Atomic Energy Agency. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 37. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Noelia Penelope Greer (November 2011). John Stephens Graham. Patho Publishing. ISBN 978-613-8-52359-8. 
  • World Who's who in Commerce and Industry. Marquis-Who's Who. 1968. 

External links[edit]