John Stephens Graham

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John Stephens Graham
Commissioner of Internal Revenue
In office
November 19, 1952 – January 19, 1953
President Harry S. Truman
Preceded by John B. Dunlap
Succeeded by Justin F. Winkle (Acting)
United States Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury
In office
President Harry S. Truman
Personal details
Born August 4, 1905
Reading, Massachusetts
Died October 20, 1976 (aged 71)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Foster Breckinridge
Relations Katherine G. Howard (sister)
Henry S. Breckinridge (father-in-law)
Margaret Mitchell (cousin)
Children 4
Parents Joseph L. Graham
Margaret Nowell Graham
Alma mater University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Virginia School of Law

John Stephens Graham (August 4, 1905 – October 20, 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.

Early life and education[edit]

Graham was born August 4, 1905 in Reading, Massachusetts,[nb 1] son of Joseph L. Graham, a R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company executive, and Margaret Nowell Graham, an artist. His older sister was Katherine G. Howard, an Eisenhower administration official.[1][3] He was a cousin of Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone With the Wind.[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 Frank Wisner.[6]


During World War II, Graham served in the United States Navy.[7]

Graham served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during the second term of President Harry S. Truman and Secretary of the Treasury John Wesley Snyder.[8] He served as the 30th Commissioner of Internal Revenue[9] from November 19, 1952 until January 19, 1953.[10]

After Dwight D. Eisenhower became president in 1953, Graham became a financial and business consultant in Washington, D.C. until 1956, when he served as national treasurer for Volunteers for Stevenson, the campaign to elect Adlai Stevenson President of the United States, against incumbent President Eisenhower.

On September 12, 1957, when Graham was 51, he was appointed as a commissioner of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission by Eisenhower,[7] and as a delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency.[11] The President, along with partisan Lewis Strauss, both Republicans, appointed Graham, a Democrat, to fill out John von Neumann's term following Neumann's death. This was done as a show of conciliation between the President and the Joint Committee[7] Graham served as a commissioner on the Commission until June 30, 1962.[12][13][14]

Personal life[edit]

He married Elizabeth Foster Breckinridge (1911–2005),[15] daughter of Henry S. Breckinridge and Ruth Bradley Woodman Breckinridge.[nb 2] Elizabeth's father was the United States Assistant Secretary of War under Woodrow Wilson, and was a 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.[8][nb 3] She was a tutor, teacher and founder of an after-school program, Tuesday School.[8]

Graham and his wife lived in Winston-Salem, N.C. before moving to Washington, D.C. in 1942 where Graham served in the Navy. The couple had four daughters:[8]

  • Katherine Graham
  • Louise Graham
  • Margaret "Polly" Graham, who married Joseph Coreth (1937-2014)[18]
  • Susan Graham

Graham died in October 20, 1976 in Washington, D.C.[1][8] His wife, Elizabeth, lived until October 25, 2005, when she died following a heart attack.[8]


  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.[8][16][17][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.[8]


  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.[8][16][17]


  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 Anders, Richard G. Hewlett and Jack M. Holl ; with a foreword by Richard S. Kirkendall and an essay on sources by Roger M. (1989). Atoms for peace and war, 1953-1961 Eisenhower and the Atomic Energy Commission. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 408. ISBN 0520060180. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Internal Revenue Service Databook 2009. Government Printing Office. 1 April 2010. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-16-085218-3. 
  10. ^ "Internal Revenue Service Data Book 2003" (PDF). Retrieved September 13, 2007. 
  11. ^ United States. President (1964). U.S. Participation in the International Atomic Energy Agency. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 37. 
  12. ^ Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963. Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Andreas Wenger (1 January 1997). Living with Peril: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Nuclear Weapons. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-8476-8515-8. 
  15. ^ Staff (October 29, 2005). "'Elizabeth Graham, WASHINGTON, D.C. -'". Concord Monitor. Retrieved 26 March 2016. [permanent dead link]
  16. ^ a b "NAVAL EVENTS, June 1941, Part 2 of 2, Sunday 15th – Monday 30th". Naval History. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "Maasdam". Uboat. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  18. ^ Coreth. "In Memory of Joseph Herman CORETH". Joseph Gawler's Sons, LLC. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 

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]

Government offices
Preceded by
John B. Dunlap
Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Succeeded by
Justin F. Winkle