Joshua W. Alexander

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Joshua Alexander
2nd United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
December 16, 1919 – March 4, 1921
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
Preceded byWilliam C. Redfield
Succeeded byHerbert Hoover
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1907 – December 15, 1919
Preceded byFrank B. Klepper
Succeeded byJacob L. Milligan
Member of the Missouri House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Joshua Willis Alexander

(1852-01-22)January 22, 1852
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
DiedFebruary 27, 1936(1936-02-27) (aged 84)
Gallatin, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseRoe Richardson
Children8, including George
EducationCulver-Stockton College (BA)

Joshua Willis Alexander (January 22, 1852 – February 27, 1936) was United States secretary of commerce from December 16, 1919, to March 4, 1921, in the administration of President Woodrow Wilson.[1]


Born on January 22, 1852, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Thomas Willis Alexander and Jane (née Robinson). Alexander attended Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, and later moved to Gallatin, Missouri, where he served as mayor and then as a state representative in the Missouri General Assembly (1883–1887).[1] He served as a judge on Missouri's 17th Circuit until 1905.[1]

Alexander, a member of the United States Democratic Party, served as a United States representative from Missouri from 1907 until his resignation to become Commerce Secretary in 1919.[1] He served as chairman of the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and took a lead role in shaping wartime shipping legislation, which drew him to the attention of President Wilson.[2] He also gained prominence for his service as Chairman of the United States Commission to the international conference on the safety of life at sea in London in 1913.[3]

After his tenure as Secretary of Commerce, Alexander returned to the practice of law in Missouri.[3] He served as a delegate to the state's constitutional convention in 1922–23.

He died there on February 27, 1936, at the age of 84, eighteen years later, after retiring in Gallatin.[3] Alexander was interred in Brown Cemetery in Gallatin.

Joshua W. Alexander was a brother of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Phi chapter).


Alexander married, the former Roe Ann Richardson (February 3, 1859 - March 18, 1940), the daughter of a judge, on February 3, 1876.[3] The couple had eight children.[3]

Alexander's son, aviator Walter Alexander, was killed in a propeller accident at Bolling Field in 1920.[4] Another son, George F. Alexander, became a federal judge in Juneau, Alaska.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d TO SUCCEED W.C. REDFIELD.; Joshua W. Alexander of Missouri New Secretary of Commerce, The New York Times, Dec. 3, 1919
  2. ^ a b JW Alexander, Wilson Aide, Dies, The New York Times, Feb 28, 1936
  3. ^ a b c d e Judge Alexander, 84, Passes in Missouri, The Atlanta Constitution, Feb 28, 1936
  4. ^ Airplane Propeller Kills Walter Alexander, Aviator Son of the Secretary of Commerce, New York Times, Sept. 22, 1920

External links[edit]

  • United States Congress. "Joshua W. Alexander (id: A000098)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the House Merchant Marine Committee
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by United States Secretary of Commerce
Succeeded by