William D. Mitchell

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William D. Mitchell
William D. Mitchell cph.3b30394.jpg
54th United States Attorney General
In office
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
PresidentHerbert Hoover
Preceded byJohn G. Sargent
Succeeded byHomer Cummings
18th United States Solicitor General
In office
June 4, 1925 – March 4, 1929
PresidentCalvin Coolidge
Preceded byJames M. Beck
Succeeded byCharles Evans Hughes Jr.
Personal details
William DeWitt Mitchell

(1874-09-09)September 9, 1874
Winona, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedAugust 24, 1955(1955-08-24) (aged 80)
Syosset, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseGertrude Bancroft
EducationYale University
University of Minnesota (BA, LLB)
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Battles/warsSpanish–American War
World War I

William DeWitt Mitchell (September 9, 1874 – August 24, 1955) was an American attorney who had served as both Solicitor General of the United States under President Calvin Coolidge and United States Attorney General under President Herbert Hoover.

Early life and education[edit]

Mitchell was born in Winona, Minnesota to William B. Mitchell, a Minnesota Supreme Court Justice, and the former Frances Merritt. Mitchell originally attended Yale University where he studied electrical engineering before becoming interested in law.

After attending Yale for two years, Mitchell transferred to the University of Minnesota, where he received his A.B. degree in 1895 and a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Afterwards, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota Law School where he received his LL.B. degree in 1896. Shortly after graduating from law school, Mitchell was admitted to the Minnesota State Bar Association and practiced law in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He married the former Gertrude Bancroft on June 27, 1901. They had two sons which were William and Bancroft Mitchell.


Time magazine cover of William D. Mitchell, (January 27, 1930).

He formed the law firm of How, Taylor & Mitchell, which became prominent in the Midwest. This prestige allowed Mitchell access to both the regional council of the U.S. Railroad Administration in 1919, and then he served as chairman of the Citizens Charter Committee of St. Paul in 1922.

Military service[edit]

He served as a line officer with the 15th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment and later an acting judge advocate for the United States Second Army Corps during the Spanish–American War.[1][2] From 1899 to 1901 he was an engineer officer for the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division and later adjutant for the 4th Infantry Regiment of the Minnesota Army National Guard.[2] During the First World War he served with the 6th Infantry Regiment of the Minnesota Army National Guard and later served at Camp Taylor, Kentucky until the war was over. He reached the rank of Colonel.[1][2]

Government service[edit]

His combined military service placed him in position to be appointed to the position of Solicitor General of the United States. Having served well in his position, President Hoover appointed him Attorney General of the United States from March 4, 1929, and he held that office until March 4, 1933, one of his principal acts having been to order the Bonus Army dispersed and their camp destroyed.

Later career[edit]

Mitchell then settled in New York City where he practiced law. He was named chairman of the Committee on Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and chief counsel of the joint congressional committee investigating the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mitchell died there in Syosset, New York on August 24, 1955, at the age of 80.


External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by Solicitor General
Succeeded by
Preceded by U.S. Attorney General
Served under: Herbert Hoover

Succeeded by