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Jones, Jesse Holman

Jesse Holman Jones, 1874–1956, U.S. Secretary of Commerce (1940–45), b. Robertson co., Tenn. A lumber magnate, banker, and millionaire of Houston, Tex., Jones was appointed (1932) by President Hoover as a member of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). He became (1933) its chairman under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and, with the merging of the RFC with other federal agencies, he was appointed (1939) federal loan administrator. Jones's performance in the RFC won such high praise that, after his appointment (1940) as Secretary of Commerce, Congress transferred the RFC from the Federal Loan Agency to the Department of Commerce. His close ties with the business community made him indispensable to the Roosevelt administration, and during World War II he was one of the most powerful men in Washington, D.C. He retired from government service in 1945.

See his Fifty Billion Dollars (1951).

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