Appointed by President Calvin Coolidge
Frank B. Kellogg occupied the office of secretary of state from 1925 until 1929, during the administration of President Calvin Coolidge. He began life under inauspicious circumstances. Had anyone considered his prospects in the beginning years of his life, that individual would have said at once that Kellogg would not, could not, go far. He was born in 1856 in Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, New York, and when eight years old, in the company of his family and other migrants, went out to the new and, from a distance, inviting farmland of Minnesota. The family farm did not prosper, and the life of the young man, a farmer as soon as he could work in the fields, was very difficult. Years later he described “the old, old story” of pioneering, the “far off and mysterious West, the railroad which he had never seen before, the steamship and the covered wagon on the prairies and the wilderness of the Northwest, the struggles in a wild and new land.” He attended a one-room country school from his 9th to 14th year. Caught out on the prairie in the great blizzard of 1873, he nearly lost his life.
To get away from the hard work and penury he studied law in the office of a lawyer in Rochester, Minnesota, supporting himself as a day laborer on local farms. Admitted to the bar in 1877, he considered the law a veritable lifeline. After a few years he received an invitation to join a firm in St. Paul when a senior partner, his cousin, Cushman Kellogg Davis, was chosen for the U.S. Senate.
There followed an extraordinarily successful practice in which Kellogg at first represented railroads and lumbermen and, after Theodore Roosevelt became president, took on government cases against monopolies, notably the Standard Oil Company. He won the case in 1911, and the victory gave him the presidency of the American Bar Association the next year.
Elected to the Senate in 1916, he served a single term and during the fight over the League of Nations was a so-called mild reservationist, willing to vote for the Treaty of Versailles with modest amendments. A Republican, he was defeated for