March 11th, 2017

book cover - tpbol

Cabinet: George Bancroft

On this date in 1845, George Bancroft became the 17th Secretary of the Navy. Born in Massachusetts in October 1800, he was a teacher, author, and historian. During his year and a half in his Cabinet post, he nearly single-handedly created the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. On September 9, 1846, he left the Cabinet to become minister plenipotentiary to London to settle the Oregon boundary dispute.

Bancroft was preceded and succeeded as Secretary of the Navy by John Y. Mason, whose interregnum from the post was filled with a term as Attorney General.

After Zachary Taylor's election, Bancroft retired to a life of writing, and was one of the founders (and the first president) of the American Geographical Society in the 1850s. He was also US Minister to Berlin from 1867 to 1874.

Bancroft died January 17, 1891, 44 years 130 days after retiring from the Cabinet. His is the second longest retirement of any Cabinet Secretary.