Portrait of an Agency

Secretarial Portraits at the U.S. Department of the Interior

By U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Presented by the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Postcard: U.S. Department of the Interior (circa 1939)U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Secretarial Portraits

Since the U.S. Department of the Interior's founding in 1849, more than 50 men and women have served as secretary of the Interior. They have been lawyers, administrators or politicians. Others still have come from academia, corporate America and even the field of medicine. For most, Interior represented one of many stops in a career of public service; for a few, it was the only public office ever held. Out of somewhat eclectic origins as a "bucket of executive fragments" coalesced a U.S. Department of the Interior responsible for a portfolio of the nation's most pressing concerns and most precious resources. As the country expanded, so too did the role of the Department, and yet many of the issues secretaries faced in the 19th century still resonate with their contemporaries in the 21st. The average tenure of a secretary of the Interior is approximately three and a half years. Whether serving as few as 12 days or for more than 12 years, each secretary has left a mark on the office. While it is difficult to generalize about such a diverse group over the span of three separate centuries, they have all resided at the intersection of presidential agendas, congressional acts, current events and public opinion. In balancing development with stewardship they commit to deal directly in the arenas about which Americans care so passionately. The tradition of secretarial portraiture is as old as the federal agencies themselves. Typically the portraits are commissioned near the end of a term and are painted from life. The artists who have rendered them are often among the most renowned portraitists of their eras. These portraits are held in trust for the American people as part of the collection of the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum. To trace the history of the Department through these portraits is to gain unique insight into American history.

Thomas Ewing Sr. (1861) by John Mix StanleyU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Thomas Ewing Sr. (1789–1871)

Served under Presidents Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore, 1849–1850
Portrait by John Mix Stanley (1814–1872), 1861
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01605

Ewing was a leading lawyer of the era. His initial foray into politics included a term as U.S. senator from Ohio and six months as secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Harrison and Tyler. President Taylor tapped Ewing as the first secretary of the Interior when the Department was established in 1849, inheriting disparate functions cast off from other Departments. Ewing was a proponent of westward expansion and a transcontinental railroad but was immediately responsible for the Land, Patent, and Pension Offices; Indian Affairs; and public buildings. Ewing earned the moniker “Butcher Ewing” for replacing employees on a partisan basis. At its inception, the Department occupied rented space at 15th and F Streets, N.W.

This is one of two secretarial portraits painted by John Mix Stanley, an artist-explorer widely respected for his landscapes of the American West and portraits of American Indians. A fire in 1865 destroyed most of Stanley's work, so his surviving pieces are relatively scarce.

Thomas M. T. McKennan (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Thomas M. T. McKennan (1794–1852)

Served under President Millard Fillmore, 1850
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01606

McKennan had been Pennsylvania's deputy attorney general and also served in the U.S. House of Representatives. After much external pressure, McKennan accepted the secretary of the Interior appointment but immediately regretted his decision. Resigning after just 12 days in the position, McKennan holds the distinction of serving the shortest term as secretary. By virtue of his brief tenure, however, McKennan was fleetingly the head of the 1850 Census and had officially expressed concern about privacy protection in terms of the data collected. McKennan went on to become president of the Hempfield Railroad.

Artist Henry Salem Hubbell (1870-1949) ultimately painted portraits of 17 secretaries of the Interior. Thirty-second secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes considered the artist a family friend and owned some of his works, so it was not surprising that Ickes turned to him to paint his official secretarial portrait in 1934. When Ickes learned that several past secretarial portraits had been rendered simply as crayon drawings incongruous with the other existing paintings, he again enlisted Hubbell. The artist took the additional commissions very seriously. Since many secretaries were long since deceased, Hubbell conducted exhaustive research to ensure faithful likenesses, including corresponding with secretaries' descendants to verify eye color and hair style, and—where available—consulting photographs and other known works.

Alexander H. H. Stuart (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Alexander H. H. Stuart (1807–1891)

Served under President Millard Fillmore, 1850–1853
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01607

Serving two and a half years as secretary of the Interior, Virginia lawyer Stuart lent stability to the leadership of the young Department satirically known as the "Great Miscellany." Stuart focused on organizational improvements, setting policies and defining roles and responsibilities within a newly introduced civil service system. The result was a more efficient Department of the Interior that had a more favorable reputation and a better relationship with Congress.

Robert McClelland (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Robert McClelland (1807–1880)

Served under President Franklin Pierce, 1853–1857
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01608

McClelland served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and two terms as governor of Michigan prior to being appointed secretary of the Interior by President Pierce. Realizing that the Department’s management of public lands, the pension system, and Indian Affairs was susceptible to corruption, McClelland committed to enacting administrative reforms that curried him little favor among land speculators. Upon leaving Washington, D.C., at the conclusion of Pierce's term, McClelland returned to Detroit to practice law.

Jacob Thompson (1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Jacob Thompson (1810–1885)

Served under President James Buchanan, 1857–1861
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01609

Thompson served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and chaired the Committee on Indian Affairs. During his years as Interior secretary, the Department accrued additional responsibilities, including the Boundary Surveys of Texas and California; the Copyright Office; and jurisdiction over both the Potomac Water Works and what is now Gallaudet University. With the secession of his home state of Mississippi and the outbreak of the Civil War, Thompson resigned his post at Interior. He went on to become inspector general of the Confederate States Army and orchestrated several anti-Union plots. Thompson was even suspected—but never convicted—of a role in President Lincoln's assassination, forcing him into exile in Europe and Canada. He returned to Mississippi in 1868 and ultimately resided in Tennessee.

Caleb Blood Smith (1861) by John Mix StanleyU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Caleb Blood Smith (1808–1864)

Served under President Abraham Lincoln, 1861–1862
Portrait by John Mix Stanley (1814–1872), 1861
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01610

Smith practiced law and served in the Indiana House of Representatives. His strong support of Abraham Lincoln's presidential campaign led to his appointment as secretary of the Interior. Smith was in ill health, however, so his tenure was unremarkable save for the historic 1862 signing of the Homestead Act—the administration of which fell to the Department's General Land Office. Smith left Interior later that same year to fill a seat on the U.S. District Court in Indiana but died shortly after.

John Palmer Usher (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

John Palmer Usher (1816–1889)

Served under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, 1863–1865
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01611

Usher was an able attorney who had briefly been Indiana's attorney general. He came to the nation's capital to serve at the Department of the Interior as assistant secretary for a fellow Indianan, Secretary Smith. As Smith's health and inclination for the office declined, Usher was effectively the acting secretary, and President Lincoln nominated him as the logical successor after Smith's resignation. Usher had little political influence or stature, however, and made limited contributions. While he took a slightly more humanitarian approach to Indian affairs than many of his contemporaries, his interests increasingly favored the Pacific Railroad project. After leaving the Department, he became the solicitor for the Kansas Pacific Railroad and served a term as the mayor of Lawrence, Kansas.

James Harlan (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

James Harlan (1820–1899)

Served under President Andrew Johnson, 1865–1866
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01612

Harlan was a lay Methodist minister and president of what is now known as Iowa Wesleyan College. As a U.S. senator from that state, he was responsible for the passage of the original Homestead Act of 1862. Although President Lincoln had Harlan confirmed as Secretary Usher’s successor at the Department of the Interior in 1865, he had not taken office at the time of Lincoln's assassination and therefore had to be renominated by President Johnson. As secretary, Harlan replaced three bureau chiefs and somewhat controversially dismissed scores of pensioners—most notably Walt Whitman. Harlan resigned in 1866, when he felt he could no longer support President Johnson's policies but was almost immediately re-elected to his U.S. Senate seat, where he chaired the committees on Public Lands, the District of Columbia, Education and Indian Affairs.

Orville Hickman Browning (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Orville Hickman Browning (1806–1881)

Served under President Andrew Johnson, 1866–1869
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01613

During his time as an Illinois lawyer and state senator, Browning developed a close relationship with Abraham Lincoln. In 1861 Browning came to Washington, D.C., to fill Stephen Douglas' seat in the U.S. Senate and for a couple of years partnered with former Interior Secretary Thomas Ewing in a private law and lobbying firm. As President Johnson's secretary of the Interior, Browning favored a peaceful approach toward Indian affairs, believing that focusing funding and efforts on diplomacy could alleviate the need for troops in the West. The Office of Education was also added to the Department's portfolio during Browning's tenure. Browning remained loyal to President Johnson during the impeachment trial but returned to Illinois in 1869 to practice law.

Jacob Dolson Cox (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Jacob Dolson Cox (1828–1900)

Served under President Ulysses S. Grant, 1869–1870
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01614

Cox was a major general in the Union Army under General Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War. He had already practiced law and been a school superintendent and state senator, but Cox's military distinctions advanced his political career, and he was elected for a single term as governor of Ohio in 1865. Cox was teaching law in Cincinnati when now President Grant tapped him to serve as his secretary of the Interior. Since Cox had been born in Canada, he was the Department's first foreign-born secretary. Cox was an ardent supporter of civil service reform and introduced a merit system. A Board of Indian Commissioners was established, and Cox personally believed in honoring tribal treaties. Grant and Cox were increasingly at odds on policy, however, and Cox ultimately resigned when it became clear that Grant's support for him had waned. Cox went on to serve a term in Congress and then became involved in academia and wrote several books on the Civil War.

Columbus Delano (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Columbus Delano (1809–1896)

Served under President Ulysses S. Grant, 1870–1875
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01615

Prior to being appointed Secretary of the Interior, Delano had served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and a year as President Grant's commissioner of Internal Revenue. Despite having the longest tenure of any Interior secretary up to that point, Delano could point to few accomplishments and was not considered adept at managing the growing demands on the Department. He did authorize the Hayden Expedition leading to the 1872 creation of Yellowstone National Park but was otherwise plagued by the Red Cloud investigation and the departure of several Indian Commissioners upset over favoritism in awarding contracts. Delano ultimately resigned amid controversy over nepotism, corruption and fraudulent land grants. Upon returning to Ohio, he became a bank president, oversaw the National Wool Growers Association and was a trustee of Kenyon College.

Zachariah Chandler (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Zachariah Chandler (1813–1879)

Served under President Ulysses S. Grant, 1875–1877
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01616

Originally from New Hampshire, Chandler moved to Michigan and became a successful Detroit business owner and mayor of that city. He helped establish Michigan's Republican Party and served three terms as a U.S. senator. As secretary of the Interior, Chandler aggressively investigated corruption, and his rapid reforms in Indian Affairs, the Pension Bureau and the General Land Office earned him the reputation of being one of the most capable administrators in the Department's early history. Simultaneously he chaired the Republican National Committee, helping Rutherford B. Hayes to a successful presidential bid. After leaving the Department, Chandler was re-elected for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate, but he died in 1879 after just eight months in office.

Carl Schurz (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Carl Schurz (1829–1906)

Served under President Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877–1881
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01617

Schurz fought with the German revolutionary army against the Prussians before emigrating to America in 1852. He attained his U.S. citizenship while living in Wisconsin. An early supporter of Abraham Lincoln's presidential bid, Schurz served as his envoy to Spain, a brigadier general of a German regiment during the Civil War, and investigator of conditions in southern states after the war. He became a newspaper editor in Detroit and then in St. Louis and was elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri. President Hayes appointed Schurz to be secretary of the Interior, where he made further reforms to civil service and Indian Affairs. He took an enlightened approach to the treatment of tribes. In advocating for the creation of federal forest preserves, Schurz became the Department's first notable conservationist. The U.S. Geological Survey was founded during his tenure. He left Washington, D.C., and politics for New York City, where he edited the New York Evening Post, wrote for Harper’s Weekly and became president of the National Civil Service Reform League. There are numerous commemorations of his legacy, including Mount Schurz in Yellowstone; a World War II Liberty ship; Schurz Park, which serves as the grounds of the New York City mayor's mansion; and a 1983 U.S. postage stamp.

Samuel Jordan Kirkwood (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Samuel Jordan Kirkwood (1813–1894)

Served under Presidents James A. Garfield and
Chester A. Arthur, 1881–1882
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01618

Mill owner Kirkwood helped found Iowa's Republican Party and became that state's popular Civil War governor, staunchly supporting President Lincoln's policies. When U.S. Senator James Harlan—a fellow Iowan—was selected as President Johnson's secretary of the Interior, Kirkwood filled his senate seat though eventually returned home for another stint as governor. Kirkwood was reelected to the U.S. Senate in 1877 but resigned when he, too, was appointed to head the Department of the Interior. Kirkwood was 67 years of age, making him the oldest Interior secretary upon taking office. In his short term of just over a year, Kirkwood tried to further reform Indian Affairs by requesting more funds for Indian education and advocating for fewer, smaller Indian reservations. Today, a statue of Kirkwood is one of two representing Iowa in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

Henry Moore Teller (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Henry Moore Teller (1830–1914)

Served under President Chester A. Arthur, 1882–1885
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01619

Seeing opportunity in gold mining camps, Teller headed West and opened a law practice in Colorado in 1861. He became major general of Colorado's territorial militia, president of the Colorado Central Railroad, and ultimately—upon Colorado statehood in 1876—one of the state's first two senators. President Arthur's selection of Teller as his secretary of the Interior in 1882 represented the first presidential Cabinet member to come out of a truly western state. Teller opposed creating national forests or parks and increased federal land for settlement and logging. He defended Indian land rights and reformed Indian schools to include vocational training. Teller left the Department when President Cleveland was elected and went on to serve four more terms in the U.S. Senate.

Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (1825–1893)

Served under President Grover Cleveland, 1885–1888
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01620

Lamar was a Mississippi lawyer and university professor. He served in Congress prior to the Civil War, saw military service as a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate Army, and then returned to Congress first as a representative and then as a senator during the Reconstruction Era. As secretary of the Interior, Lamar was among the first southerners to receive a Cabinet appointment after the Civil War, thus contributing to national reconciliation. He favored the allotment of Indian lands, which ultimately removed millions of acres of Indian land from Indian ownership and control; the passage of the Dawes Act in 1887 would have serious and long-lasting ramifications on Indian relations. As a fiscal conservative, he eliminated the Department's fleet of horse-drawn carriages. Lamar resigned his post in 1888 to fill a vacancy as an associate justice of the Supreme Court—the first former Confederate so nominated. He is one of only two people in U.S. history to serve in the House and Senate, as a Cabinet member, and on the Supreme Court.

William Freeman Vilas (1935/1936) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

William Freeman Vilas (1840–1908)

Served under President Grover Cleveland, 1888–1889
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1935–1936
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01621

Vilas achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel during the Civil War. He fought alongside General Grant's Army of the Tennessee at the siege and fall of Vicksburg, and a statue of Vilas stands at Vicksburg National Military Park to this day. After the war Vilas returned to Wisconsin to practice and teach law, developing a reputation as a strong orator. Vilas joined President Cleveland's Cabinet as the postmaster general. Three years later, Vilas was still in Cleveland's Cabinet but had become secretary of the Interior, replacing Lucius Lamar after his move to the Supreme Court. At Interior, Vilas reduced the budget, cleared a backlog of legal issues, and further structured the Department. He favored dams, logging and Indian land allotment. After leaving office, he served a term in the U.S. Senate and then became a regent at the University of Wisconsin.

John Willock Noble (n.d.) by Alban Jasper ConantU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

John Willock Noble (1831–1912)

Served under President Benjamin Harrison, 1889–1893
Portrait by Alban Jasper Conant (1821–1915), n.d.
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01622

Noble's experiences as a brigadier general in the Civil War and as a U.S. district attorney in Missouri earned him widespread respect. In the only public office he ever held, Noble served as secretary of the Interior for the entirety of President Harrison's term. Major issues for Noble included Civil War pensioners and the Cherokee Commission, which removed 19 tribes to small allotments and opened the Oklahoma Territory to homesteaders. Noble was perhaps best known, however, for supporting the Forest Reserve Act of 1891—key legislation that laid the groundwork for protecting timberlands and creating a national forest system. Ironically, the "General Noble" Giant Sequoia tree named for him in California's Converse Basin Grove was felled for display at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. At the end of Harrison's presidency, Noble resumed private life in St. Louis.

This painting is by Alban Jasper Conant, an artist, archaeologist and anthropologist. He is particularly remembered for an 1860 portrait in which Abraham Lincoln is smiling.

Michael Hoke Smith (1899) by Charles ArmorU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Michael Hoke Smith (1855–1931)

Served under President Grover Cleveland, 1893–1896
Portrait by Charles Armor (1844–1911), 1899
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01623

Smith never enrolled in college but was admitted to the bar and built a successful law practice. Through his ownership of the Atlanta Journal, Smith supported Grover Cleveland's presidential campaign and was named his secretary of the Interior. Entering office at the age of 37, Smith remains the youngest Interior secretary. Considered an apt administrator, Smith instituted reforms in the Pension Bureau and in Indian schools. He resigned when free silver candidate William Jennings Bryan became the Democratic Party's nominee for President. Smith returned to Georgia, where he was elected governor and eventually to the U.S. Senate.

David Rowland Francis (1900) by Charles Ayer WhippleU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

David Rowland Francis (1850–1927)

Served under President Grover Cleveland, 1896–1897
Portrait by Charles Ayer Whipple (1859–1928), 1900
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01624

Francis entered politics as mayor of St. Louis and then governor of Missouri. President Cleveland tapped Francis to be secretary of the Interior during the final six months of his administration. During his brief tenure, Francis advocated for reclamation and forest conservation. He subsequently served as president of the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis and opened the Summer Olympics held there that same year—the first on U.S. soil. In 1916 President Wilson appointed him ambassador to Russia; as the last U.S. ambassador received at the Russian Imperial Court, Francis witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution. A bust of Francis is situated on the University of Missouri campus; rubbing his nose is rumored to bring good luck on exams.

Artist Charles Whipple was renowned for his portraits of high-level officials, including numerous Cabinet members and President McKinley. According to a 1897 article in The Illustrated American, "Whipple claims that public men make the best subjects for the painter's skill."

Cornelius Newton Bliss (1899) by Eastman JohnsonU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Cornelius Newton Bliss (1833–1911)

Served under President William McKinley, 1897–1899
Portrait by Eastman Johnson (1824–1906), 1899
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01625

Bliss was a prominent merchant with ties to Massachusetts and New York. Although he was nationally connected and energetically involved in civic affairs, he consistently refused to accept appointments for public office. He twice declined nominations for Governor of New York and rejected President McKinley's offer to become secretary of the Treasury. Bliss relented, however, and did serve a brief term as McKinley's secretary of the Interior. He was a proponent of forests and also took an interest in improving schools and public services for Indians. After nearly two years, Bliss resigned to return to business. He turned down the offer to be McKinley's vice presidential running mate in 1900 but after McKinley's assassination did continue to support Theodore Roosevelt.

Artist Eastman Johnson—known in his day as "the American Rembrandt"—helped found the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. At the time he created this piece, Johnson had mostly given up genre painting and was working almost exclusively in portraiture.

Ethan Allen Hitchcock (circa 1907) by William Merritt ChaseU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Ethan Allen Hitchcock (1835–1909)

Served under Presidents William McKinley and
Theodore Roosevelt, 1899–1907
Portrait by William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), circa 1907
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01626

Hitchcock made his fortune from numerous railroad, mining and manufacturing interests both in the U.S. and in China. President McKinley sent him to Russia as an envoy in 1897 and then promoted him to be the first U.S. ambassador there. In 1899 Hitchcock was called back to serve as McKinley's secretary of the Interior, a position he held for eight years—the second longest secretarial tenure in Departmental history. During Hitchcock's term, forestry responsibilities were transferred to the Department of Agriculture, and the Reclamation Service was established within the U.S. Geological Survey. He cleaned house over timber and land frauds, strongly supported the Antiquities Act of 1906, sought to preserve oil and gas lands, and was committed to improving the management of Indian Affairs. Hitchcock stayed on for the transition to the Roosevelt Administration but was not among the new president's close advisors. Hitchcock tendered his resignation in 1907.

Artist William Merritt Chase was an esteemed American Impressionist considered one of the country's most gifted portrait painters.

James R. Garfield (1909) by Harrington MannU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

James R. Garfield (1865–1950)

Served under President Theodore Roosevelt, 1907–1909
Portrait by Harrington Mann (1864–1937), 1909
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01627

Garfield was the son of President James A. Garfield. He practiced law in Cleveland and served as a state senator. President Roosevelt first tendered Garfield the position of civil service commissioner, and then he served as commissioner of corporations in the new Department of Commerce and Labor. Garfield accepted Roosevelt's nomination for secretary of the Interior and tackled administrative and organizational reforms with vigor. He also staunchly upheld Roosevelt's conservation agenda in defending natural resources, preserving land and conserving water through dam construction. At the conclusion of Roosevelt's presidency, Garfield returned to his law practice. He would go on to serve on commissions under Presidents Coolidge and Hoover but otherwise withdrew from the political spotlight.

Artist Harrington Mann was a Scottish portraitist known for his works of members of high society and the British royal family. Circa 1900 he opened a studio in New York City and grew his reputation within the United States.

Richard Achilles Ballinger (1909) by Ernest MooreU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Richard Achilles Ballinger (1858–1922)

Served under President William Howard Taft, 1909–1911
Portrait by Ernest Moore (1865–1940), 1909
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01628

Ballinger was a respected lawyer specializing in public land use. He also served as a superior judge and mayor of Seattle. At the request of his former college classmate, Interior Secretary James R. Garfield, Ballinger came to the nation's capital for a brief term as commissioner of the General Land Office under President Roosevelt. With the next presidential election—despite promises to retain the members of Roosevelt’s Cabinet—President Taft made Ballinger his secretary of the Interior. He immediately restored 3 million acres of land to private hands, angering conservationists who regarded these actions as a reversal of Roosevelt's agenda. Ballinger was further beset by allegations of political impropriety from Gifford Pinchot, who had been a close Roosevelt ally. When Roosevelt transferred responsibility for forest reserves out of the Department of the Interior to the Department of Agriculture’s newly-created U.S. Forest Service in 1905, Pinchot was named its first chief. Purportedly in defense of Roosevelt’s conservationist legacy, Pinchot levied criticism and investigations against Ballinger that played out very publicly. Although President Taft supported Ballinger and fired Pinchot, the “Ballinger-Pinchot Affair” caused a rift between Taft and Roosevelt and ultimately split the Republican Party. Ballinger was exonerated from any wrongdoing, but he resigned in 1911 so as not to be a further distraction. He resumed practicing law.

In 1909, internationally renowned British portraitist Ernest Moore spent 10 months in Washington, D.C. and Kentucky working on several commissions, one of which was this painting.

Walter Lowrie Fisher (n.d.) by Louis BettsU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Walter Lowrie Fisher (1862–1935)

Served under President William Howard Taft, 1911–1913
Portrait by Louis Betts (1873–1961), n.d.
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01629

Fisher was a noted Chicago attorney versed in transportation and municipal law and with a reputation as a reformer. He was president of the Conservation League of America and helped to establish its successor, the National Conservation Association. President Taft initially appointed Fisher to the Federal Railroad Securities Commission, and—after Interior Secretary Ballinger's resignation—tapped Fisher to fill the Cabinet vacancy. Fisher was seen as a moderate who favored resource development so long as there were regulations in place. This relatively neutral stance was aptly suited to restoring order and public opinion of the Department in the wake of the Ballinger-Pinchot Affair. Fisher also recommended building a railroad and leasing coal lands in Alaska.

Artist Louis Betts was William Merritt Chase's student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Betts incorporated stylistic elements from Chase and European masters Frans Hals and Diego Velázquez, becoming an esteemed portraitist in his own right.

Franklin Knight Lane (n.d.) by Ivan OlinskyU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Franklin Knight Lane (1864–1921)

Served under President Woodrow Wilson, 1913–1920
Portrait by Ivan Olinsky (1878–1962), n.d.
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01630

Canadian-born Lane moved to California at an early age. He first attained prominence as a newspaperman, lawyer and reformer in the San Francisco Bay area. He was a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission under Presidents Roosevelt and Taft, and President Wilson appointed him to the Department of the Interior. Notable among Lane's contributions as secretary were the controversial approval to dam the Hetch Hetchy Valley to supply water for San Francisco; a major overhaul of the Reclamation Service (now the Bureau of Reclamation); and the creation of the National Park Service in 1916. In 1917 Lane oversaw construction of the Department's first centralized headquarters—what is now the General Services Administration Building—and he changed the original, official Departmental emblem from an eagle to a bison. Lane was also a proponent of Alaska statehood and was the first secretary to install an Alaska resident as a territorial governor. He resigned in 1920 to become vice president of the Pan-American Petroleum Company, though he passed away the following year. Lane's ashes were scattered in Yosemite.

Lane's portrait is by Russian-American artist and instructor Ivan Olinsky.

John Barton Payne (1921) by Arthur DawsonU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

John Barton Payne (1855–1935)

Served under President Woodrow Wilson, 1920–1921
Portrait by Arthur Dawson (1859–1922), 1921
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01631

Payne headed the Chicago Law Institute and was a Superior Court judge in Illinois. He came to President Wilson's attention and served as general counsel of the U.S. Shipping Board of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, member of the Treasury board of appeals, and counsel for the Railroad Administration. Wilson then appointed him secretary of the Interior after Secretary Lane's resignation. Payne focused his efforts on opposing reclamation projects in Yellowstone National Park and conserving Navy petroleum reserves. For the last nine months of his brief tenure as secretary, Payne concurrently held the post of director general of railroads. With President Harding's election, Payne was made the chairman of the American Red Cross. Over the next 14 years—until his death in 1935—he greatly expanded that organization's influence and international reputation.

Albert Bacon Fall (1923) by Underwood & Underwood StudiosU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Albert Bacon Fall (1861–1944)

Served under President Warren G. Harding, 1921–1923
Portrait by Underwood & Underwood Studios, 1923
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01632

Fall left his native Kentucky and settled in New Mexico, where he was a judge, publisher and mine owner. With New Mexico's statehood, Fall was elected to the U.S. Senate, and he became close friends with fellow senator, Warren Harding. When Harding won the presidency, he appointed Fall to his Cabinet as secretary of the Interior. The infamous Teapot Dome scandal brought Fall's political career to an abrupt halt, however. While Fall had a legitimate basis for leasing two oil reserves on behalf of the Department, he inappropriately accepted personal, no-interest loans in exchange. Public outrage at perceived cronyism and conflict of interest forced Fall's resignation. He was convicted on bribery charges and spent nearly a year in a New Mexico state prison—the first Cabinet member ever incarcerated for misconduct while in office.

Hubert Work, M.D. (1928) by Underwood & Underwood StudiosU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Hubert Work, M.D. (1860–1942)

Served under Presidents Warren G. Harding and
Calvin Coolidge, 1923–1928
Portrait by Underwood & Underwood Studios, 1928
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01633

Work's uncommon path to a Cabinet position was as a medical doctor. He founded Woodcroft Hospital in Colorado, was in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War I, and served as president of the American Medical Association. For his organizational skills, President Harding made Work an assistant postmaster general and then postmaster general. In the wake of Secretary Fall's scandal-ridden resignation, Work was named secretary of the Interior, and he adeptly charted a new course for the Department under two presidents. Hallmarks of his tenure included significant fiscal savings and administrative efficiencies; to eliminate clock watchers, he reputedly had all office clocks in the headquarters removed. In 1923 the Department's Reclamation Service was renamed the Bureau of Reclamation. The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 increased rights for American Indians, and Work was personally attentive to the Office of Indian Affairs, increasing its emphasis on health services. After leaving office, Work ran Herbert Hoover's successful presidential campaign and then returned to medicine. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Roy Owen West by Leopold SeyffertU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Roy Owen West (1868–1958)

Served under President Calvin Coolidge, 1928–1929
Portrait by Leopold Seyffert (1887–1956), n.d.
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01634

West was a prominent attorney who filled various city and county positions in Illinois. He was active with the Republican National Committee, through which he came to know both Hubert Work and Calvin Coolidge. With Secretary Work's resignation from Interior, President Coolidge appointed West as the successor. In office only seven months prior to the next presidential election, West maintained the status quo. He then returned to his law firm in Chicago and remained closely involved with his alma mater, DePauw University, serving on its board of trustees for decades. The university's library is named in his honor.

Leopold Seyffert was a leading American portraitist of the day, particularly known for his commissioned works of the nation's political, cultural and business elite.

Ray Lyman Wilbur, M.D. (1940) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Ray Lyman Wilbur, M.D. (1875–1949)

Served under President Herbert Hoover, 1929–1933
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1940
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01635

Wilbur's distinguished career in medicine and education was punctuated by periods of public service. During World War I, Wilbur was with the Food Administration and is credited with coining the slogan, "Food Will Win the War." Then at the behest of President Hoover—a close friend from his university days—Wilbur served four years as secretary of the Interior. In centralizing the Department's activities, Wilbur also favored vesting states with authority whenever possible. He took an interest in parks and reclamation and authorized construction of the Hoover Dam. In defending property rights for American Indians and calling for greater self-determination, Wilbur optimistically hoped that the Department's need of an Office of Indian Affairs would be obsolete within a quarter century. When President Hoover was not re-elected for a second term, Wilbur returned to Stanford University, where he continued a presidency that would ultimately span 27 years.

Harold LeClair Ickes (1934) by Henry Salem HubbellU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Harold LeClair Ickes (1874–1952)

Served under Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and
Harry S. Truman, 1933–1946
Portrait by Henry Salem Hubbell (1870–1949), 1934
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01636

Ickes began his career as a newspaperman but later became a lawyer. He was a liberal Republican reformer who gradually transferred his allegiance to Democratic causes. Ickes is the longest-serving secretary of the Interior. He elevated Interior's reputation, keeping the Department scandal-free during his nearly 13-year term. Tremendous gains were made in resource development, conservation, reclamation and tribal relations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was formulated and added to Interior's portfolio in 1940. While secretary, Ickes also headed the Public Works Administration in the early days of Roosevelt's New Deal.

Since the Ickes family considered artist Henry Salem Hubbell a friend, it was not surprising that Ickes turned to him to paint his official secretarial portrait. Although most such portraits are typically commissioned at or near the end of a secretary's tenure, Ickes broke with tradition and had his done just a year into his term; the inscription at the bottom of the canvas was added later. Secretary Ickes is depicted in his first office—in what is now the General Services Administration Building. On his desk are the plans for the current Interior building, the construction of which Ickes oversaw as Federal Public Works Project No. 4.

Julius Albert Krug (1949) by Greta KemptonU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Julius Albert Krug (1907–1970)

Served under President Harry S. Truman, 1946–1949
Portrait by Greta Kempton (1903–1991), 1949
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01637

Krug worked in utilities for his home state of Wisconsin and then for Kentucky as a public utility expert with the Federal Communications Commission, prior to joining the Tennessee Valley Authority as chief power engineer. During World War II, he left a top position on the War Production Board (WPB) to serve in the Navy but was called back to chair the WPB. With his appointment to Truman's Cabinet after the war, Krug became the first career public administrator to head the Department of the Interior. The Bureau of Land Management was founded in 1946 at the start of Krug's tenure, combining the previous Interior functions of the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. Secretary Krug favored decentralization and established a field committee pattern to help coordinate Interior's activities, minimizing the overlap and duplication of programs. Krug resigned in 1949 and returned to private life. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Greta Kempton was Krug's portraitist and the only female artist to have painted a secretary of the Interior's portrait. She was friends with President Truman and received portrait commissions from many members of Truman's Cabinet.

Oscar Littleton Chapman by Alfred JonniauxU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Oscar Littleton Chapman (1896–1978)

Served under President Harry S. Truman, 1949–1953
Portrait by Alfred Jonniaux (1882–1974), n.d.
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01638

A lawyer and social reformer, Chapman was manager of two successful senatorial campaigns before coming to the nation's capital from Denver, Colorado, at the start of the New Deal. He served as Interior's assistant secretary and under secretary (renamed deputy secretary) before being appointed secretary. He is the only person ever to hold all three positions. In serving through President Truman's second term—a total of 20 years at Interior—Chapman made unprecedented strides in reclamation and laid the groundwork for Alaska and Hawai‘i statehood, as well as for construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Portraitist Alfred Jonniaux fled his native Belgium during World War II and became a U.S. citizen in 1946. He established studios in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

James Douglas McKay by Irving ResnikoffU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

James Douglas McKay (1893–1959)

Served under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953–1956
Portrait by Irving Resnikoff (1897–1988), n.d.;
previously attributed to Charles J. Fox
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01639

McKay was an insurance and automobile salesman and later owned his own dealership. He rose through the ranks of Oregon politics, serving as mayor of Salem, four-term state senator and then governor. For being one of Dwight D. Eisenhower's earliest supporters in the West, McKay was nominated for secretary of the Interior. He was a man of the people and maintained high visibility among his staff. He instituted departmental reforms by cutting 4,000 jobs and nearly $200 million from the budget. During his administration, McKay turned a profit for the Interior-managed Alaska Railroad and expanded educational facilities for American Indians. Mission 66 was also created to address deferred maintenance and to add parkland in time for the National Park Service's 50th anniversary. McKay resigned in 1956 to run for the U.S. Senate, and although he lost the election, he remained in public service. Eisenhower appointed him chairman of the International Joint Commission dealing with Canada on water resource policies and issues.

In this portrait Secretary McKay is wearing a Purple Heart Ribbon lapel pin. He was awarded the Purple Heart for life-threatening injuries sustained in 1918 during World War I that left him partially disabled.

Fred Andrew Seaton (1960) by George GabritchevskyU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Fred Andrew Seaton (1909–1974)

Served under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1956–1961
Portrait by George Gabritchevsky, 1960
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01640

Seaton's interest in politics can be traced to his time in Kansas as secretary for Alfred Landon's unsuccessful presidential bid. He subsequently moved to Nebraska to manage a portion of his family's newspaper business but stayed active in politics, even serving a brief term—by appointment—in the U.S. Senate. After working on Dwight D. Eisenhower's first presidential campaign, Seaton was named an assistant secretary of defense and went on to become a deputy assistant in the Eisenhower White House. Eisenhower appointed Seaton to head the Department of the Interior in 1956. During his tenure, Seaton increased hydroelectric power production and nearly doubled the acreage of wildlife reserves. Mission 66 continued to expand infrastructure in national parks and recreation areas; Alaska and Hawai‘i attained statehood; and a tacit agreement was reached with Canada regarding uses of the Columbia River. After leaving Washington, Seaton returned to the newspaper business.

Stewart Lee Udall (1975/1977) by Allan HouserU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Stewart Lee Udall (1920–2010)

Served under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B.
Johnson, 1961–1969
Portrait by Allan Houser (1914–1994), 1975–1977
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01641

Udall was a World War II veteran, Mormon missionary and lawyer who became an influential three-term congressman from Arizona. President John F. Kennedy tapped him to lead the Department of the Interior in 1961. Udall embarked on the passage of historic conservation legislation, including the Wilderness Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the National Trails System Act, the Endangered Species Preservation Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. Udall advocated for the empowerment of American Indians and Alaska Natives. He also dramatically increased the National Park and Fish and Wildlife Refuge systems, particularly in the eastern United States. In recognition of Udall's lifelong commitment to civil rights, public service and environmental issues, the Department of the Interior's headquarters building was renamed the Stewart Lee Udall Interior Building in 2010.

Udall selected internationally-renowned Apache artist Allan Houser to paint his official portrait. Thirty-seven years earlier, Houser had been commissioned to create murals for Interior's South Penthouse and the Indian Craft Shop.

Walter Joseph Hickel (1971) by Erling RobertsU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Walter Joseph Hickel (1919–2010)

Served under President Richard M. Nixon, 1969–1970
Portrait by Erling Roberts (1901–1974), 1971
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01642

In 1940 Hickel was Kansas' welterweight Golden Gloves champion, wanting to travel the world. Upon learning how long it would take to acquire a passport, he booked steerage passage to Alaska instead. He embraced his new home state, forming a construction company and business empire that would make him a millionaire. He became governor in 1966 but halfway through his term was called upon by President Nixon to head the Department of the Interior. Although initially perceived as pro-development, Hickel repeatedly acted on environmental concerns. He temporarily halted domestic offshore drilling after the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, upgraded drilling regulations and held oil companies accountable, worked to protect the Everglades, advocated for Earth Day as a national holiday, and listed several whales as endangered species. In the wake of the Kent State University incident where National Guardsmen fired upon youth protesting the war in Vietnam, Hickel wrote a letter criticizing the Nixon Administration for alienating America's young people. The dissension garnered publicity, and Nixon dismissed Hickel from his Cabinet. Hickel returned to Alaska and eventually to the Governor's Mansion for a second time in 1990. His legacy is one of charisma and visionary ideas. In accordance with his wishes, Hickel was buried standing up, facing toward Washington, D.C., so when he got to heaven he could "come out fighting" for his beliefs.

Rogers Clark Ballard Morton (1978) by Everett Raymond KinstlerU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Rogers Clark Ballard Morton (1914–1979)

Served under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and
Gerald R. Ford, 1971–1975
Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler (1926-2019), 1978
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01643

Morton came from a business background running the family-owned flour mill Ballard & Ballard, later acquired by Pillsbury. Beginning in 1962 he was elected to five terms representing Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives and helped to pass significant legislation for the Chesapeake Bay. His work on the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs acquainted him with the Department of the Interior, and—after serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee—Morton was the logical choice for secretary after Hickel's dismissal. Morton was the only person from the Atlantic seaboard to serve as secretary of the Interior in the 20th century. His tenure coincided with several high-profile issues, including the American Indian Movement's takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' offices in 1972; the 1973 Oil Crisis; the Wounded Knee incident involving the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; approval of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System; and coal mine safety. Morton continued with the Ford Administration after Nixon's resignation but became secretary of Commerce and then served as President Ford's campaign manager in 1976. Morton retired to his cattle farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore in 1977.

Stanley K. Hathaway (n.d.) by Irving ResnikoffU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Stanley K. Hathaway (1924–2005)

Served under President Gerald R. Ford, 1975
Portrait by Irving Resnikoff (1897–1988), n.d.; previously attributed to Charles J. Fox
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01644

Hathaway's two terms as governor of Wyoming well qualified him to fill the vacancy left by Secretary Morton at Interior. At the state level, Hathaway had supported Wyoming's recreation and tourism industries, enacted one of the toughest surface mining reclamation laws in the country, and established stringent air quality standards. He had also been actively involved in the leadership of the Western and National Governors Conferences. Hathaway was sworn in as secretary of the Interior in June 1975 but submitted his resignation a month later citing ill health. During his brief tenure he advanced the federal coal leasing program. In returning to Wyoming, Hathaway resumed his law practice.

This is one of three portraits at Interior signed "CJ Fox."

James G. Watt (1985) by Irving ResnikoffU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Charles J. Fox—purportedly the son of a prominent Austrian artist—was actually Leo Fox, an art dealer with elite social connections. An IRS investigation in 1978 revealed that Fox had adopted a pseudonym for tax evasion purposes. For decades the true artist behind the high-profile commissions was Russian immigrant Irving Resnikoff, who would work from photographs Fox provided of the portrait subjects. These misattributed portraits also appear in several state capitols and at the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol, U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Thomas S. Kleppe (1977) by Everett Raymond KinstlerU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Thomas S. Kleppe (1919–2007)

Served under President Gerald R. Ford, 1975–1977
Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler (1926-2019), 1977
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01645

Kleppe was the son of North Dakota homesteaders. With a background in banking and business, he would become Bismarck, North Dakota's youngest mayor and was twice elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. President Nixon made him the head of the Small Business Administration, and President Ford brought him to the Department of the Interior after Secretary Hathaway's unexpected resignation. As Secretary, Kleppe tried to strike a balance between environmental concerns and resource development. He approved the sale of oil and gas rights off southern California but blocked a hydroelectric project in North Carolina and controversially banned lead shotgun pellets for hunting waterfowl. When President Ford lost the 1976 election, Kleppe left Interior to teach at the University of Wyoming. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Artist Everett Raymond Kinstler turned to portraiture in the 1950s after drawing such characters as The Shadow and Doc Savage for comic books and pulp magazines. Among his first important portrait commissions were astronauts Alan Shepard Jr. and Scott Carpenter. He has painted over 1,200 portraits, including more Cabinet officials than any artist in American history. In addition to Secretary Kleppe's portrait, Kinstler has painted three others for Interior.

Cecil D. Andrus (1984) by Casimir G. StapkoU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Cecil D. Andrus (1931–2017)

Served under President Jimmy Carter, 1977–1981
Portrait by Casimir G. Stapko (1914–2006), 1984
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01646

Andrus described himself as a "lumberjack and a political accident." He came to Washington, D.C., on the heels of having served as a state senator and as the governor of Idaho. The first Idahoan ever appointed to a presidential Cabinet, Andrus was acquainted with President Carter from when they were both new governors. Andrus was known for his ability to broker bi-partisan compromises. After nearly four years as secretary of the Interior, he was successful in having Congress pass the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). The Act preserved more than 157 million acres of land as new national parks and wildlife refuges, recreational and conservation areas, wild and scenic rivers and national forests. It also re-designated the Fish and Wildlife Service's Arctic National Wildlife Range as part of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Andrus additionally protected five wild rivers in Northern California. In retirement, Andrus founded the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University and published his memoirs.

Portraitist and painting restorer Casimir Stapko was also one of the nation's foremost copyists of famous works of art. Through close ties with the National Gallery of Art, he would paint 50 to 70 works a year.

James G. Watt (1985) by Irving ResnikoffU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

James G. Watt (1938–2023)

Served under President Ronald Reagan, 1981–1983
Portrait by Irving Resnikoff (1897–1988), 1985;
previously attributed to Charles J. Fox
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01647

Watt grew up in a ranching family in Wyoming. He gained experience on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant and chief counsel and then worked on environmental issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. From 1969 to 1975 he held various high-level positions within the Department of the Interior under Secretaries Hickel and Morton. He then served on the Federal Power Commission and was the founding president and chief legal officer of the Mountain States Legal Foundation. Watt was sworn in as President Reagan's Cabinet choice for Interior in 1981. Watt carried out Reagan's agenda for deregulation and decentralization but was viewed as a polarizing figure. He put more than a billion dollars toward restoring infrastructure in national parks and added more than 1.6 million acres to the national park and wildlife refuge systems. Yet, for quintupling the amount of land set aside for coal-mining leases and opening more of the Outer Continental Shelf to offshore drilling, Watt drew criticism from environmentalists. In the wake of controversial remarks made during a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Watt became a political distraction and resigned in November 1983. He subsequently worked as a consultant and lobbyist.

Note Watt's lapel pin. The Departmental seal traditionally depicts a bison in left profile. Watt, however, proposed a right-facing bison to reflect the political orientation of his administration. While the change never went into effect, Watt had lapel pins made, and he wore one for this portrait.

William Patrick Clark (1986) by Everett Raymond KinstlerU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

William Patrick Clark (1931–2013)

Served under President Ronald Reagan, 1983–1985
Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler (1926-2019), 1986
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 01648

Rancher, judge and California Supreme Court Associate Justice Clark became one of Ronald Reagan's most trusted confidants both as governor and as president. Clark served in the Reagan Administration as deputy secretary of State and as U.S. national security advisor before heading to the Department of the Interior in 1983 to replace Secretary Watt. Clark was credited as a troubleshooter who was able to stabilize the Department and defuse tensions with Congress over the coal-leasing program by suspending leasing in 1984 and overhauling the program. With backing from a congressional act in 1984, Secretary Clark established the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which to this day continues to award grants and support conservation efforts in all 50 states, U.S. territories and abroad. He also asked Congress to lift the moratorium on offshore leases which had been put in place in reaction to Watt's policies. Finally, Clark was known for his early morning horseback rides in Rock Creek Park and on the National Mall with Amadeus, a Lipizzaner stallion presented as a gift from Austria to President Reagan in 1982. After 18 years of public service, Clark resigned after Reagan's first term and returned—with Amadeus—to his California ranch.

Donald Paul Hodel (1991) by Everett Raymond KinstlerU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Donald Paul Hodel (b. 1935)

Served under President Ronald Reagan, 1985–1989
Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler (1926-2019), 1991
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 04676

Hodel practiced law, headed the Bonneville Power Administration and was president of an energy consulting firm. He sat on numerous energy-related boards and was a delegate to four World Energy Conferences. During the Reagan Administration, he served as under secretary of the Interior for Secretary Watt, then as secretary of Energy, and ultimately as secretary of the Interior. Known as a consensus builder, he continued Reagan's policies but in a style far different from his predecessors. Hodel "truly believed that the United States would be best served if we could find a way to protect and preserve the environment but also develop some of these incredible resources . . . rather than importing them." His concept of restoring the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park by removing the 1923 O'Shaughnessy Dam met with resistance and never came to fruition. Another hallmark of Hodel's tenure was the creation in 1985 of the "Take Pride in America" campaign to enhance public lands through volunteerism.

Manuel Luján Jr. (1993) by Julian RoblesU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Manuel Luján Jr. (1928-2019)

Served under President George H. W. Bush, 1989–1993
Portrait by Julian Robles (b. 1933), 1993
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 04682

Luján represented New Mexico in the U.S. House of Representatives for two decades, during which he was the senior Republican on both the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs and the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment; vice-chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology; and member of the president's National Commission on Space. He became the Department of the Interior's first Hispanic secretary in 1989 and pursued a path of U.S. economic stability through resource development, balanced with environmental protection. Luján famously likened the experience of serving as secretary to being in "a sack full of cats and I would be in middle . . . . I'm going to get scratched no matter what." During his time in office, he dealt with the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the controversy over spotted owls in the Pacific Northwest. He negotiated higher fees from concessionaires operating within national parks and also supported passage of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. To this day, the Department honors employees impacting Hispanic communities with a Champions Award in Luján's name.

Portraitist Julian Robles began his career as a technical illustrator in the U.S. Air Force and was then a commercial artist in New York City. His relocation to Taos also marked a move toward painting scenes of the Southwest and particularly New Mexico and Arizona Indians.

Bruce Babbitt (2000) by Burton SilvermanU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Bruce Babbitt (b. 1948)

Served under President Bill Clinton, 1993–2001
Portrait by Burton Silverman (b. 1928), 2000
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 04781

No stranger to politics, Babbitt was the attorney general and governor of Arizona, a Democratic candidate for president in 1988, and the head of the League of Conservation Voters prior to becoming President Clinton's secretary of the Interior in 1993. Babbitt traveled extensively to acquaint new audiences with the work of the Department. While in office he gained certification as a wild land fire fighter and fought on the fire lines; this personal interest translated into new fire management policy for federal lands that went beyond fire suppression to emphasize ecosystem maintenance and restoration. Babbitt reorganized the U.S. Geological Survey to include wildlife and conservation biology, and—after years of studies and planning—he was on hand in 1995 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced gray wolves to Yellowstone. Under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act, nearly 20 million acres were protected through more than 400 Habitat Conservation Plans. Further, Babbitt established the National Conservation Lands in 2000 for the preservation of millions of acres of the most culturally and ecologically significant land stewarded by the Bureau of Land Management. Twenty-two new national monuments were named during his tenure, including the 1.8 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah. After leaving Interior, Babbitt practiced international law and was considered for openings on the U.S. Supreme Court. He is an author, emeritus member of the World Wildlife Fund Board of Directors and president of an investment firm.

Gale Norton (2005) by William H. WhittinghamU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Gale Norton (b. 1954)

Served under President George W. Bush, 2001–2006
Portrait by William H. Whittingham (b. 1932), 2005
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 04878

Norton brought considerable legal experience to her tenure as secretary of the Interior. She had previously been an assistant to the deputy secretary of Agriculture, a senior attorney for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, associate solicitor for the Department of the Interior, a two-term attorney general for Colorado and senior counsel for a Denver-based law firm. With her appointment to President Bush's Cabinet in 2001, Norton became the first woman to lead the Department of the Interior. In accordance with Bush's agenda—heightened by the September 11 attacks and the War on Terror—Secretary Norton focused on energy independence. She prioritized opening federal lands for expanded energy production, backing the commercial development of oil shale reserves and increasing coal and natural gas production. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she played a leading role in restoring offshore energy production. Norton governed by what she referred to as "the Four C’s"—Consultation, Communication, and Cooperation, all in the service of Conservation—believing that for conservation to succeed, government must involve the people who live and work on the land. This tenet was a cornerstone in issues ranging from the Klamath River Basin controversy and the Healthy Forest Initiative to the resurrection of the "Take Pride in America" campaign from Secretary Hodel's era. After her resignation from Interior during Bush's second term, Norton joined Royal Dutch Shell's global legal leadership team. She has subsequently been an advisor for an energy technology venture capital firm and a consultant on environmental regulations.

The backdrop in this portrait is an undisclosed location in the Colorado Rockies. Artist William Whittingham hand-carved the frame and added gold leaf to complement the tones in Norton's jacket. The painting was unveiled at a ceremony at the Department in 2006.

Dirk Kempthorne (2010) by Michael Shane NealU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Dirk Kempthorne (b. 1951)

Served under President George W. Bush, 2006–2009
Portrait by Michael Shane Neal (b. 1968), 2010
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 06999

Kempthorne was mayor of Boise, Idaho, and then served for six years in the U.S. Senate. In returning to Idaho, he was twice elected governor and was also chair of the National Governors Association. President Bush nominated Kempthorne as secretary of the Interior after Secretary Norton's resignation. Kempthorne took steps to modernize Bureau of Indian Education schools and laid the groundwork for landscape-scale stewardship at the Bureau of Land Management. Key announcements during his tenure included the removal of the bald eagle from the list of threatened and endangered species in 2007 and, in 2008, free public access to the U.S. Geological Survey's Landsat satellite image archive. That same year, Kempthorne demonstrated the Department's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by converting 6,500 square feet atop the headquarters building to a green roof. He departed public service with the end of the Bush Administration and went on to become a governance expert with the Bipartisan Policy Center—a Washington, D.C.-based think tank—and the president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers.

Idaho's Salmon River and Sawtooth Range comprise the background of this painting. Said artist Michael Shane Neal, "We designed the portrait to embrace [Kempthorne's] love of the outdoors, his comfortable and approachable nature and a relaxed confidence that I think is such a part of his personality." The portrait was unveiled at Interior in 2011.

Ken Salazar (2012) by Charles EwingU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Ken Salazar (b. 1955)

Served under President Barack Obama, 2009–2013
Portrait by Charles Ewing (b. 1946), 2012
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 07000

Prior to coming to the Department of the Interior, Salazar worked as a water and environmental lawyer before serving as Colorado's attorney general and then as the state's 35th U.S. senator. As Interior secretary, he was especially noted for initiating solar and other renewable energy projects; strengthening relations with Indian Country, including settlement of the longstanding Cobell litigation over trust allotments; and reforming oversight of offshore oil and gas development and safety standards—in part, a response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Under Salazar's leadership in 2011 three bureaus and offices were created, reflecting the reorganization of the former Minerals Management Service: the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR). Salazar left Interior during President Obama's second term to return to Colorado, where he joined international law firm WilmerHale as a partner.

This painting by Colorado-based artist and sculptor Charles Ewing is the first official Interior portrait to include a secretary's family members. Depicted at their Colorado ranch are Secretary Ken Salazar, his wife Hope, daughters Andrea and Melinda and granddaughter Mireya.

Sally Jewell (2016) by Bradley StevensU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Sally Jewell (b. 1956)

Served under President Barack Obama, 2013–2017
Portrait by Bradley Stevens (b. 1954), 2016
Gift of Sally Jewell, 2017
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 07312

British-born Jewell moved to the U.S. at age three and is the second woman to serve as secretary of the Interior. Jewell earned her degree in mechanical engineering. Her career prior to the Department of the Interior included work as a petroleum engineer; 19 years in commercial banking; and serving 13 years first as chief operating officer and then as president and CEO of the outdoor specialty retailer, REI.

As secretary, Jewell was noted for an engaging openness—holding 100 employee meetings and visiting 49 states, three U.S. territories and 10 countries—and a leadership style that sought broad input and science-based, landscape level decisions. Her time at Interior was marked by a period of prolonged drought in the West and intensifying wildland fires; a focus on redefining federal trust responsibilities to American Indian and Alaska Native communities; emphasis on renewable energy as part of an all-of-the-above energy plan that saw the opening of the nation’s first offshore wind farm; and a crackdown on wildlife trafficking. Her tenure additionally coincided with the Civil War sesquicentennial and the centennial of the National Park Service. She departed the nation’s capital at the end of the Obama presidency and has subsequently been a resident fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics and a distinguished fellow at the University of Washington College of the Environment.

Virginia-based artist Bradley Stevens is contemporary realist painter of portraits, landscapes, cityscapes and historical paintings. He strives to infuse his portraits with a sense of naturalism, stating that "portrait painting is the enduring art form by which I describe and celebrate the uniqueness of an individual." This portrait was unveiled at Interior in January 2017.

Secretary Jewell’s official portrait depicts a sunrise over Washington’s Mount Rainier, the first national park Jewell recalls visiting as a child and a peak she has summited multiple times. She selected this location due to its U.S. Department of the Interior connections as well, since the mountain is both a national park and an active volcano studied and monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Secretary Jewell often quoted the proverb, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children,” and the trail workers sharing the scene collectively represent the youth and public stewardship initiatives that helped define Jewell’s legacy at Interior.

Ryan K. Zinke (2020) by Brent CottonU.S. Department of the Interior Museum

Ryan K. Zinke (b. 1961)

Served under President Donald J. Trump, 2017–2019
Portrait by Brent Cotton (b. 1972), 2020
Gift of Ryan Zinke, 2020
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 07776

Zinke arrived at the Department of the Interior as a fifth-generation Montanan and self-described "Theodore Roosevelt conservationist." In a career chronicled in his 2016 book, "American Commander," Zinke served 23 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL before retiring in 2008 and transitioning to politics. He was elected to the Montana State Senate (2009–2011) and then to Congress as Montana's lone representative (2014–2017). He was the first former Navy SEAL in the U.S. House of Representatives and the first as a cabinet secretary. He is also Interior's first secretary from Montana.

A month into his tenure, the 52nd secretary hosted President Trump at Interior for issuing an executive order to review certain national monuments presidentially designated or expanded under the Antiquities Act since January 1, 1996. Zinke would go on to broaden access to hunting, fishing, and recreational opportunities and amplify the need to address deferred maintenance within the public lands system. Throughout his secretarial term, Zinke aligned Interior resources in support of Trump Administration priorities regarding regulatory reform, domestic energy production, border security, and stemming the nation's opioid crisis.

Zinke instituted initiatives that would have lasting impacts on the workplace—making Interior the first dog-friendly Federal agency with the rollout of Doggy Days in May 2017; updating policies on employee harassment; and laying the groundwork for a Department-wide reorganization to streamline processes within unified regions.

Award-winning, Montana-based artist Brent Cotton based this painting upon photographs from Zinke's 2017 visit to Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. It is the first Interior portrait to show a secretary in an active pose and the first to include an animal.

Many secretarial portraits contain elements of symbolism. Among the ones here: the United States Park Police emblem on the horse's martingale references the secretary having ridden a Park Police horse across the National Mall to the Interior headquarters building on his first day of work.

The patch on the jacket sleeve speaks to Ryan Zinke's service as a Navy SEAL.

The six desert wildflowers in the foreground are tributes to his wife, children, and grandchildren. This official portrait was unveiled in December 2020 at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Image missing

David L. Bernhardt (b. 1969)

Served under President Donald J. Trump, 2019–2021
Portrait by Jeffrey W. Bass (b. 1960), 2022
Gift of the Friends of 53, 2022
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, INTR 07854

Bernhardt grew up near rural Rifle, Colorado. He is the seventh Interior secretary to hail from that state and the only person to also have been nominated and confirmed as deputy secretary (2017-2019) and as solicitor (2006-2009).

Combined with his time in other Office of the Secretary positions during the George W. Bush administration, Bernhardt cumulatively served at Interior for almost 12 years.

As 53rd secretary, Bernhardt’s conservation accomplishments included expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities to more than 3.7 million acres within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the enactment and implementation of both the 2019 John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation,

Management, and Recreation Act and the 2020 Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The latter provided $9.5 billion to address longstanding deferred maintenance issues and established perpetual, mandatory full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

In addition, Bernhardt focused on striking a regulatory balance within the Department. He streamlined and expedited permitting processes, advanced energy independence, modernized regulations, increased offshore Outer Continental Shelf inspections, and set a new record for the

number of listed threatened and endangered species recovered in an administration’s first term. Notably, he also significantly enhanced the Departmental Ethics Office and led the Department through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

This painting is by Florida-based artist Jeffrey W. Bass, renowned for his fine art portraits and historical works held in museums and private collections.

The background depicts Mount Garfield, an iconic landmark on Bureau of Land Management lands in Colorado’s Grand Valley at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers.

The location signifies Bernhardt’s professional career coming full circle to the public lands and waters of his western Colorado origins.

In homage to the law, his service as solicitor, and the tenet that “public service is a public trust,” Bernhardt holds the GAOA statute and his white hat.

The tag on his vest reflects Bernhardt’s security codename as secretary and his great appreciation for the U.S. Park Police.

Credits: Story

Portrait of an Agency
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum
Tracy Baetz, Chief Curator

To view a related public lecture, Within These Halls: A Beyond-the-Frame Look at Secretarial Portraiture presented on July 13, 2016, see

The brief biographies of the secretaries were compiled from a variety of primary and secondary materials, including contemporaneous newspaper articles, official Departmental records and correspondence, and published obituaries. Selected additional resources include:

Crampton, Louis C. The Department of the Interior: Its History and Proper Functions. December 1932.

The Department of the Interior in the Age of the Civil War. Eastern National, 2012.

History of the Cabinet of the United States of America, from President Washington to President Coolidge, An Account of the Origins of the Cabinet, A Roster of the Various Members with the Term of Service, and Biographical Sketches of Each Member, Showing Public Offices Held by Each. Baltimore: The Industrial Printing Company, 1925.

Trani, Eugene. Secretaries of the Department of the Interior, 1849-1969. Washington, DC: National Anthropological Archives, 1975.

University of Colorado Boulder | Center of the American West
For transcripts of interviews with seven former secretaries of the Interior

University of Virginia | Miller Center
For synopses and essays on administrations of American Presidents and brief biographical information on their Cabinet members

Utley, Robert M. and Barry Mackintosh. The Department of Everything Else: Highlights of Interior History National Park Service, 1989.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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