Miller Center

Edwin Denby (1921–1923) - Secretary of the Navy

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Born in Evansville, Indiana, on February 18, 1870, Edwin Edward Denby graduated with a degree in law from the University of Michigan (1896). He was later admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Michigan. Denby would also serve in the Army during the Spanish-American War.

Denby was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives (1903-1904), and later to the U.S. House of Representatives from the First District of Michigan, which he served from 1905 to 1911. He was appointed secretary of the Navy in 1921 and later was persuaded by Interior Secretary Albert Fall to transfer oil leases controlled by the Navy to the Department of the Interior. Fall later sold the leases to his friends, hastening public awareness of the Teapot Dome scandal.

Denby resigned his cabinet position in 1924, disgraced by the scandal, and returned to Michigan to practice law. He died there on February 8, 1929.

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Eugene Trani

Dr. Trani is the former president of Virginia Commonwealth University. His writings include:

Presidency of Warren G. Harding (part of the American Presidency Series, co-authored with David L. Wilson, The Regents Press of Kansas, 1977; second printing, 1985; third printing, 1989)

The First Cold War: The Legacy of Woodrow Wilson in U.S.-Soviet Relations (Co-authored with Donald E. Davis, published in English by University of Missouri Press, 2002; in Russian by Olma-Press Publishing House, 2002; in Chinese by Peking University Press, 2007)