Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Truman H. Newberry (1908–1905): Secretary of the Navy

Born on November 5, 1864, in Detroit, Michigan, Truman Handy Newberry was the son of Congressman John Stoughton Newberry. He attended Michigan Military Academy before graduating from Yale University in 1885. Newberry oversaw his father's businesses and began working for the Detroit, Bay City, and Alpena Railroad between 1885 and 1887.

He then became a director at several firms, including the Union Trust Company, the Union Elevator Company, and the Michigan State Telephone Company, among others. Newberry undertook the establishment of a naval militia in 1893 and then became lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Navy when reserves from Michigan were called into service to fight in the Spanish-American War.

He became director of the Packard Motor Car Company in 1903 before being appointed assistant secretary of the Navy by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905. Newberry then replaced Secretary of the Navy Victor Metcalf on December 1, 1908, serving until the end of Roosevelt's term in March 1909. Following his time in the cabinet, Newberry served Michigan in the U.S. Senate from 1919 until 1922, resigning in the face of congressional pressure following a scandal involving election fraud. Newberry died in Grosse Point, Michigan, on October 3, 1945.