Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Walter L. Fisher (1911–1913): Secretary of the Interior

Walter Lowrie Fisher was born in Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia) on July 4, 1862. He moved with his family to Indiana, where his father was president of Hanover College. Fisher attended Marietta College before transferring to Hanover for his bachelor's degree in 1883. He then studied law before moving to Chicago to open his own law practice.

Fisher became president of a reformist organization, the Municipal Voters League of Chicago, in 1906, railing against corrupt aldermen. His efforts were so influential that candidates needed to sign a league pledge to become elected. Fisher also helped reform Chicago's transportation system by attacking its rampant corruption. His establishment of the National Conservation Association would later bring him cabinet-level consideration.

Longtime friend President William Howard Taft appointed Fisher to the Railroad Securities Commission and later head of the Interior Department. A Progressive Republican, Fisher would serve as secretary of the interior from April 1911 to March 1913, helping Taft during the latter's 1912 presidential campaign. Walter Fisher died on November 9, 1935, at his home in Winnetka, Illinois.