A Reference Resource
Edwin T. Meredith (1920–1921): Secretary of Agriculture
Edwin Thomas Meredith was born in Avoca, Iowa, on December 23, 1876, and attended Highland Park College in Des Moines. By 1894, he had become general manager of Farmer's Tribune, the weekly Populist newspaper run by his grandfather. Meredith ran the paper from 1896 until founding a new paper, Successful Farming, in 1902; its subscriber base numbered 100,000 by 1908.
Meredith would later serve as vice president and president of the Agricultural Publishers Association. Once a member of the Populist Party, Meredith became a Democrat after his former party's demise, running unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat in 1914 and the governorship of Iowa in 1916. In 1915, Meredith was named to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Three years later, President Woodrow Wilson appointed him to the Treasury Department's Advisory Committee on Excess Profits. Meredith became secretary of agriculture in 1920. That same year, he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for the presidency. Leaving the cabinet upon Wilson's departure from office, Meredith returned to publishing, buying Dairy Farmer and launching Fruit, Garden, and Home (what later became, in 1924, Better Homes and Gardens). He died on June 17, 1928.