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Willard Wirtz

In office
September 25, 1962 – January 20, 1969
President John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson

Born March 14, 1912 (1912-03-14) (age 98)
Spouse(s) Jane Quisenberry Wirtz[1]
Alma mater Beloit College

William Willard Wirtz (born March 14, 1912) is a former U.S. administrator, cabinet officer, attorney, and law professor. He served as the Secretary of Labor between 1962 and 1969 under the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.



Wirtz was born at DeKalb, Illinois. While a student at Beloit College, he became a brother of Alpha Phi Omega. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1937 and was immediately appointed to the faculty of the University of Iowa Law School by the Dean of the Law School Wiley Rutledge. He was a professor of law at Northwestern University from 1939 to 1942. He served with the War Labor Board from 1943 to 1945, and was chairman of the National Wage Stabilization Board in 1946. Wirtz eventually returned to Northwestern, where he again taught law until 1954. He was appointed Under-Secretary of Labor in 1961, and succeeded Arthur Goldberg as Secretary of Labor in 1962. He held this post throughout the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, during which time he is credited for having dealt effectively with the various trade union strikes of the 1960s[citation needed].


Following his public service, he practiced law in Washington, D.C. as a partner in Wirtz & Gentry (1970-78) and Wirtz & Lapointe (1979-).

Wirtz and Stewart Udall are the only two surviving members of the Kennedy administration cabinet.

Since the 2008 death of Earl Butz, Wirtz has been the oldest living former cabinet member.

Named in 2000, the Wirtz Labor Library is the main library of the U.S. Department of Labor in the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. [2] The library contains 181,000 items, including the James Taylor collection (labor history), the Folio collection (trade union serials) and a 30,000 volume labor law collection.


  1. ^ "His Life Is a Gay Waistcoat". Times Herald (The Washington Post): p. A1. 1963-01-16. 
  2. ^ "About the Wirtz Labor Library". U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Arthur J. Goldberg
United States Secretary of Labor
Served under: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson

Succeeded by
George P. Shultz


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

W. Willard Wirtz

W. Willard Wirtz (born 1912-03-14) is a former United States Secretary of Labor.


  • Commencement speakers have a good deal in common with grandfather clocks: Standing usually some six feet tall, typically ponderous in construction, more traditional than functional, their distinction is largely their noisy communication of essentially commonplace information. - Commencement address at University of Iowa
    • Commencement address, University of Iowa [1], Time (June 19, 1965)

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