Born near near Phoenixville, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Graduate of Yale in 1862. Received LL.B. from Columbia University Law School in 1864 and was admitted to the bar in New York. Married Emily Eames in 1866. They had five children.
He worked for Whitaker & Harmon, a wholesale grocer that was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871. He helped with the relief effort for the homeless survivers. He formed his own company, Franklin MacVeagh & Co, also in the wholesale grocery business.
MacVeagh was active in Democratic politics. He broke with the party as he disagreed with William Jennings Bryan over the free silver issue. Served as Trustee of the University of Chicago 1901 to 1913.
Appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Taft and served March 8, 1909, to March 5, 1913. In 1911 he asked congress for $270,000 to remodel the New York Assay office. He ordered the replacement of the head of Liberty with an Indian for the 5 cent piece to be designed by Fraser. He proposed the reduction in size of American currency in about 1913. The recommendations were not adopted until 1927.
MacVeagh appears on a mint medal (USM 208) as one of the series for Secretaries of the Treasury. Dies were by George T. Morgan. It was first issued in 1913.
bio: BDEB; DAB; Failor; NCAB 14; WWWA-1; BRN Oct 83Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies