Loomis, Francis B. (Francis Butler), 1861-1948

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1861-07-27
Death 1948-08-04

Biographical notes:

Born in Marietta, Ohio, July 27, 1861; graduated from Marietta College in 1883 and joined the staff of the New York Tribune shortly thereafter; began his political career at the age of twenty-three when he served as head of the press bureau of the Republican National Committee during the James G. Blaine campaign of 1884; served as Ohio State Librarian from 1885-1887; in 1887 became the Washington correspondent for the Philadelphia Press; again served as press agent in 1888 during the successful presidential campaign of Benjamin Harrison; was appointed U.S. Consul to St. Etinne, France in 1890; after his return to the United States in 1893, served as Editor-in Chief of the Cincinnati Daily Tribune and served the Republican party during William McKinley's presidential campaign; was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plentipotentiary to Venezuela; his service in Venezuela was quite active; from 1901-1902 he served as Minister to Portugal; in 1902 he was appointed First Assistant Secretary of State under John Hay and upon Hay's death served as Secretary of State ad interim; was active in international affairs after 1905 and served as foreign trade advisor for the Standard Oil Company of California from 1914-1941; he died August 6. 1948.

From the description of Francis B. Loomis papers, 1897-1939. [microform]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 462018787

From the description of Francis B. Loomis papers, 1897-1939. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122510697

Biographical Note

Francis B. Loomis' service with the State Department came during a critical period in American history. Both at home and abroad, he helped mold policy at a time when the Spanish-American War was being fought, when Japan was beginning to feel her strength in the Pacific, when the preliminary maneuvers for the construction of the Panama Canal were in progress, and when American economic imperialism was at its height. The diplomatic phase of his career seemed remarkable, but he was no less successful in his other varied endeavors. Loomis enjoyed success as a newspaper man, a political publicist, and a key figure in the U.S. oil industry.

Loomis' ancestors came to Windsor, Connecticut, from Braintree, England, in 1638 as part of the Puritan emigration from England. The family home at Windsor still stands as the Loomis Institute, dedicated to offering free education to deserving youngsters from twelve to twenty years old. Mr. Loomis, born in Marietta, Ohio, on July 27, 1861, was the son of Judge William B. and Frances (Wheeler) Loomis. He graduated from Marietta College in 1883 and joined the staff of the New York Tribune shortly thereafter. His involvement with politics began at the relatively early age of twenty-three when he worked on the James G. Blaine campaign of 1884 as head of the press bureau of the Republican National Committee. In this position Loomis was able to form friendships with Mr. Blaine, Senator Foraker, and many leaders of the Republican party. After Blaine's defeat, Loomis returned to Ohio to serve as State Librarian for two years. In 1887 he became the Washington correspondent for the Philadelphia Press. The following year Loomis reassumed his position as press agent for the Republican party's presidential nominee, Benjamin Harrison.

With President Harrison's victory, Loomis was appointed U.S. Consul to St. Etienne. France, a position he assumed in 1890. For the next three years he gave particular attention to the study of industrial conditions in Europe. Upon his return to the United States, he became Editor-in-Chief of the Cincinnati Daily Tribune. Once again Loomis was drafted to serve the Republican party. William McKinley called him to Canton. Ohio to aid his presidential campaign.

Shortly after his marriage to Elizabeth Mast of Springfield, Ohio he was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Venezuela. Loomis' actions in Venezuela were either damned or praised, depending upon viewpoint. His detractors accused him of using American prestige and economic power to force business concessions abroad. His friends insisted that his only object was to improve trade relations between the United States and Venezuela. Loomis' service in Venezuela was quite active. He provided intelligence reports on the location of Admiral Cervera's fleet during the Spanish-American War; he explored trade possibilities during a trip up the Orinoco River aboard the Wilmington in 1898; he successfully negotiated several commercial treaties; and he energetically defended American interests in Venezuela.

In 1901 Loomis was appointed Minister to Portugal, a post he held until 1902 when he was recalled and appointed First Assistant Secretary of State. As First Assistant Secretary he served under John Hay, assuming more and more responsibility for the department as Hay's health deteriorated. With Hay's death in 1905, he became Secretary of State ad interim until Taft accepted the appointment. He was the first person to have served through all the grades of consular service and became its directing head in Washington.

Loomis was clearly a key figure in the implementation and formulation of Theodore Roosevelt's Panama policy. When it became clear that Colombia would not ratify the Hay-Herran treaty, he contacted John Basset Moore, an authority on international law, who concluded that Colombia was not in a position to obstruct the building of the canal. No doubt Loomis had been heavily influenced by Philippe Bunau-Varilla, whose commitment to the Panama route was decisive to the revolution. The two corresponded regularly from as early as 1902. Indeed, it is thought that it was Loomis who sent a telegram to the American representative in Panama to inform him that a revolution was in progress several hours before it had begun.

As Assistant Secretary, Loomis made many other major contributions to foreign policy. He played a large part in the settlement of the Santo Domingo financial problems of 1903, going to Santo Domingo to personally investigate and recommend solutions. He instigated and implemented the first trade agreement between the United States and Abyssinia. (It was while carrying this document to Abyssinia in 1904 aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm II that his brother, F. Kent Loomis, fell or was thrown overboard.) Loomis was closely connected with the negotiations which surrounded the Russo-Japanese War settlement. He weathered the scandal of the Bowen Affair. At the time of Hay's death he was in France as special envoy to claim the remains of John Paul Jones.

The strain of intense diplomatic activity, the Bowen Affair, and his brother's death took their toll. In October, 1905, Francis Loomis resigned as First Assistant Secretary of State with the understanding that he would be employed for special missions only. The succeeding years were occupied with speaking engagements, activities on behalf of the American Red Cross, and personal business. His interest in Japan and Japanese affairs, which developed as a result of his role during the Russo-Japanese negotiations, led to a presidential appointment in 1908 as special envoy to Japan and chairman of the American commission to plan participation in the Tokyo Exposition. More importantly, his presence in Japan was designed to remove any suggestion of menace, which President Roosevelt feared might be aroused in the minds of the Japanese people by his sending the American fleet around the world.

Upon his return to the United States, Loomis became involved with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Republican politics. In 1912 he was appointed United States Commissioner General to the Exposition at Turin, Italy, and served in a similar capacity to the Berlin International Exposition Congress.

Always a newspaper man at heart, Loomis made an attempt to purchase the Oakland Tribune with Alfred Holman. The negotiations were unsuccessful. However, he was captivated by California and moved his family to Burlingame in 1914. Soon after, he joined the staff of Standard Oil Company as a foreign trade adviser. Though his position de manded that he travel extensively, he still managed active participation in California affairs. As a charter member of the Japanese Society of America, he endeavored to promote better relations between the Japanese and Caucasians in California. He visited Japan in 1922 and assisted in organizing a program to aid the Tokyo earthquake victims in 1923. Additionally, he continued his activities for the Republican Party, was a member of several clubs in the Bay Area, and continued his copious correspondence. Mr. Loomis retired from Standard Oil Company in 1941 at the age of eighty. He died on August 6, 1948.

His papers reveal the extent to which one individual may influence the path of history. A man recognized by his peers, but largely unfamiliar to the public, Loomis played a formative role in Republican politics and an aggressive U.S. foreign policy. His career illustrated his belief in fulfilling the Manifest Destiny of his generation.

From the guide to the Francis B. (Francis Butler) Loomis Papers : microfilm, 1897-1939, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Biographical Note

Francis B. Loomis' service with the State Department came during a critical period in American history. Both at home and abroad, he helped mold policy at a time when the Spanish-American War was being fought, when Japan was beginning to feel her strength in the Pacific, when the preliminary maneuvers for the construction of the Panama Canal were in progress, and when American economic imperialism was at its height. The diplomatic phase of his career seemed remarkable, but he was no less successful in his other varied endeavors. Loomis enjoyed success as a newspaper man, a political publicist, and a key figure in the U.S. oil industry.

Loomis' ancestors came to Windsor, Connecticut, from Braintree, England, in 1638 as part of the Puritan emigration from England. The family home at Windsor still stands as the Loomis Institute, dedicated to offering free education to deserving youngsters from twelve to twenty years old. Mr. Loomis, born in Marietta, Ohio, on July 27, 1861, was the son of Judge William B. and Frances (Wheeler) Loomis. He graduated from Marietta College in 1883 and joined the staff of the New York Tribune shortly thereafter. His involvement with politics began at the relatively early age of twenty-three when he worked on the James G. Blaine campaign of 1884 as head of the press bureau of the Republican National Committee. In this position Loomis was able to form friendships with Mr. Blaine, Senator Foraker, and many leaders of the Republican party. After Blaine's defeat, Loomis returned to Ohio to serve as State Librarian for two years. In 1887 he became the Washington correspondent for the Philadelphia Press. The following year Loomis reassumed his position as press agent for the Republican party's presidential nominee, Benjamin Harrison.

With President Harrison's victory, Loomis was appointed U.S. Consul to St. Etienne. France, a position he assumed in 1890. For the next three years he gave particular attention to the study of industrial conditions in Europe. Upon his return to the United States, he became Editor-in-Chief of the Cincinnati Daily Tribune. Once again Loomis was drafted to serve the Republican party. William McKinley called him to Canton. Ohio to aid his presidential campaign.

Shortly after his marriage to Elizabeth Mast of Springfield, Ohio he was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Venezuela. Loomis' actions in Venezuela were either damned or praised, depending upon viewpoint. His detractors accused him of using American prestige and economic power to force business concessions abroad. His friends insisted that his only object was to improve trade relations between the United States and Venezuela. Loomis' service in Venezuela was quite active. He provided intelligence reports on the location of Admiral Cervera's fleet during the Spanish-American War; he explored trade possibilities during a trip up the Orinoco River aboard the Wilmington in 1898; he successfully negotiated several commercial treaties; and he energetically defended American interests in Venezuela.

In 1901 Loomis was appointed Minister to Portugal, a post he held until 1902 when he was recalled and appointed First Assistant Secretary of State. As First Assistant Secretary he served under John Hay, assuming more and more responsibility for the department as Hay's health deteriorated. With Hay's death in 1905, he became Secretary of State ad interim until Taft accepted the appointment. He was the first person to have served through all the grades of consular service and became its directing head in Washington.

Loomis was clearly a key figure in the implementation and formulation of Theodore Roosevelt's Panama policy. When it became clear that Colombia would not ratify the Hay-Herran treaty, he contacted John Basset Moore, an authority on international law, who concluded that Colombia was not in a position to obstruct the building of the canal. No doubt Loomis had been heavily influenced by Philippe Bunau-Varilla, whose commitment to the Panama route was decisive to the revolution. The two corresponded regularly from as early as 1902. Indeed, it is thought that it was Loomis who sent a telegram to the American representative in Panama to inform him that a revolution was in progress several hours before it had begun.

As Assistant Secretary, Loomis made many other major contributions to foreign policy. He played a large part in the settlement of the Santo Domingo financial problems of 1903, going to Santo Domingo to personally investigate and recommend solutions. He instigated and implemented the first trade agreement between the United States and Abyssinia. (It was while carrying this document to Abyssinia in 1904 aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm II that his brother, F. Kent Loomis, fell or was thrown overboard.) Loomis was closely connected with the negotiations which surrounded the Russo-Japanese War settlement. He weathered the scandal of the Bowen Affair. At the time of Hay's death he was in France as special envoy to claim the remains of John Paul Jones.

The strain of intense diplomatic activity, the Bowen Affair, and his brother's death took their toll. In October, 1905, Francis Loomis resigned as First Assistant Secretary of State with the understanding that he would be employed for special missions only. The succeeding years were occupied with speaking engagements, activities on behalf of the American Red Cross, and personal business. His interest in Japan and Japanese affairs, which developed as a result of his role during the Russo-Japanese negotiations, led to a presidential appointment in 1908 as special envoy to Japan and chairman of the American commission to plan participation in the Tokyo Exposition. More importantly, his presence in Japan was designed to remove any suggestion of menace, which President Roosevelt feared might be aroused in the minds of the Japanese people by his sending the American fleet around the world.

Upon his return to the United States, Loomis became involved with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Republican politics. In 1912 he was appointed United States Commissioner General to the Exposition at Turin, Italy, and served in a similar capacity to the Berlin International Exposition Congress.

Always a newspaper man at heart, Loomis made an attempt to purchase the Oakland Tribune with Alfred Holman. The negotiations were unsuccessful. However, he was captivated by California and moved his family to Burlingame in 1914. Soon after, he joined the staff of Standard Oil Company as a foreign trade adviser. Though his position de manded that he travel extensively, he still managed active participation in California affairs. As a charter member of the Japanese Society of America, he endeavored to promote better relations between the Japanese and Caucasians in California. He visited Japan in 1922 and assisted in organizing a program to aid the Tokyo earthquake victims in 1923. Additionally, he continued his activities for the Republican Party, was a member of several clubs in the Bay Area, and continued his copious correspondence. Mr. Loomis retired from Standard Oil Company in 1941 at the age of eighty. He died on August 6, 1948.

His papers reveal the extent to which one individual may influence the path of history. A man recognized by his peers, but largely unfamiliar to the public, Loomis played a formative role in Republican politics and an aggressive U.S. foreign policy. His career illustrated his belief in fulfilling the Manifest Destiny of his generation.

From the guide to the Francis B. (Francis Butler) Loomis Papers, 1897-1939, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

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Ark ID:
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Subjects:

  • Scientific expeditions
  • Republican Party (U.S.)
  • Presidents--Election
  • Presidents--United States--Election
  • Political conventions

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Japan (as recorded)
  • Panama Canal (Panama) (as recorded)
  • Portugal (as recorded)
  • Japan (as recorded)
  • Venezuela (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Pacific Ocean (as recorded)
  • Venezuela. (as recorded)
  • Japan. (as recorded)
  • Portugal. (as recorded)
  • Portugal (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Panama Canal. (as recorded)
  • Venezuela (as recorded)
  • Panama Canal (Panama) (as recorded)