Biography: William Walter Husband

Born in Vermont, Husband was the son of an Irish immigrant father and an American-born mother. After an early career as a journalist, Husband came to Washington, D.C. in 1903 as secretary to Senator William P. Dillingham, who served as a member of the Senate Immigration Committee and who appointed Husband as the committee clerk, giving him early expertise in immigration. Around 1907, he became the executive secretary of the U.S. Immigration Commission, which was headed by Dillingham. Husband was sent to Europe to study emigration, and in 1911 served as a member of the Inter-Racial Council in London. That same year, the Commission issued a 42-volume report on immigrants in the U.S. and causes of emigration abroad. In 1912, Husband moved to the Department of Commerce and Labor, serving as Chief of the Contract Labor Division. He continued to study European emigration for the Department, and edited his own publication, the Immigration Journal. Following World War I, he returned to Europe, working with the Red Cross and serving on the Inter-Allied Repatriation Commission in Berlin. In 1921, Husband was appointed Commissioner-General of immigration by President Harding. He remained in that post until 1924, when he was named the American delegate to the International conference on Immigration and Emigration in Rome. In 1925, he was appointed the second Assistant Secretary of Labor by President Coolidge, where he remained until his retirement in 1935. Considered one of the nation's top experts on immigration, he died in his native Vermont in 1942.