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Norman Jay Coleman
1st United States Secretary of Agriculture
In office
February 15, 1889 – March 6, 1889
Preceded by (none)
Succeeded by Jeremiah M. Rusk
Personal details
Born (1827-05-16)May 16, 1827
Richfield Springs, New York, U.S.
Died November 3, 1911(1911-11-03) (aged 84)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Louisville
Profession Politician, Publisher

Norman Jay Coleman (May 16, 1827 – November 3, 1911) was a newspaper publisher and the first United States Secretary of Agriculture.

Coleman was born in Richfield Springs, New York in 1827 to Hamilton and Nancy Coleman. He received a law degree from the University of Louisville Law School in 1849. Coleman then moved to Missouri and went into farming. In 1855 he started the Valley Farmer newspaper. As a result of the newspaper, Coleman became an important person in the Missouri farming community, which helped him become a member of the Missouri House of Representatives. Coleman’s newspaper stopped due to the American Civil War, but three years after the war he started the Coleman’s Rural World. His career in politics continued when he was made the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri from 1875 to 1877. During that time he worked to make United States Department of Agriculture a cabinet-level department. Under the administration of President Grover Cleveland, he served as its first Secretary. His position as Secretary of Agriculture was never confirmed by the United States Senate.

He was a member of the Freemasons.

  • Grossman, Mark. Encyclopedia of the United States Cabinet. Vols. 1-3. (2000) ISBN: 9780874369779.
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles P. Johnson
Lieutenant Governor of Missouri
1875 – 1877
Succeeded by
Henry C. Brockmeyer
Preceded by
United States Secretary of Agriculture
February 15, 1889 – March 6, 1889
Succeeded by
Jeremiah M. Rusk
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