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James Buchanan Henry

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Title: James Buchanan Henry  
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Subject: Wheatland (James Buchanan House), Secretary to the President of the United States
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James Buchanan Henry

James Buchanan Henry (1833-1915)[1] was a lawyer, writer, secretary to the President, nephew and ward[2] of James Buchanan.[3][4] He was the first man to officially hold this office being paid by the Government.[5] He held this position for two years.[6]

J.B. Henry was the son of Harriet Buchanan (1802-1840) and the Reverend Robert Henry. At age seven, Henry was adopted by James Buchanan and raised as his ward.[3] Buchanan wanted his nephew to become an attorney like him, and paid for his admittance and education at Princeton[3] in 1850.[7] In 1851 he sent Henry to study law in Philadelphia with John Cadwalader.[7]

Upon taking the position of secretary to the President, he became the first to be recognized and paid by Congress. Prior to this, each President paid the wages for private secretaries out of his own pocket.[8] Some of his duties included drawing the Presidents salary and paying all of the bills. His post was in the office of the southeast corner room, second floor. He served there between the years 1857 to 1859.

After leaving the White House, he practiced law in New York City, where he served as Assistant United States District Attorney.


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