- Donovan, William (Bill) Joseph
- (1883-1959)William (Bill) Donovan was born in Buffalo, New York. He attended St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Niagara University, and Columbia University, where he graduated with an A.B. in 1905 and an LL.B. in 1907. He initially worked as a lawyer in Buffalo. In 1912, he formed and led a cavalry unit that served in the border action in Mexico in 1916, and during World War I he served with the 69th Infantry and was wounded several times and awarded the Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery.After the war, Donovan resumed his legal practice but in 1922 was appointed U.S. attorney general for New York’s Western District. He campaigned unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of the state. He was also unsuccessful when he ran for the governorship in 1932. In 1924, Donovan was appointed assistant attorney general, a post he held until 1929 when he began to practice law in New York City. In 1940, he was sent to England by Frank Knox to report on Great Britain’s ability to continue to fight against Nazi Germany in World War II. In July 1941, he was appointed as coordinator of information to gather intelligence, and on 13 June 1942 this became the Office of Strategic Services with Donovan as its head. Donovan was influential in the decision to establish the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947. In 1953, Donovan was appointed as ambassador to Thailand, but he was forced to resign due to poor health in 1954.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.