It was created on February 14, 1903, during the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt. Investigations were the province of its Bureau of Corporations. The department was renamed the Department of Commerce on March 4, 1913, and its bureaus and agencies specializing in labor were transferred to the new Department of Labor. In 1915, the Bureau of Corporations was spun off as an independent agency, the Federal Trade Commission.
The United States Secretary of Commerce and Labor was the head of the department. The secretary was a member of the President's Cabinet. Corresponding with the division of the department in 1913, the Secretary of Commerce and Labor's position was divided into separate positions of United States Secretary of Commerce and United States Secretary of Labor.
In 2011 and 2013, in response to federal budget-cutting efforts, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), sponsored S. 1116, a proposal to re-combine two departments as the "Department of Commerce and the Workforce". To date, no action on this proposal has been taken beyond referral to committee.
|Secretary of Commerce and Labor of the United States of America|
Seal of the Department
|United States Department of Commerce and Labor|
|Reports to||The President|
with Senate advice and consent
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Formation||February 14, 1903|
|First holder||George B. Cortelyou|
|Final holder||Charles Nagel|
|Abolished||March 4, 1913|
|Succession||Secretary of Commerce|
Secretary of Labor
|No.||Portrait||Name||State of residence||Took office||Left office||President(s)|
|1||George B. Cortelyou||New York||February 18, 1903||June 30, 1904||Theodore Roosevelt|
|2||Victor H. Metcalf||California||July 1, 1904||December 16, 1906|
|3||Oscar S. Straus||New York||December 17, 1906||March 5, 1909|
|4||Charles Nagel||Missouri||March 6, 1909||March 4, 1913||William Howard Taft|