Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State

United States of America flag

Web Property of the U.S. Department of State


Object Details

Alphonse Jongers (French, American, 1872-1945)
North American; French
oil on canvas
Overall: 63 in x 49 in; 160.02 cm x 124.46 cm
This portrait of Philander C. Knox, which is thought to have been done from life, was purchased by the Department of State from Mr. Jongers on January 30, 1913.
Signed "Alphonse Jongers-1913."
Credit Line
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Accession Number


Philander Chase Knox (1853–1921) was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Mount Union College in Ohio, studied law, and rose to prominence as a corporate attorney. In 1901, President William McKinley appointed him attorney general, and he continued in this position during the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt. Knox represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate from 1904 to 1909, when he was appointed secretary of state by President William Howard Taft. 

As secretary, Knox encouraged and protected U.S. investments abroad, practicing “Dollar Diplomacy,” as it was called, in using trade to promote democracy and stability in Asia and Latin America. He successfully negotiated an end to the Bering Sea controversy over the hunting of fur seals in a treaty signed by the United States, Great Britain, Japan, and Russia in 1911. It was the first international treaty for wildlife conservation. Within the Department of State, Knox established regional divisions and extended the merit system for selection and promotion in the Consular and Diplomatic Service. 

After President Taft lost his second presidential bid in 1912, Knox resigned his position and returned to Pittsburgh. He continued to practice law until he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1916, where he served until his death in 1921.