Josephus Daniels (1862-1948) was an accomplished journalist from North Carolina. His work brought him into politics where he very actively supported William Jennings Bryan throughout Bryan’s three failed presidential bids. But you know him for something else entirely.
Undeterred, Josephus Daniels finally found a winner when he supported Woodrow Wilson. Wilson appointed Daniels to serve as Secretary of the Navy in 1913.
With little naval experience and strong personal beliefs, Daniels didn’t make many friends in the Navy, especially among officers. His reforms included banning alcohol from ships (a sore point for officers), introducing women into the fleet, and the establishment of service schools on board ships and stations. Despite being a political appointee, Daniels strongly supported promoting from within and began the practice of sending 100 Sailors from the fleet to the Naval Academy each year.
In 1921 Daniels resigned and returned to journalism. From 1933 to 1942 he served as U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Daniels died on January 15, 1948 in Raleigh, NC.
Still think you haven’t heard of Josephus Daniels? After he banned alcohol on ships, the strongest thing to drink was coffee. A cup of coffee despairingly became known as a “cup of Joe.” Needless to say, the term stuck.