From Ohio History Central
Charles W. Sawyer was born on February 10, 1887, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College in 1908. He then pursued a law degree from the University of Cincinnati. Upon graduating in 1911, Sawyer began to practice law in Cincinnati and also embarked on a political career, winning election to the Cincinnati City Council that same year.
With the United States' involvement in World War I, Sawyer enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he rose to the rank of major. Upon leaving the service in 1919, he returned to his legal career. Sawyer, a member of the Democratic Party, remained active in politics, winning election as Ohio's lieutenant governor in 1932, an office that he held from 1933 until 1935. In 1938, he was an unsuccessful candidate for governor.
Due to Sawyer's devotion to the Democratic Party, in 1944 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a fellow Democrat, appointed Sawyer as the United States Ambassador to Belgium and the Minister to Luxembourg. He remained in these positions until 1945. Two years later, President Harry Truman appointed Sawyer to the U.S. Civil Service Commission's Review Board. Sawyer left the Review Board in 1948 to become the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
Sawyer served as the Secretary of Commerce for President Truman's remaining years in office. In 1953, Sawyer returned to Cincinnati and resumed his legal career. He remained active in local politics and was a member of numerous local committees and charity organizations. He died on April 7, 1979, in Palm Beach, Florida.