John Danforth

American politician, Missouri

John Claggett Danforth (born September 5, 1936) is a retired American politician. He began his career in 1968 as the Attorney General of Missouri. He served three terms as a United States Senator from Missouri. He is considered a moderate and conciliator. He has been periodically called out of retirement by both of the major political parties to fill diplomatic roles. In 2004, he served briefly as United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

John Danforth
24th United States Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
July 1, 2004 – January 20, 2005
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Secretary-GeneralKofi Annan
Preceded byJohn D. Negroponte
Succeeded byAnne Patterson (Acting)
United States Senator
from Missouri
In office
December 27, 1976 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byStuart Symington
Succeeded byJohn Ashcroft
37th Attorney General of Missouri
In office
January 13, 1969 – December 27, 1976
GovernorWarren E. Hearnes (1965–1973)
Kit Bond (1973–1977)
Preceded byNorman H. Anderson
Succeeded byJohn Ashcroft
Personal details
John Claggett Danforth

(1936-09-05) September 5, 1936 (age 87)
St. Louis, Missouri
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Sally Dobson Danforth
Alma materPrinceton University (B.A.)
Yale Law School (J.D.)
Yale Divinity School

Danforth is an ordained Episcopal priest. He presided over the state funeral of Ronald (2004) and Nancy Reagan (2016).

Family and education


Danforth was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the son of Dorothy (Claggett) and Donald Danforth.[1] He is the grandson of William H. Danforth, founder of Purina Mills. His father was the CEO of its successor, Ralston Purina. Danforth's brother, Dr. William Henry Danforth, is former chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis.

Danforth attended St. Louis Country Day School for high school. He eventually went to Princeton University where he received his bachelor's degree in 1958. While in college Danforth joined Lambda Chi Alpha, a fraternity.[2] He then attended law and divinity graduate schools at Yale University. He was employed a short time at the New York law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell.


  1. "Donald Danforth Sr. (1898-1973) - Find a Grave". Find a Grave.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2016-02-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)