Douglas, James Green (1887–1954), senator and businessman, was born 11 July 1887 in 19 Brighton Square, Dublin, eldest among five sons and three daughters of John Douglas (proprietor of John Douglas & Sons Ltd, drapers and outfitters, of Wexford St.) and Emily Douglas (née Mitton) of Coalisland, Co. Tyrone. He attended (1895–8) a small school for quaker children and was a boarder (1898–1902) in the Friends' School, Lisburn. In 1902 he began a three-year apprenticeship in his father's business. From an early age Douglas was fascinated by politics and influenced by the newspapers edited by Arthur Griffith (qv). He became a member of the Dublin Liberal Association, whose members for the most part were protestant home rulers. After the 1916 rising Douglas, with ‘AE' (George Russell (qv)) and others, who also regarded themselves as neither unionists nor nationalists, set out to promote what they termed ‘full dominion status’ for Ireland. This paved the way for the Irish convention (1917–18), which, however, failed to reconcile the polarised political attitudes of the time. Its collapse was followed (April 1918) by the threat of conscription, against which Douglas lobbied vigorously. He decried the conflict between the British authorities and the Sinn Féin movement in 1919–21 and took no part in it. However, he reentered public affairs after a message (January 1921) from his fellow quaker and friend, L. Hollingsworth Wood, a leading member of the American Committee for Relief in Ireland, who had been selected to represent it in Ireland to ensure that its funds would be distributed on a non-political and non-sectarian basis. On 1 February 1921 Douglas, with the help of Sinn Féin, set up the Irish White Cross to this end. As honorary treasurer and trustee he almost singlehandedly ran the White Cross in 1921. In late October, at the suggestion of Michael Collins (qv), whom he came to admire greatly, he visited branches of the committee, formally thanking their members and supporters. After Dáil Éireann had approved the treaty, Douglas, at Collins's request, served on the committee drafting a constitution for the new state; his influence on its work was second only to that of Collins. Douglas publicly supported the Irish Free State government at home and abroad during and after the civil war of 1922–3.
Early in 1922 Douglas was also appointed to chair a commission of inquiry into wages and conditions in the post office; its report recommended many improvements in conditions of work for employees, and a threatened strike was averted. He served as vice-chairman of Seanad Éireann (1922–5) and was a senator in 1922–36, 1938–43, and 1943–54, exhibiting remarkable skill on constitutional issues; the topics that concerned him most were international relations, refugees, and world peace. He represented Ireland at many interparliamentary conferences, was the employers' representative to the International Labour Conference in Geneva (1934), and represented the oireachtas at the congress of Europe in The Hague (1948).
For some thirty years he ran the family business, and was also a director of Aspro (Ireland) Ltd, Nugent & Cooper Ltd, Philips Lamps (Ireland) Ltd, and the Greenmount & Boyne Linen Co. Ltd. In addition he served as president of the Linen and Cotton Textile Manufacturers Association and as a member of the council of the Federated Union of Employers. He died 16 September 1954. He married (1911) Georgina Culley, whom he met during his apprenticeship. They resided at Terenure and had two sons: John Harold, who succeeded to the family business, and James Arthur, who became a well known architect.