Washington Widow: Mary Borah

Washington Widow: Mary Borah

By Ray Hill If there is anything sadder than a defeated and forgotten politician, it may well be a forgotten politician’s widow. Once powerful politicians who wielded enormous influence, attended by staff and an abundance of friends, oftentimes find themselves bereft when out of office and without favors to dispense.  Many former friends disappear with […]

‘The Man’ —Theodore G. Bilbo of Mississippi

‘The Man’ —Theodore G. Bilbo of Mississippi

By Ray Hill The art of politics has changed dramatically over the years. The age of truly gifted speakers who could move the emotions of audiences, bringing them alternately to laughter or tears is long gone.  Courthouse rallies and barbecues are already becoming things of the past, replaced by slick television advertisements, polling and focus […]

Thomas P Gore: Oklahoma’s Blind Senator

Thomas P Gore: Oklahoma’s Blind Senator

By Ray Hill Tennesseans recall our own two senators named Gore, but there was another, who was apparently a distant cousin, Thomas Pryor Gore. T. P. Gore accomplished much and enjoyed a long and successful career in spite of being blind. Gore had suffered two different childhood accidents that left him completely blind. Thomas P. […]

The New Deal in Tennessee II

The New Deal in Tennessee II

By Ray Hill Tennessee’s delegation in Congress in 1932 was effective and able; it would make a big difference in providing jobs for desperate Tennesseans, as well as flooding the state with projects and improvements. Congressman Joseph W. Byrns of Nashville was well on his way to his eventual rise to become Speaker of the […]

The New Deal in Tennessee I

The New Deal in Tennessee I

By Ray Hill “I have got no horse no autmobel and no nothing to ride can you pleas if possible fix for me to get some help some way can you fix for me some way so my family will not purish.” So wrote a man from Newcomb, Tennessee to Congressman J. Will Taylor on […]

FDR Comes to Tennessee

FDR Comes to Tennessee

By Ray Hill President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to Tennessee several times during his presidency.  It gave local politicians the opportunity to bask in the glow of Roosevelt’s magnetic presence and the people of Tennessee to actually see the jaunty tilt of FDR’s large head, cigarette holder firmly clenched between his teeth.  The popular image […]

Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma

Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma

By Ray Hill Unlike many Southern states, Oklahoma did not continuously reelect incumbent United States senators, yet John William Elmer Thomas was one of the longest serving senators from the Sooner State. When he first entered the U.S. Senate, Elmer Thomas could have come straight from central casting; tall, prematurely white haired, with a classic […]

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