Hiram W. Johnson of California

Hiram W. Johnson of California

  By Ray Hill Few politicians enjoyed the lengthy career Hiram W. Johnson carved out in California.  Johnson’s time in public office was stormy, yet he remained enduringly popular.  By the time of his death in 1945, Hiram Johnson was a living icon in his home state. Johnson was born on September 2, 1866, the […]

Carter Glass of Virginia

Carter Glass of Virginia

By Ray Hill Rixey Smith, Senator Carter Glass’s long-time Secretary, wrote a flattering biography of his boss entitled “Unreconstructed Rebel: Carter Glass” and that Glass certainly was.  Indeed, it was President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself who had labeled Glass an “unreconstructed rebel,” emphasizing the Virginian’s frequent dissents from prevailing public policy. Carter Glass was born […]

John H. Bankhead of Alabama

John H. Bankhead of Alabama

By Ray Hill   For decades the Bankhead family was one of the most politically prominent in the state.  Today, perhaps the best-known member of the family is the late actress Tallulah Bankhead, yet Miss Bankhead’s father William was Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives while her Uncle John was the United States […]

William Gibbs McAdoo

William Gibbs McAdoo

  By Ray Hill Few men have lived as colorful and productive a life as did William Gibbs McAdoo, who was, incidentally, a one-time resident of Knoxville.  A lawyer, businessman, son-in-law of a President of the United States, member of a President’s Cabinet, U.S. Senator from California, and presidential aspirant, W. G. McAdoo left little […]

William E. Borah: The Lion of Idaho

William E. Borah: The Lion of Idaho

By Ray Hill William Edgar Borah was one of the most celebrated members of the United States Senate during his time.  Enormously popular in his state of Idaho, Borah was an impressive orator, regularly filling the Senate galleries when he spoke and his speeches were unusual in that his oratory could move colleagues to actually […]

Burton K. Wheeler of Montana

Burton K. Wheeler of Montana

By Ray Hill Few members of the United States Senate had as colorful or stormy a career as Burton Kendall Wheeler of Montana.  The fact Wheeler came to represent Montana in the Senate in the first place was an accident of fate, as Wheeler had been born in Hudson, Massachusetts on February 27, 1882.  Wheeler […]

Senator Ellison DuRant Smith of South Carolina

Senator Ellison DuRant Smith of South Carolina

By Ray Hill Ellison DuRant Smith was one of the more colorful figures in South Carolina’s oftentimes turbulent political history.  It was frequent said, “His name is Ellison DuRant Smith and he sure do rant.”  More commonly, he was known simply as “Cotton Ed.” E. D. Smith was born while the War Between the States […]

Robert Rice Reynolds of North Carolina

Robert Rice Reynolds of North Carolina

By Ray Hill In a time when the South had some of the most flamboyant politicians in the country, few exceeded Robert Rice Reynolds of North Carolina for his flair.  Over time, Reynolds’s penchant for flair degenerated into buffoonery, a condition few politicians can successfully survive.  Bob Reynolds was from Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina […]