40 × 30 in. (101.6 × 76.2 cm)
Framed: 46 3/8 × 37 in. (117.8 × 94 cm)
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
William Colmer asked fellow Mississippian Betty Beaumont Brown to paint his portrait as chairman of the Rules Committee. “The one thing he kept saying,” the artist later wrote, “was that he did not want it to look like him. I thought he was joking but he insisted to the end.” Colmer served for decades in the House, and like many of his fellow Southerners in Congress during the mid-20th century, his long tenure began with allegiance to New Deal policies and turned more conservative over the years. In the 1950s, Colmer opposed desegregation and was a leading voice in the “Southern Manifesto” of fellow segregationists in Congress.