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UNDERWOOD, Oscar Wilder



UNDERWOOD, Oscar Wilder, (grandson of Joseph Rogers Underwood), a Representative and a Senator from Alabama; born in Louisville, Jefferson County, Ky., May 6, 1862; attended the common schools, the Rugby School, Louisville, Ky., and the University of Virginia at Charlottesville; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1884 and commenced practice in Birmingham, Ala.; presented credentials as a Democratic Member-elect to the Fifty-fourth Congress and served from March 4, 1895, to June 9, 1896, when he was succeeded by Truman H. Aldrich, who contested his election; elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-fifth and to the eight succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1897-March 3, 1915); did not seek renomination in 1914, having become a candidate for Senator; minority whip (Fifty-sixth Congress); majority leader 1911-1915; chairman, Committee on Ways and Means (Sixty-second and Sixty-third Congresses); unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1912 and 1924; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1914; reelected in 1920, and served from March 4, 1915, to March 3, 1927; declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1926; minority leader and Democratic caucus chairman 1920-1923; chairman, Committee on Cuban Relations (Sixty-fourth and Sixty-fifth Congresses); represented the United States as a member of the Conference on Limitation of Armament in 1921 and 1922; represented the United States as a delegate to the Sixth International Conference of American States at Havana, Cuba, in 1928; retired to his estate, 'Woodlawn Mansion,' near Accotink, Fairfax County, Va., and engaged in literary pursuits until his death there on January 25, 1929; interment in Woodlawn Cemetery, Birmingham, Ala.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Alabama Department of Archives and History

Montgomery, AL
Papers: 1876-1962. 65 cubic feet. Biographical and genealogical material; letters written to Underwood while in U.S. House of Representatives; political correspondence concerning 1904 Democratic National Convention and presidential election; 1906 Senate election; correspondence and letters that document Underwood's years in the U.S. Senate, 1915-1927; Muscle Shoals Project; speeches; and political campaign material. Finding aid.
Additional Papers: Correspondence in Thomas M. Owen papers, 1853-1920; State Democratic Executive Committee of Alabama records, 1875-1986; Forney Johnston papers, 1876-1982; Joseph Forney Johnston papers, 1847-1926; Durr family papers, 1868-1968; and John H. Bankhead papers, 1865-1923.

Minnesota Historical Society

St. Paul, MN
Papers: In National Council of Jewish Women, Minneapolis Section records, 1917-1970.

University of Michigan
Bentley Historical Library

Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: In William Butts Mershon papeers, 1848-1943.

University of Tulsa
McFarlin Library

Tulsa, OK
Papers: Correspondence in Alice Robertson papers, 1820-1931.

University of Virginia
Alderman Library

Charlottesville, VA
Papers: Correspondence in Paul B. Barringer papers, 1828-1963.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives

New Haven, CT
Papers: In Harold Phelps Stokes papers, 1908-1969; and Beer family papers, 1740-1981.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Allen, Lee N. "Twenty-Four Votes for Oscar W. Underwood." Alabama Review 48 (October 1995): 243-68.

___. "The Underwood Presidential Movement of 1924."Alabama Review 15 (April 1962): 83-99.

Fleming, James S. "Re-Establishing Leadership in the House of Representatives: The Case of Oscar W. Underwood." Mid-America 54 (October 1972): 234-50.

Grantham, Dewey Wesley, Jr. "Oscar W. Underwood and Henry D. Clayton: Leaders in Enacting the Tariff and Trust Legislation of The New Freedom." Alabama Historical Quarterly 7 (Winter 1945): 584-97.

Johnson, Evans C. "Oscar Underwood and the Hobson Campaign." Alabama Review 16 (April 1963): 125-40.

___. Oscar W. Underwood: A Political Biography. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1980.

___. "Oscar W. Underwood and the Senatorial Campaign of 1920." Alabama Review 21 (January 1968): 3-20.

___. "The Underwood Forces and the Democratic Nomination of 1912." Historian 31 (February 1969): 173-93.

Link, Arthur S. "The Underwood Presidential Movement of 1912."Journal of Southern History 11 (May 1945): 230-45.

Torodash, Martin. "Underwood and the Tariff." Alabama Review 20 (April 1967): 115-30.

Underwood, Oscar Wilder. Drifting Sands of Party Politics. New York: Century Co., 1928.

Watson, Elbert L. "Oscar W. Underwood." In Alabama United States Senators, pp. 105-9. Huntsville, AL: Strode Publishers, 1982.

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Committee Assignments

  • House Committee - Ways and Means - Chair
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