Creator: Wheeler, Burton K. (Burton Kendall), 1882-1975

Provenance Note: The Burton K. Wheeler papers were donated to Special Collections from the University of Montana in August of 2000. These papers represent a selection of duplicates from material held by the Montana Historical Society, Helena.

Historical Note: Burton Kendall Wheeler was born in Hudson, Massachusetts on February 27, 1882 and moved to Montana shortly after his graduation from law school in 1905. He began his law career in Butte, serving as U.S. Attorney for Montana from 1913 to 1918 prior to his election to the U.S. Senate in 1922. In 1924, he ran unsuccessfully for vice-president on the Progressive Party presidential ticket. Wheeler is remembered as one of the most powerful senators in Washington D.C. in the 1930s. Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Committee and of the Indian Affairs Committee, he personally influenced such key New Deal legislation as the Public Utilities Holding Company Act of 1935 and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (the Wheeler-Howard Act). In 1937, he successfully led the opposition to President Roosevelt's attempt to pack the Supreme Court with justices of his own political persuasion. Throughout his years in the Senate, Wheeler consistently opposed war. He supported neutrality legislation in the 1930s, spoke out against peacetime conscription in 1940, fought against the Lend-Lease aid to Britain in 1941, and took an active roll in the "America First" movement. After the United States decided to enter World War II, however, Wheeler gave his full support to the effort. He was defeated for reelection in 1946 and practiced law in Washington D.C. until his death in 1975.

Content Description Note: The Burton K. Wheeler papers consist mainly of speeches and writings he made while a United States Senator. Topics covered include Nicaragua, farm relief, tariffs, interstate bus control, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and progressives. The papers also include campaign material from 1940 and 1946 as well as newspaper clippings from throughout Wheeler's life.


Box 1
1. Speeches and Writings, 1924
2. Speeches and Writings, 1926-27
3. Speeches and Writings, 1928-29
4. Speeches and Writings, 1930
5. Speeches and Writings, 1931
6. Speeches and Writings, 1932
7. Speeches and Writings, 1935-36
8. Speeches and Writings, 1937
9. Speeches and Writings, 1938
10. Speeches and Writings, 1939
11. Speeches and Writings, 1940
12. Speeches and Writings, 1941-43
13. Speeches and Writings, 1944
14. Speeches and Writings, 1945-46
15. Speeches and Writings, no dates
16. Campaign Materials, 1940, 1946
17. Clippings, 1924-1968

Updated: 5/22/09