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Gilbert N. Haugen

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1933
Preceded by Thomas Updegraff
Succeeded by Fred Biermann

Born April 21, 1859
Orfordville, Wisconsin, United States
Died July 18, 1933 (aged 74)
Northwood, Iowa
Political party Republican
Profession Banker

Gilbert Nelson Haugen (April 21, 1859 - July 18, 1933) was a seventeen-term Republican U.S. Representative from Iowa's 4th congressional district, then located in northeastern Iowa. For nearly five years, he was the longest-serving member of the House. Born before the Civil War, and first elected to Congress in the nineteenth century, Haugen served until his defeat in the 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt landslide.[1]



Born near Orfordville, Wisconsin, Haugen attended rural schools. He moved to Decorah, Iowa, in 1873 and engaged in agricultural pursuits.He attended Breckenridge College in Decorah, and Academic and Commercial College, in Janesville, Wisconsin. After leaving college, Haugen engaged in various enterprises, principally real estate and banking. Moving to Northwood, Iowa in 1886, Haugen engaged in banking. In 1890, he organized the Northwood Banking Co. and became its president. He also served as treasurer of Worth County, Iowa from 1887 to 1893.[2]

In 1894, Haugen was elected to his first of two terms in the Iowa House of Representatives, where he served until 1898. That year, he was elected as a Republican to represent Iowa's 4th congressional district in the U.S. House, first serving in the Fifty-sixth Congress. He was re-elected sixteen times. He served as chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Interior (in the Sixtieth Congress), and on the Committee on Agriculture (in the Sixty-sixth through Seventy-first Congresses). [3][4]

Haugen served as the U. S. Congressional Agriculture Committee's chairman from 1919 to 1931. Together with Senator Charles L. McNary (R-Oregon), Haugen was the co-author of the McNary-Haugen Farm Relief Bill, a moderate farm relief bill which was offered in three separate congresses before finally passing in 1927. The McNary-Haugen Farm Relief Act was a proposed bill to limit agricultural sales within the United States. Agricultural products would be either stored or export to protect the prices of commodities. The bill was supported by Secretary of Agriculture Henry C. Wallace, however it was vetoed by President Calvin Coolidge, and never went into effect. [5]

In May 1928, Haugen had served longer than any of his House colleagues, earning him the informal title of Dean of the United States House of Representatives, a title that he would hold for five years. In all, he served in Congress from March 4, 1899 to March 3, 1933. In 1932, Haugen, like many other Republican candidates, was defeated in the Roosevelt landslide, losing to Democratic publisher Fred Biermann of Decorah. Several months after leaving Congress, Haugen died at Northwood, on July 18, 1933. He was interred in Sunset Rest Cemetery in Northwood.


  1. ^ Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  2. ^ Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  3. ^ Take Your Choice .(Time Magazine, 1926-05-03),9171,721934,00.html?iid=chix-del|
  4. ^ Personal, business, and political papers. (Unpublished finding aid in repository. State Historical Society of Iowa Manuscript Collection Listing. Iowa City, IA.)
  5. ^ Personal, business, and political papers. (Unpublished finding aid in repository. State Historical Society of Iowa Manuscript Collection Listing. Iowa City, IA.)

Other Sources

  • Harstad, Peter T., and Bonnie Lindemann. Gilbert N. Haugen: Norwegian-American Farm Politician. (Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1992.
  • Michael, Bonnie. Gilbert N. Haugen. Apprentice Congressman. (Palimpsest 59. July/August, 1978: 118-29)
  • Murphy, Daniel D. Contested Election Case of D. D. Murphy v. G.N. Haugen from the Fourth Congressional District of Iowa. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1911)
  • Schacht, John N. Three Progressives From Iowa: Gilbert N. Haugen, Herbert C. Hoover, Henry A. Wallace. (Iowa City: Center for the Study of the Recent History of the United States, 1980)

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Asbury Francis Lever
Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee
1919 - 1931
Succeeded by
John Marvin Jones

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.



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