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Millard Evelyn Tydings

In office
March 5, 1927 – January 3, 1951
Preceded by Ovington Weller
Succeeded by John Marshall Butler

In office
March 4, 1923 – March 3, 1927
Preceded by Albert Blakeney
Succeeded by William Purington Cole, Jr.

In office
January 1920 – September 1920
Preceded by Herbert R. Wooden
Succeeded by John L. G. Lee

Born April 6, 1890
Havre de Grace, Maryland
Died February 9, 1961 (aged 70)
near Havre de Grace, Maryland
Political party Democratic
Profession Civil engineer, lawyer, politician, author
Religion Anglican/Episcopalian
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1917-1919
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars World War I

Millard Evelyn Tydings (April 6, 1890–February 9, 1961) was an attorney, author, soldier, state legislator, and served as a Democratic Representative and Senator in the United States Congress from Maryland.


Early life

Tydings was born in Havre de Grace, located in Harford County. He attended the public schools of Harford County and graduated from Maryland Agricultural College (now the University of Maryland, College Park) in 1910. He engaged in civil engineering with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in West Virginia in 1911. He studied law at the University of Maryland School of Law, in Baltimore, and was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Havre de Grace in 1913.

Tydings was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1916, and was Speaker of the House from 1920-1922. He served in the Maryland State Senate during 1922-1923.

Tydings served in the U.S. Army during World War I and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Division Machine-gun Officer in 1918. He served in Germany with the Army of Occupation and was discharged from the service in 1919.

House and Senate career

Tydings was elected as a Democrat to the 68th and 69th sessions of the U.S. Congress from the second district of Maryland (March 4, 1923-March 3, 1927), but was not a candidate for renomination in 1926, having become a candidate for the United States Senate. He was elected to the Senate in 1926, 1932, 1938 and 1944 and served from March 4, 1927, to January 3, 1951. He co-sponsored the Philippine Independence Act, commonly known as the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which established an autonomous 10-year Commonwealth status for The Philippines, which would then culminate in the withdrawal of American sovereignty and the recognition of Philippine Independence. In January 1934, Tydings introduced a resolution "condemning Nazi oppression of Jews in Germany, and asking President Roosevelt to inform the Hitler government that this country was profoundly distressed about its antisemitic measures... it remained bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee".[1]

During his time in the Senate, Tydings was well-known for taking principled, controversial, often unusual stands on various issues. He opposed the New Deal due to his fiscal conservatism, even proposing a constitutional amendment requiring the federal budget to be balanced at all times. He was a vocal critic of Prohibition prior to its repeal in 1933. Perhaps most controversially, he sponsored a bill following the end of World War II calling for the U.S. to lead the world in nuclear disarmament.[2]

In 1950, he headed a committee, generally known as the Tydings Committee, to investigate Joseph McCarthy's early claims of Communist penetration of the federal government and military. The hearings revolved around McCarthy's charge that the fall of the Kuomintang regime in China had been caused by the actions of alleged Soviet spies in the State Department, and whether Sinologist Owen Lattimore was a "top Russian agent" as McCarthy claimed. The hearings, held from March to July 1950, were extremely stormy as charge was met with counter-charge; they attracted much media attention, especially after Louis F. Budenz entered the proceedings as a surprise witness supporting McCarthy's charges. The committee published a report denouncing McCarthy and his claims as a hoax.

When Tydings ran for re-election in 1950, McCarthy's staff distributed a composite picture of Tydings with Earl Browder, the former leader of the American Communist Party, whom Tydings had never met before Browder testified before his committee in July 1950. The composite photo merged a 1938 photo of Tydings listening to the radio and a 1940 photo of Browder delivering a speech; the text under the composite photo stated that when Browder had testified before Tydings's committee, Tydings had stated in reply "Thank you, sir". Although the quote was technically accurate, it was generally held to be misleading as it implied a degree of amity between Browder and Tydings that did not in fact exist. Browder had been subpoenaed to appear before the committee and had been most reluctant to answer questions about allegations of Communist infiltration of the U.S. government. As a result, Tydings and Browder had clashed a number of times, and Tydings's courtesy had come after a lengthy exchange in which Browder had initially refused to answer a question about whether two diplomats had been members of the American Communist Party. In the 1950 election, Tydings was defeated by John Marshall Butler. He was again nominated in 1956 as Democratic candidate for the Senate, but withdrew before the election for health reasons.

During his congressional service, Tydings was chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Territories and Insular Affairs (73rd through 79th Congresses), the Subcommittee on the Investigation of Loyalty of State Department Employees ("Tydings Subcommittee") (81st Congress), and the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services (81st Congress).

Death and legacy

Millard E. Tydings died at his farm, "Oakington," near Havre de Grace, Maryland. He was buried in Angel Hill Cemetery.

The Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge, which carries Interstate 95 across the Susquehanna River, is named in his honor, as is the Millard E. Tydings Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park, which houses the departments of Government & Politics and Economics.

His son, Joe Tydings, was also a Senator from Maryland from 1965-1971.

He is the grandfather of actress Alexandra Tydings.


  1. ^ "Legitimating Nazism: Harvard University and the Hitler Regime, 1933–1937". American Jewish History 92.2 (2004) 189-223
  2. ^ "Papers of Millard E. Tydings". University of Maryland.  

See also


Political offices
Preceded by
Herbert R. Wooden
Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates
Succeeded by
John L. G. Lee
Preceded by
Chan Gurney
Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee
1949 – 1951
Succeeded by
Richard B. Russell, Jr.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Albert Blakeney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
William Purington Cole, Jr.
United States Senate
Preceded by
Ovington Weller
United States Senator (Class 3) from Maryland
1927 – 1951
Served alongside: William Cabell Bruce, Phillips Lee Goldsborough,
George L. P. Radcliffe, Herbert O'Conor
Succeeded by
John Marshall Butler


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