Jerry J. O'Connell

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Jerry Joseph O'Connell
Jerry O'Connell (Montana Congressman).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1937-January 3, 1939
Preceded by Joseph P. Monaghan
Succeeded by Jacob Thorkelson
Member of the Montana House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1909-06-14)14 June 1909
Butte, Montana
Died 16 January 1956(1956-01-16) (aged 46)
Great Falls, Montana
Political party Democratic

Jerry Joseph O'Connell (June 14, 1909 – January 16, 1956) was an American politician. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Montana.


Born in Butte, Montana, O'Connell attended the parochial schools and Butte Central High School. He graduated from Carroll College (formerly Mount St. Charles College), Helena, Montana, in 1931, and from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., in 1934. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1934.


Montana: O'Connell served in the State house of representatives 1931–1934. He served as member of the Montana Public Service Commission 1934–1936. He served as delegate to the Democratic State conventions 1930–1940.

Washington, DC: O'Connell was elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-fifth Congress (January 3, 1937 – January 3, 1939).[1] He ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1938 to the Seventy-sixth Congress and again in 1940 to the Seventy-seventh Congress.[2]

Montana: O'Connell worked as a newspaper editor and publisher in Hamilton, Montana, from 1939 to 1941. He commenced a law practice of law in Butte, Montana in 1940. He served as delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1944.[3]

Washington State: O'Connell moved to Seattle, Washington, in June 1944. O'Connell served as executive secretary of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee from December 1944 to January 1947, for the Roosevelt Democrats in 1947, and for the Washington State Progressive Party in 1948 and 1949.

Washington, DC: In June 1948, O'Connell served as chairman for demonstrators against the Mundt-Nixon Bill, which had passed the U.S. House of Representatives but was stalling in the U.S. Senate.[4][5]

Montana: O'Connell returned to Montana in 1950 and practiced law in Great Falls until his death.

HUAC testimony[edit]

In 1955, he appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee, which questioned him widely about possible communist ties, including his support of Henry A. Wallace's bid for president as a Progressive in 1948. The Committee gained no new evidence, which lessened its reputation.

Personal and death[edit]

O'Connell was a long-time progressive. He died of a heart attack in his sleep in Great Falls on January 16, 1956, and was interred in Great Falls Mausoleum.[6][7]


  1. ^ "Jerry Joseph O'Connell". Find A Grave. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Rep. Jerry O'Connell". Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ "O'Connell, Jerry Joseph (1909–1956)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Marchers Picket the White House, Swarm in Capitol". New York Times. 3 June 1948. Retrieved 1 April 2017. 
  5. ^ "More Open Hearings on Mundt Bill Barred". New York Times. 5 June 1948. Retrieved 1 April 2017. 
  6. ^ Pedersen, Vernon (8 April 2010). "Terminal Hearing: The House Committee on Un‑American Activities and the Death of Jerry J. O'Connell". C-SPAN. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Pedersen, Vernon (8 April 2010). "Terminal Hearing: The House Committee on Un‑American Activities and the Death of Jerry J. O'Connell". Organization of American Historians. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 

External sources[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joseph P. Monaghan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's 1st congressional district

January 3, 1937-January 3, 1939
Succeeded by
Jacob Thorkelson