Pittman in 1915
|United States Senator
January 29, 1913 – November 10, 1940
|Preceded by||William A. Massey|
|Succeeded by||Berkeley L. Bunker|
|President pro tempore of the United States Senate|
March 4, 1933 – November 10, 1940
|Preceded by||George H. Moses|
|Succeeded by||William H. King|
|Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations|
March 4, 1933 – November 10, 1940
|Preceded by||William E. Borah|
|Succeeded by||Walter F. George|
|Born||Key Denson Pittman
September 18, 1872
|Died||November 10, 1940
|Spouse(s)||Mimosa Pittman (née Gates)|
Key Denson Pittman (September 19, 1872 – November 10, 1940) was a United States Senator from Nevada, serving eventually as its president pro tempore and its chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. He was a Democrat.
Pittman was educated by private tutors and at the Southwestern Presbyterian University in Clarksville, Tennessee. He studied law, then later became a lawyer. In 1897, Pittman joined in the Klondike Gold Rush and worked as a miner until 1901.
Pittman moved to Tonopah, Nevada, in 1902 and continued the practice of law. He represented Nevada at the St. Louis Exposition, the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition, and the National Irrigation Congress.
In 1910, he made an unsuccessful run for the Senate. Later, he was elected as a Democrat to the Senate in 1913 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of George S. Nixon, and served until his death in 1940.
Between 1933 and 1940, during the Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Pittman was the chairman of the powerful Committee on Foreign Relations and a member of the Committee on Territories and the Committee on Industrial Expositions. In addition, during those years Pittman was also President pro tempore of the United States Senate.
Among his legislation is the Pittman–Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 which set up a formula for federal sharing of ammunition tax revenue for establishing state wildlife areas. The program is still in effect. The Key Pittman Wildlife Management Area near Hiko, Nevada, which encompasses the Frenchy and Nesbitt Lakes, is named in his honor.
Death and legacy
It was rumored for years that Pittman died before his final election in 1940, and that Democratic party leaders kept the body in Reno's Riverside Hotel bathtub full of ice until he was reelected so Governor Edward Carville, a fellow Democrat, could appoint a replacement. While the rumor was false the truth was, as former Nevada State Archivist Guy Rocha wrote, "just as disreputable". Pittman suffered a severe heart attack just before the election on 5 November, and two doctors told his aides before the election that death was imminent. To avoid affecting the election, the party told the press that the senator was hospitalized for exhaustion and that his condition was not serious. Pittman died on 10 November at the Washoe General Hospital in Reno, Nevada.
Several pieces of legislation bore his name, including the Pittman Act of 1918 and the Pittman–Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937.
The Pittman section of the Alaska Railroad, more commonly known today as the community of Meadow Lakes west of Wasilla, was also named for him. Pittman Road runs north from its intersection with the George Parks Highway at "downtown" Meadow Lakes.
- "Nevada Governor Vail Montgomery Pittman". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- Rocha, Guy; Myers, Dennis (May 2003). "Myth #88 - Key Pittman on Ice". Sierra Sage. State Library and Archives, Department of Administration, State of Nevada. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Williams, Anita L.; Ewers, Linda D. (2003). Ride Guide to the Historic Alaska Railroad. Anchorage: TurnAgain Products. p. 30. ISBN 0939301016.
- Wayne S. Cole, "Senator Key Pittman and American Neutrality Policies, 1933-1940," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, vol. 46, no. 4 (March 1960), pp. 644–662. In JSTOR
- Betty Glad, Key Pittman: The Tragedy of a Senate Insider (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986).
- Fred L. Israel, Nevada’s Key Pittman (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1963).
|United States Senate|
William A. Massey
|U.S. Senator from Nevada
Berkeley L. Bunker
William E. Borah
|Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Walter F. George
George H. Moses
|President pro tempore of the United States Senate
March 9, 1933 – November 10, 1940
William H. King