Millard Tydings

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Millard Tydings
United States Senator
from Maryland
In office
March 4, 1927 – January 3, 1951
Preceded byOvington Weller
Succeeded byJohn Marshall Butler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1923 – March 3, 1927
Preceded byAlbert Blakeney
Succeeded byWilliam Purington Cole, Jr.
Member of the Maryland Senate
In office
Preceded byJ. Royston Stifler
Succeeded byDavid G. Harry
ConstituencyHarford County
87th Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates
In office
January 1920 – September 1920
Preceded byHerbert R. Wooden
Succeeded byJohn L. G. Lee
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
from the Harford County district
In office
In office
Personal details
Millard Evelyn Tydings

(1890-04-06)April 6, 1890
Havre de Grace, Maryland, U.S.
DiedFebruary 9, 1961(1961-02-09) (aged 70)
near Havre de Grace, Maryland, U.S.
Resting placeAngel Hill Cemetery
Havre de Grace, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Maryland
ProfessionCivil engineer, lawyer, politician, author
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1917–1919
RankLieutenant Colonel
Battles/warsWorld War I

Millard Evelyn Tydings (April 6, 1890 – February 9, 1961) was an American attorney, author, soldier, state legislator, and served as a Democratic Representative and Senator in the United States Congress from Maryland, serving in the House from 1923 to 1927 and in the Senate from 1927 to 1951.

Early life and education[edit]

Tydings was born in Havre de Grace, located in Harford County, and was the son of Mary Bond (O'Neill) and Millard Fillmore Tydings.[1] 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; he started practice in Havre de Grace in 1913.

In 1916 Tydings was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates; he was elected as Speaker of the House by his colleagues from 1920 to 1922. He served in the Maryland State Senate during 1922–1923.[2]

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 on the Western Front with the American Expeditionary Forces and received the Distinguished Service Cross and Army Distinguished Service Medal.[3]

House and Senate career[edit]

In 1922, Tydings was elected as a Democrat to the 68th session of the US Congress, and was re-elected to the 69th session, representing the second district of Maryland (March 4, 1923 – March 3, 1927) in the House of Representatives. He 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. With Alabama Representative John McDuffie, 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. It was planned to 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." His resolution was bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[4]

In 1936, Senator Tydings introduced a bill in Congress calling for independence for Puerto Rico, but it was opposed by Luis Muñoz Marín, an influential leader of Puerto Rico's pro-independence Liberal Party.[5] Tydings did not gain passage of the bill.[5] (The US senator had co-sponsored the Tydings–McDuffie Act, which provided independence to the Philippines after a 10-year transition under a limited autonomy.)

Following the end of World War II, when the US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, Tydings sponsored a bill calling for the U.S. to lead the world in nuclear disarmament.[6]

In March 1950, Tydings was appointed to head a committee, generally known as the Tydings Committee, to investigate Joseph McCarthy's early claims of Communist penetration of the federal government and military.[7] 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 his allegation that the Sinologist Owen Lattimore was a "top Russian agent." The hearings, held from March to July 1950, were stormy as charge was met with counter-charge. In McCarthy's first 250 minutes on the stand, Tydings interrupted him 85 times with questions and demands for substantiation,[8] enraging McCarthy who condemned Tydings as an "egg-sucking liberal".[9] As such, the trial attracted much media attention, especially after Louis F. Budenz entered the proceedings as a surprise witness supporting McCarthy's charges. In July, the committee published its report, concluding that McCarthy's accusations were spurious and condemning his charges as an intentionally nefarious hoax.

When Tydings ran for re-election in 1950, he battled Senator McCarthy and would dismiss the Senator's claims of Communist infiltration of the State Department as "a fraud and a hoax."[10] McCarthy's staff distributed a composite picture of Tydings with Earl Browder, the former leader of the American Communist Party. Tydings had never met him before Browder testified 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 said, "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 exist.[11]

In the 1950 election, Tydings was defeated by John Marshall Butler. In 1956, he was nominated as the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate but withdrew before election due to ill health.[12]

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).


During his time in the Senate, Tydings was well known for taking principled, controversial, often unusual stands on various issues. As a centrist Democrat, Tydings cautiously backed the New Deal, while dispensing its jobs as his personal patronage.[13] In 1935, Tydings, who was opposed to the flexibility which the U.S. Treasury had accrued with respect to debt management, proposed a constitutional amendment which would have prohibited appropriations in excess of revenues in the absence of a new debt authorization and would required that any new debt be liquidated over a 15-year period.[14] He was a strong critic of Prohibition prior to its repeal in 1933.[6]

Tydings in 1937 broke with President Franklin Roosevelt, by opposing the president's "court packing" proposal.[13] In retaliation Roosevelt campaigned against him in 1938, speaking in Eastern Maryland on behalf of his opponent, Congressman David J. Lewis. The state's newspapers overwhelmingly supported Tydings and denounced Roosevelt's interference. Tydings easily won re-election.[15] According to Philip A. Grant Jr.:[16]

Tydings' solid victory was interpreted as a serious political blow to the president, yet Roosevelt's 1940 performance in Maryland was creditable, suggesting that state Democrats, while resenting the assault on Tydings, nevertheless favored the New Deal and FDR's leadership. The equation of newspaper opinion with public opinion, in this case, is erroneous. Tydings won on his own record and merits, and the impact of the President's politicking was probably negligible.

Biographer Caroline H. Keith is sympathetic in general, but concludes that Tydings' intense vitriol, harshness and arrogance left him an isolated politician with few friends.[17]

Death and legacy[edit]

Millard E. Tydings died on February 9, 1961, at his farm, "Oakington", near Havre de Grace, Maryland. He was buried in Angel Hill Cemetery.[18] Tydings' gravestone incorrectly gives his Senate election year (1926) as the start of his Senate service, which began in 1927.[citation needed]

Tydings' adopted son, Joe Tydings, was elected to a term as a U.S. Senator from Maryland in 1964, but was defeated for re-election in 1970, serving from 1965 to 1971.

His wife was Eleanor Tydings Ditzen.[19] Her father was Joseph E. Davies, who served as US Ambassador to the USSR, Belgium and Luxembourg.[20][21]

Tydings' granddaughter Alexandra Tydings is an actress.

The law firm which Millard Tydings formed with Morris Rosenberg continues its law practice today in Baltimore, Maryland.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Baltimore Sun. "HARFORD HISTORY". Retrieved Jun 8, 2021.
  2. ^ "Historical List, House of Delegates, Harford County". Maryland Manual On-Line. Maryland State Archives. 1999-04-30. Retrieved 2023-03-05.
  3. ^ Lawrence, Joseph Douglas (1985). Fighting Soldier: The AEF in 1918. USA: Colorado Associated University Press. pp. 148. ISBN 0-87081-158-4.
  4. ^ "Legitimating Nazism: Harvard University and the Hitler Regime, 1933–1937", American Jewish History 92.2 (2004) 189-223
  5. ^ a b Frank Otto Gatell, "Independence Rejected: Puerto Rico and the Tydings Bill of 1936", Hispanic American Historical Review, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Feb., 1958), pp. 25-44, accessed 15 December 2012
  6. ^ a b "Papers of Millard E. Tydings". University of Maryland.
  7. ^ Keith 2
  8. ^ Evans 208
  9. ^ Stone 1395
  10. ^ "Millard E. Tydings: A Featured Biography". Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  11. ^ Evans, M.Stanton (2007). Blacklisted by History. USA: Crown Forum. pp. 429. ISBN 978-1-4000-8105-9.
  12. ^ "TYDINGS, Millard Evelyn - US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  13. ^ a b Jay, Peter A. (May 3, 1992). "Millard Tydings is Remebered in His Home Town". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  14. ^ "A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment:Background and Congressional Options". Congressional Research Service. August 22, 2019. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  15. ^ Susan Dunn, Roosevelt’s Purge How FDR Fought to Change the Democratic Party (2012) pp 191-201.
  16. ^ Philip A. Grant Jr, "Maryland Press Reaction to the Roosevelt-Tydings Confrontation." Maryland Historical Magazine 68#4 (1973): 422-37.
  17. ^ Keith, 1991.
  18. ^ Eisenberg, Gerson G. (1992). Marylanders Who Served The Nation: A Biographical Dictionary of Federal Officials from Maryland. Maryland State Archives. ISBN 9780942370348. Retrieved 2022-12-16 – via
  19. ^ "Collection: Eleanor Tydings Ditzen papers | Archival Collections". Retrieved 2020-08-18.
  20. ^ "From Roosevelt to Truman: Potsdam, Hiroshima, and the Cold War," by Wilson D. Miscamble
  21. ^ "Millard E. Tydings". Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  22. ^ Tydings. "Baltimore, Maryland Business and Litigation Law Firm". Archived from the original on 2017-12-16. Retrieved 2017-12-15.



  • Grant Jr., Philip A. "Maryland Press Reaction to the Roosevelt-Tydings Confrontation." Maryland Historical Magazine 68#4 (1973): 422–37.
  • Keith, Caroline H., For Hell and a Brown Mule: The Biography of Senator Millard E. Tydings, Madison Books, 1991. ISBN 0-8191-8063-7

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Maryland
(Class 3)

1926, 1932, 1938, 1944, 1950
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 3) from Maryland
Served alongside: William Cabell Bruce, Phillips Lee Goldsborough,
George L. P. Radcliffe, Herbert O'Conor
Succeeded by