Rufus C. Holman

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Rufus C. Holman
Rufus Holman.jpg
United States Senator
from Oregon
In office
January 3, 1939 – January 3, 1945
Preceded by Alexander G. Barry
Succeeded by Wayne Morse
Oregon State Treasurer
In office
May 1, 1931 – December 27, 1938
Preceded by Thomas B. Kay
Succeeded by Walter E. Pearson
Personal details
Born Rufus Cecil Holman
(1877-10-14)October 14, 1877
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Died November 27, 1959(1959-11-27) (aged 82)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Political party Republican
Profession businessman

Rufus Cecil Holman (October 14, 1877 – November 27, 1959) was an American politician and businessman in the state of Oregon. A Republican and native Oregonian, he served as United States Senator for a single term during World War II. He previously had been the state treasurer and served on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.

Early life[edit]

Rufus Holman was born in Portland, Oregon, on October 14, 1877.[1] There he received his education in the public schools and became a teacher in 1896. After leaving teaching in 1898, he worked in various fields from farming and operating a steamboat, to pursuits related to the accounting field until 1910. That year Holman began making record keeping books and paper boxes in Portland.[1] He then worked in the cold storage business and was active in civic affairs.


Holman won his first election to political office in 1914, when he was elected to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, where he served two four-year terms (1914–22)[2] In 1931, Oregon Governor Julius L. Meier appointed him as State Treasurer after Thomas B. Kay died in office.[3] He began in office on May 1, 1931, winning election to a full four-year term in 1932, and winning re-election in 1936.[3] He resigned from the office in 1938, leaving on December 27, 1938.[3]

He was strongly concerned about the environment. In 1937, he garnered publicity when he demonstrated the polluted state of the Willamette River by briefly holding a cage of salmon in the water, then quickly pulling them out dying to a shocked audience.[4] In 1938, he was elected to the United States Senate. As Senator, he was critical of the foreign policy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, although he supported World War II, and was identified as an isolationist. He also denounced organized labor and supported the detainment of Japanese citizens. He was defeated in the Republican primary in 1944 by Wayne L. Morse.

Later life and death[edit]

After his defeat, he returned to private life and never sought public office again. Holman returned to managing the Portland Paper Box Company in Portland, and returned to his farm near Molalla, Oregon.[1] Holman died on November 27, 1959, in his home town of Portland. He was buried at River View Cemetery in Portland.[5]

Holman's great-nephew, Ralph M. Holman, was a justice on the Oregon Supreme Court.

Electoral history[edit]

Republican Primary - May 15, 1936
Candidate Name Votes [6]
Rufus C. Holman 90,215
W.E. Burke 54,246
Write-in 103
General - May 15, 1936
Candidate Name Votes [6]
Rufus C. Holman (R) 206,233
U.S. Burt (D) 161,073
Don Swetland (I) 9,964


  1. ^ a b c Rufus C. Holman profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress; retrieved November 11, 2007.
  2. ^ Multnomah County website
  3. ^ a b c Treasurers of Oregon, Oregon Blue Book. Retrieved on November 11, 2007
  4. ^ Appell, David A long row to recovery. The Portland Tribune, July 18, 2006
  5. ^ Political Graveyard: River View Cemetery
  6. ^ a b Snell, Earl. Oregon Blue Book. Salem, Oregon: Office of the Secretary of State, 1938

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Alexander G. Barry
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Oregon
Served alongside: Charles L. McNary, Guy Cordon
Succeeded by
Wayne Morse