Bascom N. Timmons

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Bascom Nolley Timmons (March 31, 1890 - June 8, 1987) was an American newspaperman based in Washington, D.C., in a career that spanned all or parts of six decades. He was an advisor to U.S. Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been competing opposite party candidates for Vice President of the United States in 1920.

Oddly, like the late Governor Claude R. Kirk, Jr., of Florida, Timmons himself once sought to run for vice president, but the position is now selected by a party's presidential nominee. Timmons offered his candidacy in 1940, when his friend John Nance Garner declined to join President Roosevelt in seeking a third term. In 1968, the Republican Kirk "ran" with the understanding that he would complement a ticket headed by either Richard M. Nixon or Nelson A. Rockefeller. Nixon, the successful nominee, however, tapped Governor Spiro T. Agnew of Maryland, for the second slot on the ticket.[1]

A native of Amarillo, Texas, Timmons began his career in journalism at the age of sixteen with the former Fort Worth Record in Fort Worth, Texas. He later worked for the defunct Dallas Times-Herald, the Amarillo News, and the Milwaukee Sentinel. In 1912, he joined the Washington Post. In 1920, Timmons created a bureau in the nation's capital, to serve newspapers in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, and Ohio. In 1932, Timmons became president of the National Press Club; in that capacity, he worked thereafter to save the press club building in New York City from foreclosure. He persuaded President Franklin Roosevelt to sign an amendment to the federal bankruptcy law that blocked the foreclosure and hence kept the building open.[2]

In 1944, Timmons hired Sarah McClendon as the Washington correspondent for the Philadelphia Daily News. Two years later when Timmons dismissed McClendon to provide jobs for returning World War II veterans, she started her own McClendon News Service and remained a Washington institution for decades to come.[3]

Timmons penned three books:

  • Garner of Texas, a study of Vice President Garner, the country lawyer who retired in 1941 to his adopted hometown of Uvalde, Texas
  • Portrait of an American: A Biography of Charles Gates Dawes, a look at the vice president Charles Dawes under Coolidge
  • Jesse H. Jones: The Man and the Statesman, the study of the Texan Jesse H. Jones, who served as United States Secretary of Commerce under Roosevelt.[4]


Death

Timmons died in 1987 of pneumonia at the age of ninety-seven.

References

  1. Billy Hathorn, "Cramer v. Kirk: The Florida Republican Schism of 1970", Florida Historical Quarterly (April 1990), pp. 409-410
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/1987/06/08/obituaries/bascom-timmons-97-washington-reporter.html
  3. "Sarah McClendon, Veteran Washington Reporter, Dies at 92," by Adam Bernstein, The Washington Post, January 8, 2003, retrieved July 31, 2006
  4. Books by Bascom N. Timmons. alibris.com. Retrieved on May 4, 2012.
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