Styles Bridges

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Henry Styles Bridges

In office
January 3, 1937 – November 26, 1961
Preceded by Henry W. Keyes
Succeeded by Maurice J. Murphy, Jr.

Chairman of the Senate
Republican Policy Committee
In office
January 3, 1955 – November 26, 1961
Preceded by Homer S. Ferguson
Succeeded by Bourke B. Hickenlooper

In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1955
Preceded by Kenneth McKellar
Succeeded by Walter F. George

Leader of the Senate
Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 1949 – November 29, 1951
Preceded by Kenneth S. Wherry
Succeeded by Robert A. Taft

Chairman of the Senate
Appropriations Committee
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1949
Preceded by Kenneth McKellar
Succeeded by Kenneth McKellar

In office
January 8, 1952 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by Kenneth Wherry
Succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson

In office
January 3, 1935 – January 3, 1937
Preceded by John Gilbert Winant
Succeeded by Francis P. Murphy

Born September 9, 1898
West Pembroke, Maine, USA
Died November 26, 1961
(aged 63)
East Concord, New Hampshire
Resting place Pine Grove Cemetery in East Concord
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Sally Clement Bridges (married 1928–1938, her death)

(2) Doloris Thauwald Bridges (married 1944–1961, his death)

Alma mater University of Maine
at Orono (BA)

Military Service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army Reserve Corps
Years of service 1925–1937
Rank Lieutenant

Henry Styles Bridges (September 9, 1898 – November 26, 1961), known as Styles Bridges, was a Republican governor of New Hampshire from 1935 to 1937 and a United States Senator from 1937 until his death in office.


Bridges was born in West Pembroke in Washington County in southeastern Maine, the son of the former Alina Roxanna Fisher and Earle Leopold Bridges. He attended public schools in Maine and attended until 1918 the University of Maine at Orono. Afterwards, he held a variety of jobs, including teaching, newspaper editing, business, and government. For a year, he was an instructor at Sanderson Academy in Ashfield, Massachusetts.

He was a member of the extension staff of the University of New Hampshire at Durham from 1921 until 1922. Bridges also was the Secretary of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation from 1922 until 1923, and he edited the Granite Monthly magazine from 1924 until 1926. Meanwhile, he worked in the financial services industry from 1924 until 1929 and served on the New Hampshire Public Service Commission from 1930 until 1934.[1]

Political career

In 1934, Bridges was elected as the nation's youngest governor at that time and served a single two-year term prior to entering the U.S. Senate.[2] During his tenure, he enacted relief measures to aid economically disadvantaged mothers and needy children and promoted a fair unemployment insurance bill.[3] Bridges also appointed the first woman to the state's judicial branch.

In 1937, he retired from the United States Army Reserve Corps, in which he had served as a Lieutenant since 1925. In 1940, he attempted to win the Republican presidential nomination, which instead went on the sixth ballot by Moderate Republican Wendell Willkie. After losing the presidential nod, he obtained two delegates for the Republican vice-presidential nomination, which eventually went to another Moderate Republican, Charles McNary of Oregon, who ran opposite to then-senator Harry Truman.

U.S. Senate

Bridges in 1939.

Bridges was elected in 1946 to the United States Senate[4] and reelected in 1942,[5] 1948,[6] 1954,[7] and 1960,[8] but he served less than a year of his final term because of his death from a heart attack.[9] He became the highest-ranking Republican senator, serving as chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation when the Republicans had control of the upper chamber. For a year, he was the Senate Minority Leader.

In 1937, Bridges was one of only sixteen senators to vote against the confirmation of Klansman Hugo Black to the United States Supreme Court.[10]

Bridges broke his hip on December 31, 1941, and missed several months of the next Senate session.

During the 1945–46 congressional session, Bridges voted with the conservative side 91% of the time.[11]

Efforts to bar racist demagogue Bilbo from re-entering Senate

Along with Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa, Bridges sought to bar Democrat segregationist demagogue Theodore Bilbo from taking office in the wake of racist voter suppression during the 1946 Senate election in Mississippi;[12] the two Republicans voted "nay" in a 3–2 party-line decision in a committee which, chaired by Louisiana segregationist Allen J. Ellender, cleared the Mississippi racist.[13] Bilbo, running for a third Senate term, openly threatened blacks in the Deep South state during the campaign and faced calls to be blocked from taking office. Ensuing gridlock was soon broken by Minority Leader Alben Barkley, who announced that Bilbo would return to Mississippi to be treated for surgery. The virulent racist never returned, dying in August 1947.

Civil rights, McCarthyism

He voted present on the Civil Rights Act of 1957[14] though supported the 1960 version of the bill.[15] Both measures, despite being gutted of their strong provisions in the U.S. Senate by Southern Democrats, were signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower.

In 1954, he was one of twenty-two mostly conservative senators, all Republicans, who voted against the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, who exposed communist infiltration of the U.S. government.[16]

During the same year McCarthy was censured, Bridges, the Wisconsin senator, and Herman Welker of Idaho, were implicated in the blackmail of Wyoming Democrat colleague Lester C. Hunt, who like Bridges was a former governor of his state. Bridges threatened to expose Hunt's son as a homosexual who was found guilty of having solicited an undercover police officer. Following the threats of Bridges and Welker, Hunt resigned from the Senate but subsequently committed suicide in his Capitol office on June 19, 1954. Bridges' involvement in the blackmail much later caused The Boston Globe to reconsider the honors afforded to Bridges, including Interstate 93 from Concord to the Vermont is named in his honor. Along that highway was the "Old Man of the Mountain," which many in the Granite State equated to Bridges.[17]

Bridges is interred along with his wives at Pine Grove Cemetery in East Concord, New Hampshire.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Henry Styles Bridges. Retrieved on March 3, 2021.
  2. NH Governor. Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  3. Gov. Henry Styles Bridges. National Governors Association. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  4. NH US Senate. Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  5. NH US Senate. Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  6. NH US Senate. Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  7. NH US Senate. Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  8. NH US Senate. Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  9. Styles Bridges Is Dead at 63; Republicans' Senior Senator; Conservative Headed G.O.P. Policy Unit -- Governor of New Hampshire, '34-'36 Styles.Bridges Is Dead at 63; Senwr Repubhcan in Senate. The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  11. FascinatingPolitics (July 31, 2020). 1945-46-civil-rights-converted.pdf. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  12. The Election Case of Theodore G. Bilbo of Mississippi (1947). United States Senate. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  13. Fleegler, Robert L. Theodore G. Bilbo and the Decline of Public Racism, 1938-1947. Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  14. HR. 6127: The Civil Rights Act of 1957. govtrack (August 7, 1957). Retrieved on March 3, 2021.
  15. HR 8601: Passage of amended bill. govtrack (April 8, 1960). Retrieved on March 3, 2021.
  16. Two references:
    • U.S. Senate Congressional Record, roll call vote on Senate Resolution 301, December 2, 1954.
    • S. RES. 301. PASSAGE.. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  17. N.H. should reassess legacy of Senator Styles Bridges. The Boston Globe (December 29, 2012). Retrieved on March 3, 2021.

External links

  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Profile at Britannica