Burton Kendall Wheeler photograph collection, 1909-1958  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Wheeler, Burton K. (Burton Kendall), 1882-1975
Burton Kendall Wheeler photograph collection
1909-1958 (inclusive)
1 box
116 photographic prints
2 safety film negatives
Collection Number
Lot 004
Burton Kendall Wheeler (1882-1975) was a United States Senator from Montana from 1923 until 1946. This collection includes photographs of Wheeler, his wife and children, but primarily it contains photographs taken of Wheeler's political and senatorial activities and views of Wheeler with other senators and people connected with his career as a United States Senator.
Montana Historical Society, Research Center Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
Telephone: 406-444-2681
Fax: 406-444-5297
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Burton Kendall Wheeler was born February 27, 1882, at Hudson, Massachusetts. He graduated from the Hudson High School in 1900 and worked in the Boston area. Wheeler attended the University of Michigan and received his law degree from there in 1905.

In October 1905, Wheeler settled in Butte, Montana, and began work as a clerk for an established lawyer. The following year, he started his own practice. Wheeler married Lulu M. White, the daughter of John and Elizabeth White, in Albany, Illinois, on September 7, 1907. They had six children: John Leonard (b. 1909), Elizabeth Hale (b. 1912), Edward Kendall (b. 1915), Frances L. (1919-1957), Richard (b. 1920), and Marion Montana (b. 1925).

In 1910 Wheeler was elected to serve in the Montana House of Representatives as a Democrat from Silver Bow County. While in the legislature, he supported the candidacy of Thomas J. Walsh for United States Senator. For this support, Walsh arranged to have Wheeler appointed U.S. District Attorney for Montana in 1913. He served in this capacity throughout World War I and was the subject of much controversy for his actions in protecting the right of dissent. He resigned in 1918 to avert a possible Walsh defeat.

In 1920 Wheeler was defeated by Joseph M. Dixon in a bitter campaign for governor, but two years later, he was elected United States Senator. He held this senate seat until his defeat in the primary election of 1946. In 1924 Wheeler ran as the vice-presidential candidate on the Progressive Party ticket with Robert LaFollette.

During his senate career, Wheeler was a constant foe of the "interests" and was chiefly responsible for the exposure and investigation of graft in the Department of Justice (1924-1925). He was an early supporter of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal and served as chairman of the powerful Senate Interstate Commerce Committee. However, in 1937, Wheeler broke with the administration over Roosevelt's unsuccessful bid to "pack" the Supreme Court. His opposition to Roosevelt was again of major importance when Wheeler became a member of the America First Committee and supported non-involvement in the European war, which began in 1939. Because Wheeler had widespread support in the Democratic Party, he was considered a major contender for the presidential nomination in 1940, until Roosevelt announced for a third term. He was strongly considered as a running mate with Roosevelt that year, but refused to accept the nomination. Wheeler again supported non-involvement in 1945-1946, when he opposed the United Nations and loans to our allies after the war. After his defeat for reelection to the United States Senate by Leif Erickson in the 1946 primary, Wheeler retired to private law practice in partnership with his son Edward in Washington, D.C. Burton K. Wheeler died in 1975, at the age of 93.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains photographs of Burton K. Wheeler (1882-1975), his wife and children, and photographs taken during Wheeler's political career, mainly when he served as a United States Senator from Montana from 1923 until 1946. Of particular interest are photographs taken in 1928 when Wheeler was a member of a senate committee investigating a coal miners' strike in Pennsylvania. The collection also includes photographs of Wheeler's involvement in numerous other political and senatorial activities and views of Wheeler with his senate colleagues, miners' union leaders, and other people with whom he was involved during his career as a United States Senator.

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Many of the photographs in this collection are attributed to specific photographers or photographic studios and lists of these photographers and/or studios follow. However, numerous photographs are not attributed and are not listed.

Photographs in the collection that are identified as the work of the following photographers:

Acme Newspictures, Inc., N.Y., Chicago (13 photographs)

Allied News Photo (1 photograph)

Army Air Force Photo, Washington, D.C. (1 photograph)

Ernest Bihler (2 photographs)

Peter Brandt (1 photograph)

N. Cresswell, Kansas City, Missouri (2 photographs)

G. Felici, Rome (1 photograph)

Harris and Ewing, Washington, D.C. (4 photographs)

Cal Hartsook (2 photographs)

John Henderson (1 photograph)

International News Photos, Washington, D.C. (1 photograph)

Henry Miller, News Picture Service, Washington, D.C. (2 photographs)

Nomlas (3 photographs)

Philadelphia Record (1 photograph)

Publishers' Photo Service, N.Y. (1 photograph)

Reni Newsphoto Service (2 photographs)

Rideout Photos (1 photograph)

Schutz, Washington, D.C. (1 photograph)

Signal Corps, U.S. Army (1 photograph)

Southall Locke (2 photographs)

United Press International, N.Y. (1 photograph)

University of Michigan Photographic Services (1 photograph)

Charles Vierheller, Albany, N.Y. (1 photograph)

Wide World Photos (1 photograph)

F. Clyde Wilkinson (1 photograph)

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The Montana Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Photograph Archives collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Photograph Archives before any reproduction use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in its collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Burton Kendall Wheeler photograph collection. Lot 004. [Box and folder number.] Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I:  Burton K. WheelerReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 1
Burton K. Wheeler (includes view of Wheeler seated at a desk with a telephone in his Butte law office when he was the U.S. District Attorney, 1913-1918, and a portrait, undated)
1913-1918, undated
Burton K. Wheeler (seated near a broadcasting microphone)
Burton K. Wheeler (portrait)
Burton K. Wheeler (portrait)
Burton K. Wheeler standing in front of a train and shaking hands with an unidentified man
1 / 2
Burton K. Wheeler campaigning for: Governor of Montana, 1920 (includes campaign speech from flag-decorated wagon); for Vice President with Robert LaFollette, 1924 (includes views of campaign emblem, and of A. B. Melzner, newspaper men Rodney Bean and Lowell Mellett, B. K. and Mrs. Wheeler, Mr. Coffin, the Reverend Martin, F. Wallace Doying and the black Pullman crew in front of a railroad car); for President, 1940 (includes views with his daughter Marion and at meeting of the National Press Club with a group of potential presidential candidates including Paul V. McNutt, Senator Arthur H. Vandenburg, Jesse Jones, Thomas E. Dewey, Robert Jackson, Bruce Barton, Norman Thomas and Senator Bennett Champ Clark)
1920, 1924, 1940
1 / 3
: Burton K. Wheeler in Greece (includes Athens and Eleusis)
1 / 4
Burton K. Wheeler (includes view taken standing near railroad train in New Mexico; studio portraits; and portraits taken in office settings)
1 / 5
Coal miners' strike investigation (includes members of investigating committee: Senators Frank R. Gooding, Jesse H. Metcalf, William B. Pine, Robert F. Wagner, and Burton K. Wheeler) Pennsylvania
1 / 6
: Coal miners' strike investigation (includes members of investigating committee: Senators Frank R. Gooding, Jesse H. Metcalf, William B. Pine, Robert F. Wagner, and Burton K. Wheeler; and Raef McDougal, black strike breaker) Coverdale, Pennsylvania
1 / 7
Burton K. Wheeler in radio broadcast with Juan B. Sacasa, President of Nicaragua, 1926; with Jimmy Walker and two other men at Jefferson Day Dinner, New York, 1930; radio broadcast with officers of the Potomac Grange No. 1, including Mrs. Chester H. Gray, Miss Jessie Ferguson, R. H. Elsworth, E. E., Reynolds, Chester H. Gray and Merrill Sickles, undated; and with Senator Edwin Johnson, 1940
1926, 1930, 1940, undated
1 / 8
Burton K. Wheeler in mine union activities with John L. Lewis (includes Lewis's daughter, 1940; and St. Louis townsite meeting Dr. F. Townsend, undated)
1940, undated
1 / 9
News photographs of Burton K. Wheeler's activities as a senator: Interstate Commerce Committee, 1938; Wheeler's 58th birthday luncheon with Vice President John N. Garner Senators George W. Norris, James E. Murray, Henry F. Ashurst and Harry F. Byrd, 1940; talking with reporter Bill Hutchenson at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; leaving Resolutions Committee meeting with Senator Patrick McCarran, 1940; and at a luncheon at the American Newspaper Publishers' Association convention, 1940
1938, 1940
1 / 10
News photographs of Burton K. Wheeler's senate activities including the Senate Conscription debate, 1940; the Lend-Lease Bill, 1941; the Pace Bill, 1943; and Wheeler celebrating his 64th birthday, 1946 (includes Alben W. Barkley, Walter F. George, Prentiss Brown, Ellison D. Smith, Warren G. Magnuson, Carl A. Hatch, and Joseph C. O'Mahoney)
1940, 1941, 1943, 1946
1 / 11
Burton K. Wheeler with other senators (includes Elmer Thomas, 1940; Robert A. Taft, undated; James Wardsworth, William Langer, Arthur H. Vandenburg, Edwin Johnson, Clinton Anderson, Carl A. Hatch, Joseph C. O'Mahoney, Robert M. LaFollette, Jr., Hugh A. Butler, Wayne Morse, and Warren G. Magnuson, 1945)
1940, 1945, undated
1 / 12
Burton K. Wheeler with group, including Blackfeet Indians and Evind D. Scoyen at the Glacier Park Hotel, East Glacier, Montana, undated; with members of the military, the Interstate Commerce Commission, and Federal Communications Commission, Washington National Airport, 1945 (includes Frank H. Collins, J. J. Smetana, Edward Fancher, Frank E. Stoner Edmund B. Craney, pilot Joseph E. Kimm, Senators Homer E. Capehart, Ernest W. McFarland, Albert W. Hawkes, Paul Porter, J. R. Redman and Henry Williams); with Ambassador Myron C. Taylor and other senators (including Homer E. Capehart, Homer Ferguson, Albert W. Hawkes, Ernest W. McFarland) at the Vatican after an audience with Pope Pius XII, 1945; with Edgar Morris and Morton Downey at Chatter Box luncheon, 1946; with Edward Wheeler at Ray Baker's wedding, 1949
1945, 1946, 1949, undated
1 / 13
Burton K. Wheeler with Edmund Craney, Edward Wheeler and others at Federal Communications Bar Association dinner, 1950; with Senators Ralph Owen Brewster, Gerald P. Nye, Harry Pullman Cain, James Howard McGrath, and Scott Wike Lucas on a television panel, 1953; with Bill Thatcher, President, and Lloyd Michels, Medicine Lake, Montana, Vice-President of Farmers' Union Coop, undated; with Walter and John Tuohy, 1958
1950, 1953, 1958, undated
1 / 14
Burton K. Wheeler with Charles Lindbergh at America First Rally, 1941; with unidentified men, undated
1941, undated
1 / 15
Butte dinner (includes Burton K. and Lulu Wheeler, Sam Ford, Mary Ford, John Claxton, and others seated at tables decorated with miniature U.S. flags)
1 / 16
Burton K. Wheeler with University of Michigan classmates
1904, 1955
1 / 17
Burton K. Wheeler fishing with Roy Hart in Panama, 1929; with George Bairey (?) and unidentified man, circa 1954
1929, circa 1954
1 / 18
Burton K. Wheeler in Hollywood (with Richard Green, actor Gary Cooper, Will Hays, Merle Oberon, Joe Skenk, Edward and Marion Wheeler)

Series II:  Burton K. Wheeler FamilyReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 19
Lulu White Wheeler (Mrs. Burton K.) and John, 1909; Burton K. and Mrs. Wheeler with five of their children Elizabeth (12 years old), John Leonard (14 years), Edward Kendall (9 years), Frances L. (5 years), and Richard (4 years), 1924; Burton K., Betty (Mrs. Richard Wheeler) and Ann Wheeler at Ann's wedding, undated; Burton K. and Elizabeth Wheeler with unidentified man, undated
1909, 1924, undated
Lulu White Wheeler (portrait)

Series III:  HorsesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 20
"Senator Wheeler" race horse and Oscar Fredericks

Series IV:  MenReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
"Election eve conference" (group view of four men, including Chip Robert, Jim Farley, and Charles Michaelson)
1936 November 2
1 / 21
Jim Kilday

Series V:  U.S. SenatorsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 22
Senators: George W. Norris and R.C.W. Tobey at a banquet; Harry B. Hawes of Missouri and another man pointing western style hand guns at each other in jest

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Personal Names :
  • Wheeler, Burton K. (Burton Kendall), 1882-1975.
  • Wheeler, Lulu White, 1883-1962.
  • Corporate Names :
  • United States. Congress. Senate.
  • Geographical Names :
  • United States--Politics and government.
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographs.