Oscar Underwood

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Underwood c. 1910-15

Oscar Wilder Underwood (born May 6, 1862 in Louisville, Kentucky; died January 25, 1929) was a United States Representative and Senator from Alabama. His term in the House was 18951915. He then served in the Senate from 1915 to 1927, when he retired from politics.

Underwood was born in Louisville, Kentucky and graduated from the Rugby School there before entering the University of Virginia to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1884 and joined the firm of Garrett & Phelan in Birmingham before being elected to the Fifty-fourth Congress the following year, defeating incumbent Truman H. Aldrich.

Underwood was the first House minority whip from 1900 to 1901. In 1904 he married Bertha Woodward, daughter of Woodward Iron Company president Joseph Woodward.

He was then House majority leader between 1911 and 1915. Finally, he was Senate minority leader from 1920 to 1923. He was a candidate for the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 1912, but refused. He also refused a place on the Supreme Court after the retirement of Justice William R. Day in 1922. He was a Democratic presidential candidate in 1924 and retired from the Senate in 1927.

Underwood opposed Prohibition and was the leader of the anti-Ku Klux Klan forces in the Democratic party in 1924. After leaving Congress the Underwoods resided at the restored "Woodlawn" estate in Alexandria, Virginia. The house had been given to Major Lawrence Lewis by his uncle, George Washington, and later became the first property owned by the National Trust in 1952. Underwood is interred at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham.

Preceded by:
Louis Washington Turpin
U.S. Representative, 9th Congressional District of Alabama
1895 - 1896
Succeeded by:
Truman H. Aldrich
Preceded by:
George Harrison
U.S. Representative, 9th Congressional District of Alabama
1897 - 1913
Succeeded by:
George Huddleston Sr
Preceded by:
Frank White
U.S. Senator (Class 3)
1915 - 1927
Succeeded by:
Hugo Black


  • "Oscar Underwood" (February 21, 2006) Wikipedia - accessed April 4, 2006
  • Johnson, Evans C. (1980) Oscar W. Underwood: A Political Biography Baton Rouge, Louisiana: LSU Press.
  • "Self-Removal" (July 13, 1925) Time magazine. - accessed December 14, 2006