Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

1902-1908, Albert Cummins


1902-1908, Albert Cummins



Albert Cummins was born in a log house in Carmichaels, Green County, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas L. Cummins, a carpenter/farmer, and Sarah Baird Cummins. He attended country schools and completed a four-year course in two years at Waynesburg College. Upon graduation he was a tutor and taught at a country school. While clerking for a law firm in Chicago, Cummins studied law on his own and passed the Illinois bar in 1874. That same year he married Ida Lucette Gallery, with whom he had one child, a daughter. They moved to Des Moines, Iowa where Cummins worked with his brother and specialized in railroad and patent law. Cummins became increasingly active in Republican politics and he was a state legislator from 1888 to 1890. Defeated in campaigns for the U.S. Senate in 1894 and 1900, Cummins was elected governor in 1901, serving three consecutive terms. He ran on an antimonopoly, populist platform that stressed increased railroad taxation and regulation and support for the removal of tariff protection for any industry dominated by a trust. In June 1908, Governor Cummins ran in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat held by William B. Allison, who was seeking a record seventh term. Senator Allison won the election, however he died on Aug. 4, 1908, two months after the primary and before the Iowa General Assembly chose among the primary winners. In November 1908 a second Republican primary was held, which Cummins won decisively. Cummins was appointed by the Iowa General Assembly over democratic rival Claude R. Porter. He served as a United States Senator from Iowa for 18 years, from 1908 until 1926. He served as President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate between 1919 and 1925. He also chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee and the U.S. Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce. Cummins's growing conservatism cost him a great deal of progressive political support in his native state, causing him to lose the 1926 Republican primary for his re-election bid to the U.S. Senate. Within a few months of his defeat, Cummins died in Des Moines and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.


State Library of Iowa and State Historical Society of Iowa


1902; 1903; 1904; 1905; 1906; 1907; 1908;


Iowa Biographical Dictionary, Wikipedia


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