Barrett, Frank A. (Frank Aloysius), 1892-1962

Alternative names
Birth 1892-11-10
Death 1962-05-30

Biographical notes:

Barrett, from Lusk, Wyoming, served almost thirty years in public office in Wyoming as state senator, U.S. representative (1942-1951), governor (1951-1953), and U.S. senator (1953-1959).

From the description of Papers, 1920-1981 (bulk 1952-1958). (University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center). WorldCat record id: 27966081

Lawyer, rancher, Wyoming state senator (1933-1936); U.S. representative and senator, member of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees, and governor of Wyoming (1951-1953).

From the description of Barrett collection, 1901-1997. (Wyoming State Archives). WorldCat record id: 70952634

Lawyer, rancher, Wyoming state senator (1933-1936); U.S. representate and senator, member of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees, and governor of Wyoming (1951-1953).

From the description of Papers, 1950-1952. (Wyoming State Archives). WorldCat record id: 71013079

Frank A. Barrett, Wyoming senator, governor, and congressman, had the distinction of being the only Wyomingite ever to serve in both houses of Congress and as governor. He was one of only six men in United States history to accomplish this. His distinguished political career lasted over twenty years.

Frank Barrett was born 19 November 1892 in Omaha, Nebraska, to Patrick and Elizabeth Barrett. After attending public schools in Omaha, he earned his B.A. and law degrees from Creighton University in 1913 and 1916, respectively. Barrett worked his way through college as a mail collector with the United States Mail Service.

With the coming of World War I, Barrett enlisted in the "Balloon Corps" of the infant air service, and served for three years. After returning home he married Alice Catherine Donoghue on 21 May 1919.

The Barretts relocated to Lusk, Wyoming, where Frank began practicing law. His temporary office was his own porch until he found a room in which he could establish his practice. Two years later the couple bought a large sheep and cattle ranch, which ignited his interest in the wool industry. Eventually he would become one of the nation's top authorities on wool and sheep. He served as Niobrara County Attorney from 1923-1932.

Frank Barrett's political career began in 1933 when he was elected to the Wyoming State Senate. In 1936 he was the Republican candidate for the United States Congress but was unsuccessful. From 1939-1945 he served as a University of Wyoming Trustee. He was then elected a United States Congressman in 1942 and served an eight-year term until 1950, when he was elected governor of Wyoming.

Only governor for two years, Barrett seized the opportunity to run for the United States Senate in 1952 and was successful. He served a six-year term in the Senate until 1958, sitting on a number of committees including the Interior and Armed Services Committees. When he was defeated by Gale McGee in 1958, Barrett attributed his loss to "vicious and unwarranted" reports by Washington columnist Drew Pearson. Pearson stated that Barrett had intervened with the Treasury Department to help former Senator E.V. Roberson (R-Wyo.) out of a tax case. The charge was later retracted.

Barrett was then appointed Chief Counsel for the United States Department of Agriculture. He made an unsuccessful comeback attempt in 1960 when Representative Keith Thomson defeated him in the Republican senatorial primary.

Barrett and his wife Alice had three children, Dr. Frank A. Barrett, Jr., James E. Barrett, and Marialyce Barrett Tobin. Alice Barrett died in 1956, and Frank married his second wife, Augusta K. Hogan, in 1959. Frank Barrett died on 30 May 1962, shortly after being diagnosed with leukemia. He is buried in Lusk.

From the guide to the Frank A. Barrett Papers, 1920-1981, 1952-1958, (University of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.)


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  • Surgeons
  • Reclamation of land--United States
  • Mines and Mineral Resources
  • Wool trade and industry--United States
  • Sheep industry--United States
  • Judges
  • Cattle trade
  • Reclamation of land
  • Mines and mineral resources--United States
  • Cattle trade--United States
  • Women lawyers
  • Sheep industry
  • Wool industry


  • Legislators
  • Scrapbooks
  • Governors--Wyoming
  • Legislators--Wyoming
  • Legislators--United States
  • Photographs


  • F.E. Warren Air Force Base (Wyo.) (as recorded)
  • Wyoming (as recorded)
  • F.E. Warren Air Force Base (Wyo.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Wyoming (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Wyoming (as recorded)
  • Wyoming (as recorded)