Thye, Edward John, 1896-1969

Alternative names
Birth 1896-04-26
Death 1969-08-28

Biographical notes:


From the description of Reminiscences of Edward John Thye : oral history, 1967. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122513347

Spanning almost thirty years of public service, the life of Edward John Thye reflected much of Minnesota's heritage and political personality. Thye was born near Frederick, South Dakota, on April 26, 1896, the son of Andrew J. Thye, a Norwegian immigrant farmer. His family moved to a farm near Northfield, Minnesota, when he was a young boy. After serving in the Army Air Corps during World War I, Thye became a tractor expert and salesman for the Deere and Webber Company of Minneapolis. In 1922, he resigned to become manager and, later, owner of a dairy farm near Northfield.

In 1929, Thye was elected president of the Dakota County Farm Bureau. While president of the bureau, he became friends with Dakota County Attorney Harold Stassen, and actively supported Stassen's candidacy for governor of Minnesota in 1938. With Sassen's victory came Thye's appointment as Minnesota's Dairy and Food Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture (1939-1942).

In 1942, he was elected lieutenant governor, and in April 1943, assumed the governorship when Stassen resigned to enlist in the Navy. He was reelected by a landslide in 1944. In 1946, after defeating incumbent Henrik Shipstead in the primary race, Thye was elected United States Senator over Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Theodore Jorgenson. He served in the Senate until defeated by Eugene McCarthy in 1958.

Thye served on the Senate committees on Agriculture and Forestry, Civil Service, Expenditures in the Executive Departments, Appropriations, the Select Committee on Small Business (chairman), the subcommittee on appropriation for the departments of Labor and Health, Education and Welfare, the Subcommittee on Relations of Business to Government (chairman), the Minority Policy Committee, and the Thomas subcommittee that toured Europe in 1949. He came into prominence as one of the seven cosigners of the "Declaration of Conscience" written by Senator Margaret Chase Smith in reaction to McCarthyism, and as a member of the Special Committee on Campaign Contributions (1956). He was noted for his support of the interests of farmers and small businessmen.

Biographical information was taken from the Biographical Directory of the American Congress ; from biographical materials in the collection; from Who's Who in Minnesota, 1958; and from Current Biography, October 1951, p. 57.

From the guide to the Edward J. Thye papers., 1938-1959., (Minnesota Historical Society)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Indians of North America
  • Legislators--Interviews
  • Legislation--United States
  • Small business--Law and legislation
  • Business enterprises
  • Presidents--United States--Election--1952
  • Postal service
  • Political Campaigns
  • Agricultural laws and legislation
  • Legislation
  • Political campaigns--Minnesota
  • Business enterprises--Minnesota
  • Small business--Law and legislation--United States
  • Flood control--Minnesota
  • Presidents--Election--1952
  • Indians of North America--Minnesota
  • Legislators
  • Postal service--Minnesota
  • Flood control
  • Agricultural laws and legislation--United States


  • Legislators--United States
  • Legislators


  • United States (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)