Metcalf, Lee, 1911-1978

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Lee Metcalf was born in 1911 in Stevensville, Montana. He attended Montana State University for one year and transferred to Stanford University where he majored in history and economics. He graduated from Montana State University law school in 1936 and entered private practice. He was elected representative to the 25th Montana Legislative Assembly from Ravalli County in the same year. In 1937 Metcalf resigned from the legislature to accept appointment as a Montana assistant attorney general.

During his tenure as an assistant attorney general, Metcalf campaigned extensively for Attorney General Harrison Freebourn who was seeking election to the U.S. Senate in the 1940 primary. During this period Metcalf also represented the Montana State Congress of Industrial Organizations Council from 1938 until 1941. In 1941, following Freebourn's defeat in the primary, Metcalf returned to private practice in Hamilton. Metcalf enlisted in the army in 1942 and was later commissioned. Following the war he served as a military government officer in Germany where he helped set up the civilian court and occupation police system. He also supervised repatriation and drafted the ordinances for and supervised local elections.

Metcalf was elected associate justice of the Montana Supreme Court in 1946, where he served until he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1952, succeeding Mike Mansfield in Montana's First (Western) Congressional District. After serving four terms in the House, Metcalf was elected to the Senate in 1960, succeeding James E. Murray.

Although Metcalf is best known for his work to protect the natural environment and regulate utilities, he composed and supported a wide variety of legislation. His prodigious legislative accomplishments are testimony to his parliamentary acumen.

Lee Metcalf worked throughout his career to protect the nation's natural resources from both wanton exploitation and destruction. He was an early proponent of water and air pollution control; research on the harmful effects of pesticides, strip mining, and highway construction; regulation of timber cutting and grazing; alternative energy development; and many other conservation issues. His efforts to preserve the nation's wild lands and rivers were productive and lauded by national conservation organizations. As a long-time member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, Metcalf helped establish many wildlife refuges.

While Lee Metcalf was an ardent protector of the natural environment, he believed in the responsible development of resources. He supported rural cooperative efforts, public power projects, and diverse types of assistance to independent workers in agriculture and minerals.

Metcalf advocated the use of government resources to redress the injustices of an imperfect society and to broaden and strengthen access to information for all individuals. He proposed and worked for legislation concerning Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, and veterans' benefits; aid to libraries, schools and small businesses; minimum wage laws; work safety laws; job training programs; consumer protection; and the return of control over their own lives to Native Americans.

Metcalf's long, adverserial relationship with the Montana Power Company and other utilities stemmed from his belief that the power industry held a monopolistic, unregulated control of an essential product. Lee Metcalf's and Vic Reinemer's book Overcharge delineates their position that the utilities exert tremendous influence throughout American society, yet are not subject to the democratic election process and are controlled by a small group of profiteers.

Closely related to Metcalf's efforts to regulate utility companies was his opposition to the growth of "corporate statism." Especially in his capacity as chairman of the Government Operations Committee's Subcommittee on Budgeting, Management, and Expenditure (later Reports, Accounting, and Management), and in close association with Vic Reinemer, Metcalf worked for disclosure of meaningful information, such as interlocking directorships, regarding corporate activity in regulated industries.

Congressional colleagues respected Lee Metcalf's thorough knowledge of the workings of government, knowledge which he used astutely throughout his career. In 1959 Metcalf helped establish the Democratic Study Group, an organization which instructed, mobilized, and coordinated liberal Democrats. As a member of the Government Operations Committee, Metcalf worked for many years, especially after Watergate activities spotlighted such concerns, to reorganize government to improve its efficiency and honesty.

Lee Metcalf enjoyed the cooperation of an able staff. He also provided experience to as many interns, the majority of whom were Montanans, as his time and office space would allow.

Vic Reinemer joined Metcalf's staff in 1961 and worked closely with him until Metcalf's death. Reinemer was born in Circle, Montana, in 1923, and graduated from Montana State University with a B.A. in journalism in 1948. He worked as a newspaper editor in Washington, D.C., for Freedom amp; Union Magazine in 1950 and 1951, and in North Carolina for the Charlotte News from 1950 until 1955. From 1955 until 1960 Reinemer worked as executive secretary for Senator Murray and then served until 1973 in the same position for Senator Metcalf. From 1973 until Metcalf's death in 1978, Reinemer was staff director of the Senate Government Operations Committee's Subcommittee on Budgeting, Management, and Expenditures, which changed its name in 1975 to Reports, Accounting, and Management. Reinemer concentrated his energies on utility regulation and corporate ownership reporting.

Other long-time influential staff members include Merrill "Brit" Englund, Metcalf's administrative assistant, who worked for United Press Internatinnal and the Associated Press in Helena for six years before joining Metcalf's staff in 1953; Peggy McLaughlin, personal secretary, who worked for the Montana State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Montana Attorney General, and for Senator Murray before beginning her years with Metcalf; and Dorothy Tannenbaum, legislative assistant with special knowledge of education and Native American affairs. Ted Roe replaced Vic Reinemer as executive secretary in 1973. These staff members' contribution to Metcalf's work can most easily be noted by the many letters in the collection which they composed.

Lee Metcalf married Donna Hoover in 1938. He died in January 1978 during what he declared would be his last Senate term.

From the guide to the Lee Metcalf Papers, 1934-1978, (Montana Historical Society Research Center)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Montana, The Magazine Of Western History. Montana, The Magazine Of Western History letters, 1972. Montana Historical Society Library
referencedIn Loring, Leonard. Letters to H.J. Gibbons, Lee Metcalf, and others [sound recording], 1964 Aug. University of Montana, Mansfield Library
referencedIn Wolf, Robert, 1920-2005,. Robert Wolf interview, 1989 Apr. 27. University of Montana, Mansfield Library
referencedIn Tobacco Valley Improvement Association. Records of the Tobacco Valley Improvement Association, 1945-2000. Tobacco Valley Board of History
referencedIn Wolf, Robert, 1920-2005,. Robert Wolf lecture, 1989 Apr. University of Montana, Mansfield Library
referencedIn Thomas J. Dodd Papers, undated, 1919-1971. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
referencedIn James J. Flaherty, Sr. Papers, 1960-1979 Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn John Collier papers, 1910-1987 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Harold Weston Papers, 1916-1971 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Yellowtail, Robert. Papers, 1825-1986. Little Big Horn College Library
referencedIn Collier, John, 1884-1968. John Collier papers, 1910-1987 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Bob Brown oral history project, 2005-2010 University of Montana--Missoula Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Flaherty, James J., 1890-1979. Papers, 1960-1979. Library of Congress
referencedIn Ranuzzi, Florence, 1908-2002. Papers of Florence Ranuzzi, 1919-2001 (1957-1972). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Vic Reinemer Papers, 1960-1973 Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Merritt, Clifton R. (Clifton Reeve), 1919-2008. Clif Merritt interview, 2002. Montana Historical Society Library
referencedIn Harrison, John C. (John Conway), 1913-. John C. Harrison interview, 1997. Montana Historical Society Library
referencedIn Montana. Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation. Montana Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation records, 1986-. Montana Historical Society Library
creatorOf Metcalf, Lee, 1911-1978. Lee Metcalf : commercials, 1966,1972 University of Oklahoma, Political Community Archives
creatorOf Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 1793 - 1999. Moving Images Documenting the Life and Culture of North American Indians. 1908 - 1977. WASHINGTON REPORT
referencedIn Milner, Doris, 1920-2007. Doris Milner interview, 2002. Montana Historical Society Library
creatorOf Lee Metcalf Papers, 1934-1978 Montana Historical Society Research CenterArchives
referencedIn Records of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. 1875 - 2002. Photographs of Meetings and Ceremonies
referencedIn Bennett, Gordon, 1922-. Gordon Bennett interview 2007 Feb. 5. Montana Historical Society Library
referencedIn Billings, Harry L., 1913-1990. Harry L. and Gretchen Billings papers, 1940-1984. Montana State University (MSU) Library, MSU Library; Renne Library; MSU Library - Bozeman
referencedIn Lincoln Back Country Protective Association Records, 1963-1972 Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Harry L. and Gretchen Billings Papers, 1940-1984 Montana State University-Bozeman Library, Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary. 1976 - 1981. Presidential Files. 1977 - 1981. 1/13/78
referencedIn Papers, 1918-1993 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Loring, Leonard. Letter to Fred Schmidt [sound recording], 1964 Aug. 30. University of Montana, Mansfield Library
referencedIn Collier, John, 1884-1968. John Collier papers, 1910-1987 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Englund, Merrill W., 1918-1976. Papers, 1953-1974. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center
referencedIn Harry Billings Montana Power Company Collection, 1939-1970 University of Montana--Missoula Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Bennett, Gordon, 1922- person
correspondedWith Billings, Harry, 1913-1990 person
associatedWith Brown, Bob, 1947 Dec. 11-, interviewer person
associatedWith Collier, John, 1884-1968. person
correspondedWith Dodd, Thomas J. (Thomas Joseph), 1907-1971 person
associatedWith Englund, Merrill W., 1918-1976. person
correspondedWith Flaherty, James J., 1890-1979. person
associatedWith Harrison, John C. (John Conway), 1913- person
correspondedWith Lincoln Back Country Protective Association corporateBody
correspondedWith Loring, Leonard. person
associatedWith Merritt, Clifton R. (Clifton Reeve), 1919-2008. person
associatedWith Milner, Doris, 1920-2007. person
associatedWith Montana. Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation. corporateBody
associatedWith Montana, The Magazine Of Western History. corporateBody
associatedWith Paul A. Freund person
associatedWith Ranuzzi, Florence, 1908-2002. person
associatedWith Reinemer, Vic, 1923-1991 person
correspondedWith Tobacco Valley Improvement Association. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. Senate. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Oklahoma. Political Commercial Archive. corporateBody
associatedWith Weston, Harold, 1894-1972 person
associatedWith Wolf, Robert, 1920-2005, person
associatedWith Yellowtail, Robert. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Crow Indian Reservation (Mont.)
Mission Mountain Wilderness Area (Mont.)
Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation (Mont.)
Missouri River
Knowles Dam (Mont.)
Flathead Indian Reservation (Mont.)
National Bison Range (Mont.)
Fort Belknap Indian Reservation (Mont.)
Yellowstone National Park
Paradise Irrigation District (Mont.)
Spanish Peaks Wilderness (Mont.)
Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness (Mont. and Wyo.)
Anaconda Pintler Wilderness (Mont.)
Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge (Mont.)
Fort Peck Indian Reservation (Mont.)
Libby Dam (Mont.)
Kerr Dam (Mont.)
Paradise Dam (Mont.)
Yellowtail Dam (Mont.)
Blackfeet Indian Reservation (Mont.)
Moiese (Mont.)
Great Bear Wilderness (Mont.)
Reichle Dam (Mont.)
United States
Mountain Sheep Dam (Idaho and Or.) [Proposed]
Rocky Boys Indian Reservation (Mont.)
Canyon Ferry Dam (Mont.) [2nd: 1949- ]
Washington (D.C.)
Hungry Horse Dam (Mont.)
Glasgow Air Force Base (Mont.)
Buffalo Rapids Dam (Mont.) [Proposed]
Glacier National Park (Mont.)
Zinc mines and mining
Sugar beet industry
Kutenai Indians
Nuclear energy--Law and legislation
National parks and reserves--Management
National parks and reserves--Planning
Gas companies--rates
Industrial laws and legislation
Legislators--United States
Television advertising
Telecommunication policy
Nez Percé Indians
Indians of North America--Treaties
Wool industry
Air Service in Montana
Navajo Indians
Wind power
Wilderness areas
Indians of North America--Land tenure
Conservation of natural resources
Indians of North America--Politics and government
Wildlife conservation
Watershed management
Public works
Public schools
Forest rangers
Mines and mineral resources--Montana--Silver Bow County
Agriculture, Cooperative
Birds, Protection of
Land classification
Geological surveys
Vietnamese conflict, 1961-1973
Economic assistance, American
Sheep Ranches
Landless Indians
Indians of North America--Government relations
Water rights
Government spending policy
Coal mines and mining
Gold mines ad mining
Wildlife refuges
Guided missiles
Agricultural laws and legislation
Lumber trade--Montana
Federal-city relations
Indians of North America
Labor unions
Agricultural experiment stations
Salish Indians
Salish Indians--Government relations
Outdoor recreation
Consumer protection
Corporation law
Labor disputes
Economic assistance, Domestic
Cooperative societies
Chippewa Indians
Indians of North America--Claims
Gas companies
Bank mergers
Radio--Law and legislation
Forest roads
Public lands--Leases
Indians of North America--Education
Farm tenancy
Nursing--Study and teaching
Forest rires
Corruption (in politics)
Waterfowl management
Agricultural laborers
Silver mines and mining
Municipal water supply
Silver question
Labor supply
Commercial law
Blackfeet Indians--Politics and government
Cheyenne Indians
Lead mines and mining
Labor and laboring classes
Public buildings
Industry and state
Mines and mineral resources--Mmontana--Deer Lodge County
Public housing
Vocational education
Insect pests--Control
Grazing districts
Electric utilities--Law and legislation
Crow Indians
Economic development
Banks and banking--Law and legislation
Women's rights
Lumber trade--Washington
Indians of North America--Appropriations
Federal government
Labor laws and legislation
Roads--Design and construction
Manganese mines and mining
Predatory animals--control
Aeronautics and state
Fish populations
Assiniboine Indians
Educational laws and legislation
Range management
Advertising, political
Indians of North America--Reservations
Military reservations--Abandonment
Cost and standard of living
Agricultural credit
Energy development
Federal aid to education
Hopi Indians
Military service, Voluntary
Kutenai Indians--Reservations
Public lands
Veterans--Societies, etc
Wildlife conservation--Law and legislation
Liquor laws
Transportation and state
Cold War
Public Utilities
Lumber trade--Oregon
Forest management
Indians of North America--Legal status, laws, etc
Public welfare
Public utilities--Regulation
Blackfeet Indians
Civil defense
Strikes and lockouts--Copper mining
Universities and colleges
Soil conservation
Indians of North America--Land transfers
Environmental policy
Rationing, Consumer
Alkali lands
Land use
Antitrust law
Political parties
Oil and gas leases
Nez Percé Indians--Wars, 1877
Industrial safety
Rural electrification
Postal service--Employees
Aged--Legal status, laws, etc
Firearms--Law and legislation
Indians of North America--Health and hygiene
Petroleum industry and trade
Women--Legal status, laws, etc
Agriculture and state
Wild and scenic rivers
Copper mines and mining
Freight and freightage
Television broadcasting
Public health
Agricultural price supports


Birth 1911-01-28

Death 1978-01-12




Ark ID: w62526r8

SNAC ID: 57317959