O'Daniel, W. Lee (Wilbert Lee), 1890-1969

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Politician and businessman Wilbert Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel (1890-1969) was born in Malta, Ohio, one of two children of William Barnes and Alice Ann (Thompson) O’Daniel. Following his father’s death, shortly after O’Daniel’s birth, his mother remarried and moved the family to Reno County, Kansas. A 1908 graduate of Salt City Business College, O’Daniel became a stenographer and bookkeeper for a flour milling company. In 1917, he married Merle Estella Butcher, with whom he had three children. O’Daniel rose through the ranks of the flour industry, becoming sales manager of the Burrus Mills in Fort Worth, Texas, by 1925.

In charge of the company’s radio advertising, O’Daniel began writing songs for a hired group of musicians, the Light Crust Doughboys, and discussing religion on air. In 1935, he organized his own flour company, Hillbilly Flour. Relying heavily on his radio popularity, O’Daniel drew huge crowds in his 1938 Democratic campaign for governor, posing as a hillbilly and extolling the Ten Commandments, his flour, tax cuts, and industrialization. He easily won the election and another in 1940. His administration’s actions included attacks on organized labor, domination of the University of Texas Board of Regents, and continued radio showmanship. In 1941, O’Daniel won a seat in the United States Senate, barely defeating future president Lyndon Johnson. During his seven-year tenure, he introduced a number of unsuccessful anti-labor bills and was a dedicated supporter of the Republican-Southern Democratic coalition. Retiring to Texas, O’Daniel bought a ranch near Fort Worth and founded an insurance company, returning to politics in unsuccessful runs in the 1956 and 1958 Democratic gubernatorial primaries.

Source:

Green, George N. “ O’Daniel, Wilbert Lee [Pappy] .” Handbook of Texas Online . Accessed January 13, 2011.

From the guide to the O'Daniel, W. Lee "Pappy", Papers 1940; 92-143; 99-114., 1911-1951, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Politician and businessman Wilbert Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel (1890-1969) was born in Malta, Ohio, one of two children of William Barnes and Alice Ann (Thompson) O'Daniel.

O'Daniel rose through the ranks of the flour industry, becoming sales manager of the Burrus Mills in Fort Worth, Texas, by 1925. In charge of the company's radio advertising, O'Daniel began writing songs for a hired group of musicians, the Light Crust Doughboys, and discussing religion on air. In 1935, he organized his own flour company, Hillbilly Flour. Relying heavily on his radio popularity, O'Daniel drew huge crowds in his 1938 Democratic campaign for governor, posing as a hillbilly and extolling the Ten Commandments, his flour, tax cuts, and industrialization. He easily won the election and another in 1940. In 1941, O'Daniel won a seat in the United States Senate, barely defeating future president Lyndon Johnson. During his seven-year tenure, he introduced a number of unsuccessful anti-labor bills and was a dedicated supporter of the Republican-Southern Democratic coalition. Retiring to Texas, O'Daniel bought a ranch near Fort Worth and founded an insurance company, returning to politics in unsuccessful runs in the 1956 and 1958 Democratic gubernatorial primaries.

From the description of O'Daniel, W. Lee "Pappy," Papers, 1911-1951 (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 706822721

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Papers of Drew Pearson. 1915 - 1969. Files from the Merry-Go-Round Farm
referencedIn Thompson, Ernest Othmer, 1892-1966. Thompson, Ernest Othmer, papers, 1907-1967. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Granbery, John C. Granbery, John C. Papers, 1863-1955 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf O'Daniel, W. Lee (Wilbert Lee), 1890-1969. O'Daniel, W. Lee "Pappy," Papers, 1911-1951 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Parsons, Charles, 1889-. Charles Parsons papers, 1880-1965 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Rayburn, Sam, papers 92-172, 92-257, 92-389, 92-415, 94-017, 96-066, 96-177, 97-347, 98-130, 2008-225, 2009-008. 29749116., 1831, 1845, 1903-2007 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Welles mss., 1930-1950, (Bulk 1936-1947) Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Fred Acree Papers, 1820-1947 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Records, 1938-1941, undated, (bulk 1939-1941) Texas State Archives.
referencedIn Dodd (Jimmie A. ) Photograph Collection, 83-176; 2011-152., 1937-1966. Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
referencedIn Settle, J. Doyle. Papers, 1940. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
referencedIn Montgomery, Marvin. Oral history interview with Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery, 1997 September 7. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Brown, Milton, 1904-1936. Papers, 1935-1959, (bulks 1935-1937). Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
referencedIn House of Representatives Papers. 1900 - 1974. Scrapbooks
creatorOf House of Representatives Papers. 1900 - 1974. Senate Case Files Brought Forward
referencedIn Thompson (Ernest Othmer) Papers, 23285446., 1907-1967 The University of Texas at Austin, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Granbery, John C. Papers 86-150., 1863-1955 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
referencedIn Walter C. Hornaday Papers 72-6; 74-5., 1919-1970 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Parsons, Charles, 1889-. Charles Parsons papers, 1880-1965 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Charles Parsons papers, 1880-1965 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection Artist Name File, 1940-2005 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Folklife Collection.
referencedIn Molyneaux, Peter Papers 62-092; 69-109; 70-034., 1910-1953 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Rainey, Homer Price. Rainey (Homer Price) Papers, 1938-1946 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Dodd, Jimmie A., 1917-1984. Dodd, Jimmie A., photograph collection, 1937-1966. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Biography -- O'Daniel, Pappy. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
creatorOf Adkerson, J. Carson (Joseph Carson), 1892-. Papers of J. Carson Adkerson [manuscript], 1913-1981. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Lawson, William J., ca.1900-. Oral history interview with William J. Lawson, 1968 March 15 and April 19. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn “Austin Seen” Photograph Collection. AR. 2000. 016., 1939-1984., 1969-1984. Austin History Center, Austin Public Library , 810 Guadalupe, Austin, Texas, 78701.
referencedIn RICE (ROB ROY) PAPERS, RICE, ROBROYPAPERS., 1925-1966 The University of Texas at Austin, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
contributorOf Office and Personal Files, ca. 1901 - ca. 1960 Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
referencedIn Southern Folklife Collection artist name files, 1940-2005 (artists L-P). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Shivers, Allan, 1907-1985. Oral history interview with Allan Shivers, 1965 April 12, October 2, and 1966 April 8. University of North Texas Library, UNT
creatorOf Smith, John Lee, 1894-1963. Papers, 1906-1956. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
referencedIn Rainey, Homer Price, papers 1939; 1948; 1949; 93-055; 2010-228., 1861, 1938-1946, 1961-1974, 1985, 1991 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf House of Representatives Papers. 1900 - 1974. Political Correspondence Files
referencedIn Collection of postcards sent to Texas governor W. Lee O'Daniel, 1941. Southern Methodist University, DeGolyer Library
creatorOf Lyndon Baines Johnson Archives Collection. 1931 - 1968. Famous Names Correspondence Files
referencedIn Daniel, Price. Oral history interview with Price Daniel, 1967 February 25, May 6 and 1968 September 10. University of North Texas Library, UNT
creatorOf O'Daniel, W. Lee "Pappy", Papers 1940; 92-143; 99-114., 1911-1951 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Acree, Fred person
associatedWith Adkerson, J. Carson (Joseph Carson), 1892- person
associatedWith Austin History Center. corporateBody
associatedWith Brown, Milton, 1904-1936. person
associatedWith Daniel, Price. person
associatedWith Dodd, Jimmie A. person
associatedWith Dodd, Jimmie A., 1917-1984. person
associatedWith Dyer family family
associatedWith Dyer family person
associatedWith Granbery, John C. person
associatedWith Hillbilly Boys. corporateBody
associatedWith Hornaday, Walter C., 1891-1970 person
associatedWith Lawson, William J., ca.1900- person
associatedWith Light Crust Doughboys. corporateBody
associatedWith Molyneaux, Peter person
associatedWith Montgomery, Marvin person
associatedWith Parsons, Charles, 1889- person
associatedWith Rainey, Homer P. (Homer Price), 1896-1985 person
associatedWith Rayburn, Sam, 1882-1961 person
associatedWith Rice, Rob Roy person
associatedWith Settle, J. Doyle. person
associatedWith Shivers, Allan, 1907-1985. person
associatedWith Smith, John Lee, 1894-1963. person
associatedWith Texas. Governor (1939-1941 : O'Daniel) corporateBody
associatedWith Thompson, Ernest Othmer, 1892-1966. person
associatedWith Welles, Orson, 1915-1985 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Texas
Texas. Governor (1939-1941 : O’Daniel)
Texas
United States
Texas. Governor (1939-1941 : O⁰́₉Daniel)
Subject
Radio broadcasting--History--20th century
Legislators--United States--Archives
Radio broadcasting--United States--History--20th century
Flour mills--Texas--History--20th century
Flour mills--History--20th century
Legislators--Archives
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1890-03-11

Death 1969-05-11

English

Information

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Ark ID: w6902dh2

SNAC ID: 71974710