Volstead, Andrew J. (Andrew John), 1860-1947

Andrew John Volstead was born near Kenyon, Goodhue County, Minnesota on October 31, 1860. He attended St. Olaf College and graduated from Decorah Institute, Decorah, Iowa in 1881. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1884. He married Helen Mary Osler ("Nellie") Gilruth (1868-1918) on August 6, 1894 and in 1895 their only child Laura Ellen (Mrs. Carl Joys Lomen) was born. He was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 7th District of Minnesota and served from March 4, 1903 until March 3, 1923. He was unsuccessful in his re-election to the 68th Congress.

This collection of papers is mainly related to his authorship of the National Prohibition Act of 1919 (known as the Volstead Act) and his 1922 re-election campaign. The Volstead Act gave federal agents the power to investigate and prosecute violations of the Eighteenth Amendment. It was modified in 1933 to permit the sale of 3.2% beer and wine. He served on the Judiciary Committee for the 66th and 67th Congresses. Volstead resumed the practice of law after his defeat. He died January 20, 1947 and was buried in the cemetery at Granite Falls, Minnesota.


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