Albert, Carl Bert, 1908-2000

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From 1971 to 1976 Carl Albert served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the highest elected public office held by an Oklahoman. On May 10, 1908, Albert was born at the Bolen-Darnell mining camp near McAlester to Ernest Homer and Leona Ann Scott Albert. He was the oldest of five children. A few years later the family moved to a farm near Bugtussle (also called Flowery Mound), and Albert attended primary school. In 1923 he enrolled at McAlester High School, his worn overalls belying a sharp mind and strong determination. He excelled in school. When he graduated in 1927 he was student body president, valedictorian, and the Midwest Oratorical Contest winner, for which he won a three-month European tour. His classmates nicknamed him "Little Giant" in reference to his accomplishments and to his small physical stature. Arriving with ten dollars, Albert entered the University of Oklahoma (OU) in fall 1927. He paid for his education with odd jobs the first year, but then he won another oration contest that awarded him a trip to Hawaii, fifteen hundred dollars, and several invitations to speak to civic groups. One such offer came from Thomas Pryor Gore, who needed a driver and an introductory speaker on his Oklahoma campaign stump. It was Albert's first real political experience. Excelling in college, he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity, Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and the debate team. Other honors included student council president, Dads' Day Cup for outstanding male student, and a Phi Beta Kappa key.

After graduating from OU with a bachelor's degree in government, in 1931 Albert received a Rhodes scholarship and left for England. At Oxford he studied law for three years and journeyed throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, pursuing his interests in travel and foreign languages. With two law degrees, Albert returned to the United States in 1934. The nation was deep in the Great Depression, and work was scarce. His first job was as a legal clerk for the Federal Housing Administration in Oklahoma City. Then followed several years of legal work in the oil industry in Oklahoma and Illinois.

The early days of World War II forced Albert to trade his legal practice for the U.S. Army. He was drafted in 1941 and trained with an artillery battalion of the Third Army at Camp Polk, Louisiana. When Congress amended the Selective Service Act, he was released after only a few months due to his age. He had applied for an officer's commission and accepted assignment to the judge advocate general's (JAG) office of the U.S. Army Air Corps. He first worked in Washington, D.C., and there he met and fell in love with Mary Harmon, a secretary in his office. They were married on August 20, 1942, before Albert was transferred to the Pacific Theater to serve in Gen. Douglas MacArthur's overseas JAG office. Albert returned to the United States in 1946 as a lieutenant colonel.

After the war the Alberts moved to McAlester. He sensed the time was right to pursue his lifelong dream of running for Congress. The 1946 Democratic primary in Oklahoma's Third District was an eight-way race, and after months of speeches and campaigning under the slogan "From a Cabin in the Cotton to Congress," he squeaked by his opponents to win the primary by a margin of 330 votes. As the Third District is nicknamed "Little Dixie" for its consistent support of Democrats, Albert handily beat his Republican challenger. It was the hardest race he would ever run.

As a freshman member of the Eightieth Congress Albert was assigned to the House Committee on the Post Office and Civil Service. While certainly not glamorous, the committee did not take up much of his time, leaving him free to study the workings of Congress and its members. His diligence caught the attention of House Speaker Sam Rayburn, who often invited Albert to informal discussions in his office. On Rayburn's advice Albert accepted a new assignment to the Committee on Agriculture in 1949. In this post he was well situated to address the needs of his district. Some of his early legislative efforts benefited Oklahoma peanut farmers and improved flood control in the Red and Arkansas river basins.

Albert's years of careful study paid off in 1955. A shuffling of committee chairmanships left vacant the post of party whip, and Albert was appointed. The main challenge of the time was a seniority system for committee chairmanships that guaranteed a near monopoly for Southern Democrats and an autonomous Rules Committee that often held up important legislation. When Sam Rayburn died in office in late 1961, in 1962 John McCormack became Speaker, and Albert ascended to majority leader. He became Speaker in 1971 when McCormack retired after tumultuous tenure that had weathered clashes over education, civil rights, welfare programs, and Vietnam.

As Speaker, Albert focused on congressional reform through committee structure, the appropriations process, and a renewed Democratic Caucus. However, inflation, recession, Pres. Richard Nixon's frequent impound of appropriations, and the ever-worsening conflict in Vietnam threatened the unity of the House. Perhaps Albert's greatest challenge was presiding over Congress during the Watergate scandal. He chose not to involve the House in investigations of Vice President Spiro Agnew and referred presidential impeachment resolutions to the House Judiciary Committee. Twice during the scandal Albert was second in succession to the presidency. As Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller were both appointed by Congress, Albert was the highest-ranked elected official serving during their administration.

During his congressional tenure the Alberts had two children, Mary Francis, born in 1948, and David Ernest, born in 1954. After three terms as Speaker and thirty years in Congress, Carl Albert retired in 1976. He and Mary returned to McAlester. He kept an office there and continued to be active in politics and public service until his death on February 4, 2000.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn President's Daily Diary. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. President's Daily Diary. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. President's Daily Diary Entry, April 11, 1965
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 8:13P
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, ?
referencedIn Morris, Toby. Toby Morris photograph collection, 1947-1961. Museum of the Great Plains
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 11:15A
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 5:46P
referencedIn President's Daily Diary. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. President's Daily Diary. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. President's Daily Diary Entry, October 5, 1965
referencedIn Margaret Bayne Price Papers, 1918-1969, 1947-1968 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Fischer, John Sylvester, 1910-1978. John Sylvester Fischer papers, 1907-1980 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn President's Daily Diary. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. President's Daily Diary. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. President's Daily Diary Entry, August 6, 1965
creatorOf Albert, Carl B. Family record of John Henry Ware / compiled by Carl B. Albert. Mid-Continent Public Library, Administrative Headquarters
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. White House Telephone Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, WH Series, Carl Albert, 6:46P
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 7:36P
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 1:10P
creatorOf Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006. TLS, 1973 April 16 : Washington, D.C., to Charles A. Vanik. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. Maj Leroy G. Cooper receives award and addresses Congress, Washington, DC
creatorOf Morris, Toby. Congressional papers, 1946-1960. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 2:50P
referencedIn President's Daily Diary. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. President's Daily Diary. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. President's Daily Diary Entry, November 22, 1963 Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 3:00P
referencedIn Brock Adams papers, 1947-1993, 1965-1992 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn William D. Ford Papers, 1955-1995, 1965-1995 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Cartwright, Wilburn, 1892-1979. Congressional papers, 1898-1951. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
creatorOf Memoranda of Conversations (Nixon and Ford Administrations). 1973 - 1977. Ford Administration Memoranda of Conversations. 8/1974 - 1/1977. September 25, 1975 - Ford, Bipartisan Congressional Leadership
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. White House Telephone Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, WH Series, Carl Albert, 6:46P
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. White House Telephone Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, WH Series, Carl Albert, 6:06P
creatorOf Lee, Joshua Bryan, 1892-1967. Papers, 1911-1972, 1928-1966. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 6:00P
creatorOf Albert, Carl, fl. 1972. Letter. November 13, 1972, Washington, D.C. to Rusty King, Haverford, Pa. Haverford College Library
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 7:30P
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. Flag Day '75, Washington, D. C.
referencedIn President's Daily Diary. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. President's Daily Diary. 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969. President's Daily Diary Entry, April 5, 1968
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 776
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 529
referencedIn National Federation of Grain Cooperatives records, 1946-1976. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Albert, Carl Bert, 1908-2000. Letters, 1957-1962. The Filson Historical Society
creatorOf Smith, Howard Worth, 1883-1976. Papers of Howard Worth Smith [manuscript] 1920-1976. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 7:06P
creatorOf Dierenfield, Bruce J., 1951-. Oral history interviews, 1975-1984. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. White House telephone tape number 41
referencedIn Chester Bowles papers, 1924-1982 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Chester Bowles papers, 1924-1982 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Camp, John N. Happy, 1908-1987. Congressional papers, 1967-1974. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
referencedIn George W. Pray Papers, 1844-1890 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
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referencedIn John Sylvester Fischer papers, 1907-1980 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. White House Telephone Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, WH Series, Carl Albert, 6:06P
referencedIn Rothbaum, Julian J., 1913-2003. Papers, 1927-2003, 1971-1999. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
referencedIn Fischer, John Sylvester, 1910-1978. John Sylvester Fischer papers, 1907-1980 (inclusive). Yale University Library
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referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. SPAATZ AWARD, WASHINGTON, DC
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referencedIn Pre-Presidential Papers of Richard M. Nixon. 1946 - 1963. General Correspondence Richard Nixon Library
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 6:37P
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. White House Telephone Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, WH Series, Carl Albert, 11:20A
referencedIn Gerald R. Ford Vice Presidential Papers. 1973 - 1974. Robert Hartmann's Summaries of Congressional Proceedings
creatorOf Albert, Carl Bert, 1908-2000. Congressional papers, 1910-1998, bulk 1946-1998. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. White House Telephone Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, WH Series, Carl Albert, 11:35A
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 11:25P
referencedIn Neal, Steve,. Steve Neal photographs collection [graphic], circa 1965-1979. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. White House Telephone Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, WH Series, Carl Albert, 7:40P
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referencedIn Harris, Fred R., 1930-. Papers, 1963-1976. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
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creatorOf Price, Margaret Bayne, 1912-1968. Margaret Bayne Price papers, 1918-1969. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn National Federation of Grain Cooperatives. National Federation of Grain Cooperatives records, 1946-1976. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Dierenfield, Bruce J., 1951-. Papers relating to Dierenfield's biography of Howard W. Smith[manuscript], 1978-1985. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, 8:01P
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. John F. Kennedy Assassination Related Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 3/28/1967. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, K Series, Carl Albert, ?
referencedIn Harvard Law School Forums Records Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. White House Telephone Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, WH Series, Carl Albert, 4:45P
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creatorOf Recordings and Transcripts of Telephone Conversations and Meetings. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. White House Telephone Recordings and Transcripts. 11/22/1963 - 1/3/1969. LBJ Recording of Telephone Conversation, WH Series, Carl Albert, 11:35A
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Brock, 1927- person
associatedWith Albert family. family
associatedWith Albert family. family
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associatedWith Aspinall, Wayne N. person
associatedWith Barriere, John E. (John Ernest), 1919- person
associatedWith Bartlett, Dewey F. person
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associatedWith Blatnik, John A, 1911-1991. person
associatedWith Boggs, Thomas Hale. person
associatedWith Bolling, Richard, 1916-1991. person
associatedWith Boren, David, 1941- person
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associatedWith Dulski, Thaddeus J., 1915-1988. person
associatedWith Evins, Joe L. (Joe Landon), 1910-1984. person
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associatedWith Jones, James R., 1939- person
associatedWith Kendall, Willmoore, 1909-1967. person
associatedWith Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963. person
associatedWith Kerr, Robert S. (Robert Samuel), 1896-1963. person
associatedWith King, J. Russell, ca. 1954- person
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associatedWith Matsunaga, Spark M., 1916-1990. person
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associatedWith Perkins, Carl Dewey, 1912-1984. person
associatedWith Poage, W. R. (William Robert), 1899-1987. person
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associatedWith Price, Margaret Bayne, 1912-1968. person
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associatedWith Rhodes, John J. (John Jacob), 1916-2003. person
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associatedWith Rodino, Peter W. person
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associatedWith Rothbaum, Julian J., 1913-2003. person
associatedWith Sikes, Robert L. F. (Robert Lee Fulton), 1906-1994. person
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associatedWith Udall, Morris K. person
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associatedWith United States. Economic Development Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Environmental Protection Agency. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Farmers Home Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Indian Health Service. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Office of Economic Opportunity. corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Oklahoma. corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Oxford corporateBody
associatedWith Virden, John M. person
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Place Name Admin Code Country
McAlester OK US
McAlester OK US
Subject
Occupation
Representatives, U.S. Congress
Speakers of the House, U.S. Congress
Lawyers
Army officers
Function

Person

Birth 1908-05-10

Death 2000-02-04

Male

Americans

English

Information

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