Manahan, James, 1866-1932Alternative names
James Manahan was born March 12, 1866 on a farm near Chatfield, Minnesota, the son of Joseph and Catherine McCarthy Manahan. He received his education at a country school taught by his older brother, Christopher, and at the Winona Normal School. After his graduation in 1886, he taught school at Graceville, Minnesota for a short time, began studying law at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and then entered the newly-organized law department at the University of Minnesota. In 1889 he received its first Bachelor of Laws degree, and opened an office in St. Paul.
On September 20, 1893 Manahan married Mary Zita (Minnie) Kelly, the daughter of Daniel and Mary Kelly of St. Paul. They had one daughter, Kathryn, who also became a St. Paul lawyer.
In 1895 Manahan moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he was attorney for Mary Fitzgerald in the extensive litigation surrounding the settlement of her husband's estate, as well as conducting a private law practice. He met William Jennings Bryan soon after moving to Lincoln, became his friend, and supported him in his three campaigns for the presidency. Manahan himself ran unsuccessfully for congress from Lincoln in 1898.
Manahan returned to Minnesota in 1905 and opened a law office in Minneapolis. After Bryan's defeat in 1908, Manahan left the Democratic Party and became a progressive Republican. He supported Robert M. LaFollette in 1912 and was himself elected congressman-at-large for Minnesota for the term 1913-1915.
Instead of running for reelection, he moved his law office to St. Paul and began to study the question of transportation and marketing as they affected farming. His concern for this issue led to his involvement in such cases as the Pullman rate case, which resulted in lower rates on sleeping car berths, and the case of Sundberg vs. the American Express Company, which brought about a readjustment of express rates.
Manahan believed that farmers were vital members of society, since they were responsible for feeding the world, and he devoted himself to establishing farmers' rights to receive a fair return for their effort. His later years were spent trying to gain protection for the agricultural interests of the northwest through favorable tariffs and improved marketing systems. He was closely identified with farm organizations, cooperative marketing associations, and the Farmers Union Terminal Association.
James Manahan died January 8, 1932.
Biographical information was taken from the collection; from Manahan's autobiography, Trials of a Lawyer (Minneapolis, 1933); and from his obituary, St. Paul Pioneer Press, January 8, 1932, page 4.
From the guide to the James Manahan and family papers., 1880-1937., (Minnesota Historical Society)
|referencedIn||Jones, Stiles P., 1862-1920. Stiles P. Jones and family papers, 1848-1918.||Minnesota Historical Society Library|
|creatorOf||Manahan, James, 1866-1932. James Manahan and family papers, 1880-1937.||Minnesota Historical Society Library|
|creatorOf||Drake, Benjamin B., 1880-1961. Equity Cooperative Exchange papers, 1906-1929.||Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts|
|creatorOf||James Manahan and family papers., 1880-1937.||Minnesota Historical Society.|
|creatorOf||Burger, Warren E., 1907-1995. Pamphlets relating to federal and national judiciary in Minnesota, 1911-||Minnesota Historical Society Library|
|creatorOf||Nevius, George Loper, 1854-1925. George L. Nevius papers, 1884, 1890-1915.||Minnesota Historical Society Library|
|creatorOf||Jaeger, Luth, 1851-1925. Luth and Nanny Mattson Jaeger papers, 1874-1933.||Minnesota Historical Society Library|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Practice of law|
|Real estate business--Minnesota|
|Progressivism (United States politics)|
|Real Estate Business|