O'Neill, Tip, 1912-1994

Alternative names

Hide Profile

Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr., in full Thomas Phillip O’Neill, Jr., byname Tip O’Neill, (born December 19, 1912, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.—died January 5, 1994, Boston, Massachusetts), American politician who served as a Democratic representative from Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives (1953–87) and as speaker of the House (1977–86). He was a tireless advocate for social causes, and he frequently expressed his belief that it is the responsibility of the government to contribute to the good of society by helping the poor, the underprivileged, and the unemployed.

O’Neill grew up in a working-class section of Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his father served on the Cambridge City Council. As a teenager, he joined the 1928 presidential campaign of Democratic New York Gov. Al Smith after learning that Smith, like O’Neill, was an Irish Catholic. In 1932 he campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt. He graduated from Boston College in 1936, the same year he won election to the Massachusetts state House of Representatives, where he served until 1952. In 1953 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to fill the seat vacated by John F. Kennedy after Kennedy was elected to the U.S. Senate.

As a U.S. representative, O’Neill soon earned a reputation as a dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrat who was willing to speak his mind. He was a shrewd negotiator who marshaled support in the back rooms of the Capitol rather than on the House floor. In 1967 he became one of the first members of the House to oppose Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson vocally on the Vietnam War. O’Neill served as House majority whip in 1971 and as majority leader in 1972 before being elevated to speaker in 1977. He won favour with his younger colleagues for approving legislative reforms, including a new ethics code and a limit on outside income for House members. In 1974 he publicly called on Pres. Richard M. Nixon, who had been disgraced by the Watergate scandal, to resign. O’Neill later earned the respect of many Democrats for frequently opposing the conservative administration of Pres. Ronald Reagan; he often criticized Reagan publicly.

O’Neill remained a popular figure among Democrats throughout his career. In the early 1980s, Republican-sponsored television advertisements featuring an O’Neill look-alike who was meant to symbolize a bloated free-wheeling Congress not only failed to detract from O’Neill’s popularity but rather enhanced it. O’Neill himself appeared in television commercials for a credit card company and played a cameo role on the TV comedy Cheers.

O’Neill published his best-selling autobiography, Man of the House, in 1987. The publication of a book of his anecdotes and lore, All Politics Is Local, coincided with his death in 1994.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Elliot L. Richardson photographs, 1964-1966. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency. 1900 - 2003. Video Recordings from the "Worldnet Today" Program Series. 1980 - 1994. POST ELECTION - KABA/WIERZYNSKI
referencedIn Taft, William Howard, 1945-. William Howard Taft papers, 1958-1989 (bulk 1970-1989). Library of Congress
creatorOf Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006. TLS, 1973 April 16 : Washington, D.C., to Charles A. Vanik. Copley Press, J S Copley 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 Bustamante, Albert Garza,. Oral history interview with Albert Garza Bustamante, 2004 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Saltonstall, Leverett, 1892-1979. Leverett Saltonstall autograph collection, 1930-1996 ; bulk: 1930-1979. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn The Daily Worker and The Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency. 1900 - 2003. Video Recordings from the "Worldnet Today" Program Series. 1980 - 1994. CONGRESS AND THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION - O'NEILL
referencedIn George Hardy Photograph Collection No. 14 San Francisco State University. Labor Archives and Research Center.
referencedIn Records, 1939-1992 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn University of Washington Collection. 1931 - 1977. Audio Recordings Forming the Milo Ryan Phonoarchive of Radio Newscasts Relating to World War II and Special Coverage of Other Historical Events. 1931 - 1977. MEET THE PRESS
creatorOf O'Neill, Tip. Thomas P. O'Neill Papers, 1936-1994 (bulk 1953-1986). Boston College. John J. Burns 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
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency. 1900 - 2003. Video Recordings from the "Worldnet Today" Program Series. 1980 - 1994. POST ELECTION - TREWHITT/HESS
referencedIn Wyner Family Papers Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society
referencedIn Albert, Carl Bert, 1908-2000. Congressional papers, 1910-1998, bulk 1946-1998. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
referencedIn Barry Jagoda Papers. 1976 - 2003. Barry Jagoda's Subject Files. 1976 - 2003. Speeches
referencedIn William D. Ford Papers, 1955-1995, 1965-1995 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn William Howard Taft IV Papers, 1958-1989, (bulk 1970-1989) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency. 1900 - 2003. Video Recordings from the "Worldnet Today" Program Series. 1980 - 1994. POST ELECTION - UNGAR/WILLENSON
referencedIn Records, 1967-1990 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency. 1900 - 2003. Video Recordings from the "Worldnet Today" Program Series. 1980 - 1994. POST ELECTION - ROBINSON
referencedIn Archives of Irish America Vertical Files, Bulk, 1970-2009, 1866-2009 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Harris, Patricia, 1924-1985. Patricia Harris papers, 1950-1983 (bulk 1977-1980). Library of Congress
creatorOf Americans for Democratic Action. Massachusetts Chapter. Americans for Democratic Action records, 1949-1976. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Smith, Hedrick. Hedrick Smith papers, 1923-1992 (bulk 1965-1990). Library of Congress
referencedIn Window Shop (Cambridge, Mass.). Records, 1939-1992 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency. 1900 - 2003. Video Recordings from the "Worldnet Today" Program Series. 1980 - 1994. ROLE OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS - O'NEILL
referencedIn Minneapolis (Minn.). Office of the Mayor. Photographs of Mayor Donald M. Fraser, 1982-1993. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Brown, Dorothy Kirchwey. Papers of Dorothy Kirchwey Brown, 1917-1957. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Records of the Securities and Exchange Commission. 1933 - 2001. Correspondence with Members of Congress and Congressional Committees and Subcommittees
referencedIn McCurdy, Dave, $d1950-. Congressional papers, 1980-1994. University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Memorial Library
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to U.S. Domestic and International Activities . 1982 - 1999. MR. SPEAKER - A PORTRAIT OF TIP O'NEILL
referencedIn Hedrick Smith Papers, 1923-1992, (bulk 1965-1990) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Boston N.O.W. Records, 1967-1990 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Patricia Harris Papers, 1924-1983, (bulk 1977-1980) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Taft, William Howard, 1945-. Papers, 1958-1989 (bulk 1970-1989) Library of Congress
referencedIn Camille Chautemps papers, 1885-2005 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Brown, Dorothy Kirchwey. Additional papers, 1881-1981 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Albert, Carl Bert, 1908-2000. person
associatedWith Americans for Democratic Action. Massachusetts Chapter. corporateBody
associatedWith Archives of Irish America. corporateBody
associatedWith Boston N.O.W. corporateBody
associatedWith Brown, Dorothy Kirchwey. person
associatedWith Bustamante, Albert Garza, person
associatedWith Carter, Jimmy, 1924- person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Democratic National Committee (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Democratic Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006 person
associatedWith Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006 person
associatedWith Ford, William D. (William David), 1927- person
associatedWith Hardy, George person
correspondedWith Harris, Patricia, 1924-1985 person
correspondedWith Harris, Patricia, 1924-1985. person
associatedWith House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Kelley, Eleanor. person
associatedWith Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963. person
associatedWith McCurdy, Dave, $d1950- person
associatedWith Minneapolis (Minn.). Office of the Mayor. corporateBody
associatedWith O'Donnell, Kirk. person
associatedWith Rayburn, Sam, 1882-1961 person
associatedWith Reagan, Ronald. person
associatedWith Saltonstall, Leverett, 1892-1979. person
associatedWith Smith, Hedrick. person
associatedWith Smith, Hedrick. person
correspondedWith Taft, William Howard, 1915 August 7- person
correspondedWith Taft, William Howard, 1945- person
associatedWith The Window Shop, Inc., 1939-1987 corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House corporateBody
associatedWith Window Shop (Cambridge, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Wyner Family family
Place Name Admin Code Country
Cambridge MA US
Boston MA US
Subject
Watergate Affair, 1972-1974--History--Sources
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--History--Sources
Legislators--Correspondence
Legislators--Biography
Irish Americans--Correspondence
Occupation
Speakers of the House, U.S. Congress
Authors
State Representative
Representatives U.S. Congress--Massachusetts
Function

Person

Birth 1912-12-09

Death 1994-01-05

Male

Americans

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6bd4nsr

Ark ID: w6bd4nsr

SNAC ID: 84248175