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Millard E. Tydings papers

 Collection 0150-MDHC

Millard E. Tydings (1890-1961), a graduate of the Maryland Agricultural College and the University of Maryland Law School, and subsequently a member of the University's Board of Regents, rose through the ranks of Maryland politics to serve with distinction in both the U.S. House and Senate. The majority of documents in the collection are contemporaneous with Tydings' 24 years in the U.S. Senate (1927-1951) and, although there are some personal and business papers, political campaigns and issues are the primary focus of the collection. Significant issues documented include the Philippine Islands; the Committee on Un-American Activities; disarmament; and the need for a balanced budget. Correspondence, committee reports, memoranda, and publications, by Tydings and others, represent the majority of document types.


  • 1881-1995
  • Majority of material found within 1918-1956

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Part of this collection is unprocessed. This means that materials are in the same state we received them and have not been reviewed for content or condition. The collection may need to be screened prior to use. Please contact us before visiting the Special Collections reading room to view this collection. A preliminary inventory is available under the Inventories/Additional Information section.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


40.75 Linear Feet

53 microfilms

105 Items

5 Sound Discs : acetate records

Scope and Content of Collection

The Millard E. Tydings papers span the years 1881 to 1995. The bulk of materials cover his years of political service and involvement, from 1918 to 1956, and there is a particularly strong emphasis on his years in the United States Senate from 1927 to 1951.

The variety of documents and issues covered is as broad as the time period involved in the collection. Letters, telegrams, Senate reports, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, transcripts from radio broadcasts, speeches, and literary manuscripts concern topics as varied as Senatorial campaigns, the Philippine Islands, the economy, McCarthyism, and disarmament.


Millard Evelyn Tydings was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland, on April 6, 1890, the son of Millard F. and Mary B. (O'Neill) Tydings. He graduated early from high school and went on to the Maryland Agricultural College (later the University of Maryland) where he was well known for his debating skills. He earned his B. S. in Engineering in 1910, and then received his law degree from the University of Maryland law school in 1913. He was again affiliated with the university years later, as a member of the Board of Regents from 1946 to 1951.

Tydings was admitted to the Maryland bar immediately after receiving his law degree in 1913 and practiced for two years before his election to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1915. In 1916, Tydings enlisted as a private in the Army and served overseas in the 29th Division, later commanding the 111th Machine Gun Battalion. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and a 29th Division Citation for Gallantry. Tydings returned from the war with the rank of lieutenant colonel and was named Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. He served in that capacity from 1919 to 1921. He then served in the Maryland Senate until 1923, when he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives. Four years later Tydings was elected to the U. S. Senate, where he served continuously until 1951.

During these twenty-four years, he became a so-called "Titan" in the Senate. As a conservative Democrat, Tydings achieved prominence through his willingness to engage major figures on the national scene, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Joseph McCarthy, in debate and controversy.

Tydings' years in the Senate were also marked by strong opinions, controversy, and confrontations with several powerful figures. In the wake of war he sponsored a bill calling for world disarmament. In 1930, he published Before and After Prohibition, an account of the failure of prohibition and his recommendations for liquor control. Counter-Attack, in which Tydings enumerated his views on the Depression, its international causes and curses, was published three years later. In strong opposition to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's economic strategy and deficit spending, Tydings proposed a constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget. He also opposed Roosevelt's attempts at court-packing (reorganization of the federal judiciary) in 1937 and 1938. Tydings' most valuable and remembered contributions, however, came out of his participation on and chairmanship of various committees, including the committees on Foreign Affairs and Relations, Armed Services, and Territorial and Insular Possessions. As a member of the latter committee, Tydings was intimately involved in Philippine affairs and co-authored the 1934 Tydings-McDuffie Act that called for Philippine independence. And when Senator Joseph McCarthy's charges of Communist infiltration of the State Department became the responsibility of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Tydings chaired the investigating subcommittee. His behavior and position as a member of this committee both proved Tydings' worth as a leader and conscientious politician and cost him his Senate seat in the 1950 election.

Even before McCarthy arrived on the scene, Maryland had a long history of anti-Communism and had the strongest loyalty oath in the nation on its law books. Tydings' moderate approach to the McCarthy hearings and his refusal to give in to popular hysteria alienated him from many of his Maryland constituents. The 1950 Senatorial election in Maryland involved a smear campaign against Tydings. A post-election investigation revealed that McCarthy had played a role in funding opposition to Tydings and had helped to lead to his defeat.

After his retirement from the Senate, Tydings returned to membership and practice in a law firm. He ran once more for political office in 1956 but was forced to withdraw from the race due to ill health. On February 9, 1961, he died at his home, "Oakington," near Havre de Grace, Maryland. He was survived by his wife, Eleanor Davies Cheesborough Tydings, whom he married in 1935, and his adopted son, the future Senator Joseph D. Tydings.


The Millard E. Tydings papers are divided into 13 series.

Series 1
Biographical and Non-Political
Series 2
Speeches and Personal Writings
Series 3
Political Issues and Elections
Series 4
Philippine Islands
Series 5
Un-American Activities
Series 6
World War I Publications
Series 7
News Clippings and Scrapbooks
Series 8
Political Cartoons
Series 9
Series 10
Sound Recordings
Series 11
Series 12
Series 13
Unprocessed accession, 2019-0068-MDHC

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Series VII: News Clippings and Scrapbooks, 1911-1961, is only available on microfilm.

This collection contains audiovisual materials. Items that cannot be used in the Special Collections reading room or are too fragile for researchers require that a digital copy be made prior to use. If you would like to access these materials, please contact us prior to your visit.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Eleanor Davies Cheesborough Tydings donated the original collection of the papers of Millard E. Tydings to the University of Maryland Libraries shortly after his death in 1961. Tydings' son, Joseph D. Tydings, donated additional papers in 1982. Two boxes of Tydings papers from the original donation were discovered in the collections in 2000 and incorporated into the larger collection in 2003. In 2018, his daughter Eleanor Tydings Gollob donated an addendum of photographs, clippings, medals, film reels, sound discs (records), and a punch bowl and ladle, which has not yet been processed into the collection. The films reels were deaccessioned in 2021 due to severe deterioration.

Related Material

Additional primary and secondary sources relating to the life and career of Millard Tydings are available. Caroline Keith's biography of Tydings, For Hell and a Brown Mule, is a 1991 offering (Lanham, MD: Madison Books) covering Tydings' entire life but with emphasis on his political career. Tydings own publications, Counter-Attack: A Battle Plan to Defeat the Depression (Indianapolis, The Bobbs-Merrill Company [c.1933]), Before and After Prohibition (New York, The Macmillan company, 1930), and The Machine Gunners of the Blue and Gray Division (twenty-ninth) ([Aberdeen, Md.: Harford printing and publishing co., 1920]) are all available in the Maryland Room at the University of Maryland Libraries. In addition, Tydings' political record is documented in a seventeen volume set of "Congressional record, proceedings and debates of the Congress. 70th-81st Congress" that pertains only to Tydings or his interests. This is also available in the Maryland Room (Call Number: Maryland Folio J11 .R53).

Special Collections and Univrsity Archives holds many collections that also relate to Senator Tydings. The papers of Naomi Smith Duff may also be consulted, as Tydings was one of the author's correspondents. Tydings' son, Senator Joseph D. Tydings gave his personal papers to the University of Maryland in 1976. The Gordon W. Prange Collection contains materials relating to the U. S. occupation of the Philippines.

Processing Information

In processing the Millard Tydings papers, the same measures were followed in 1961, upon receipt of the original papers, and in 1982, in the incorporation of addenda. All duplicate items and metal fasteners were removed. Materials were then placed in acid-free folders and the folders were placed in acid-free boxes. The news clippings and scrapbooks in Series VII were microfilmed. In 2003, staff transferred some items from the former "Publications" series (Series VI) to more appropriate locations within the collection. Items added as "addenda" in 1982 were interfiled with the rest of the collection. In June 2011, photographs that had been removed to the Biographical Print Files were returned to the collection.

Guide to the Millard E. Tydings papers
Processed by unknown
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 1985-02: Addendum processed by Mary Colin Hyde
  • 1991-11: Guide revised by Nancy Bowman
  • 1992-03: Guide revised by Anne Turkos
  • 2003-04: Addendum processed by Jennie A. Levine
  • 2007-04-15: EAD markup checked and verified using JEdit software by Jennie A. Levine, April 2007.
  • 2017-07-28: EAD checked and verified following ArchivesSpace migration by Nancy Harrison Gage
  • 2020-04-10: Unprocessed accession added to finding aid by Liz Caringola.
  • 2021-12-07: Liz Caringola removed description of deaccessioned 16mm films. The films were severely deteriorated and could not be salvaged.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742