The senator’s own account of his service to Oklahoma and the nation through depression and war

Elmer Thomas (1876–1965) represented the people of Oklahoma in the state’s first legislature and in Congress. This memoir, written shortly after he left the U.S. Senate in 1951 but never before published, chronicles his long career and offers a wealth of information on people and events that helped shape the development of the state and the course of American history.

Thomas became one of Oklahoma’s first state senators in 1907 and was involved with financing the construction of public works. As a member of the U.S. Congress, he made it his business to understand the Federal Reserve System, and as the farm crisis of the 1920s worsened during the Great Depression, he consistently argued for inflating the currency to stimulate the economy—a struggle that became central to his career and that he eventually won.

Thomas’s panoramic look at the issues of his time includes a behind-the-scenes view of the Nürnberg War Crimes Trial and also tells how he helped push funding for the atomic bomb project through Congress without disclosing its true nature. Thomas dedicated his career to improving the lot of rural residents, Native Americans, and working people. Forty Years a Legislator is a rich source of insight for all concerned with twentieth-century politics or the early years of Oklahoma statehood.


About The Author
Richard Lowitt (1922–2018) was a Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma and author of numerous books, including a three-volume biography of George W. Norris, American Outback: The Oklahoma Panhandle in the Twentieth Century, and The New Deal and the West.

Carolyn G. Hanneman is an archivist at the University of Oklahoma's Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center.

Cindy Simon Rosenthal is Mayor of Norman, Oklahoma, sister city to Arezzo.

Book Information
15 b&w illus.
188 Pages
Hardcover 978-0-8061-3809-1
Published April 2007
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