Library of Congress
BENSON, Elmer Austin (1895-1985)

BENSON, ELMER AUSTIN, a Senator from Minnesota; born in Appleton, Swift County, Minn., September 22, 1895; attended the public schools; graduated from the St. Paul (Minn.) College of Law in 1918; during the First World War served as a private in the United States Army 1918-1919; admitted to the bar but did not practice; engaged in banking and retail clothing business; State commissioner of securities in 1933 and State commissioner of banks 1933-1935; appointed on December 27, 1935, as a Farmer-Laborite to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Thomas D. Schall and served from December 27, 1935, until November 3, 1936, when a successor was elected; was not a candidate for election to fill the vacancy; Governor of Minnesota 1937-1939; unsuccessful candidate in 1938 for reelection as Governor; unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1940 and 1942; engaged in agriculture; died in Minneapolis, Minn., March 13, 1985; interment in Appleton Cemetery, Appleton, Minn.

Minnesota Historical Society
St. Paul, MN
Papers: 1931-1974. 27 boxes. Correspondence, speeches, clippings, pamphlets, and other papers. Includes information on the Farmer-Labor party, his support for domestic policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, pardon of Thomas Mooney, the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War, the peace and disarmament movements of the 1930s, his opposition to the domestic and foreign policies of the Truman administration, and his support for Henry Wallace in the 1948 election. Also gubernatorial papers, 1937-1939, 14 boxes. Finding aids.
Additional Papers: Correspondence and other items in the Charles William Stickney papers, 1935-1990; James Youngdale papers, 1932-1981; Minnesota Seventh Congressional District Farmer-Labor party scrapbook, 1933-1944; Douglas Allen Bruce papers, 1933-1972; Rollo Lester Mudge papers, 1917-1972; Arthur LeSueur papers, ca. 1910-1954; Hjalmar Petersen papers, 1907-1968; and others.
Oral History: 1963, 1964, 1969, 1981, 1983. 208 pages. Provides information on his political career and Minnesota and national politics. Permission required to cite or quote.

Moorhead State University
Northwest Minnesota Historical Center
Moorhead, MN
Papers: Ca. 10 letters regarding issues of the day in Henry Nycklemoe papers, 1922-1940.
Oral History: January 4, 1974. 20 pages. Discusses Farmer-Labor party; service as banking commissioner, securities commissioner, senator, and governor; the Depression; politics; Roosevelt and the New Deal in Minnesota; and legislation in the 1930s.

University of Iowa Libraries
Special Collections Department
Iowa City, IA
Papers: Correspondence in Calvin Benham Baldwin papers, 1933-1975. Finding aid.

  • Benson, Elmer A. "Politics in My Lifetime.'' Minnesota History 47 (Winter 1980): 154-60.
  • Shields, James M. Mr. Progressive: A Biography of Elmer Austin Benson. Minneapolis: Denison, 1971.