EASTLAND, James Oliver (1904-1986)
Senate Years of Service: 1941-1941; 1943-1978

EASTLAND, JAMES OLIVER, a Senator from Mississippi; born in Doddsville, Sunflower County, Miss., November 28, 1904; moved with his parents to Forest, Miss., in 1905; attended the public schools, the University of Mississippi at Oxford, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1927 and commenced practice in Forest, Miss.; also engaged in agricultural pursuits; member, State house of representatives 1928-1932; moved to Ruleville, Miss., in 1934; appointed on June 30, 1941, as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Pat Harrison and served from June 30, 1941, to September 28, 1941; was not a candidate for election to the vacancy; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1942; reelected in 1948, 1954, 1960, 1966, and again in 1972, and served from January 3, 1943, until his resignation December 27, 1978; was not a candidate for reelection in 1978; served as President pro tempore of the Senate during the Ninety-second through the Ninety-fifth Congresses; chairman, Committee on the Judiciary (Eighty-fourth through Ninety-fifth Congresses); was a resident of Doddsville, Miss., until his death on February 19, 1986; interment in Forest Cemetery, Forest, Miss.

Alabama Department of Archives and History
Montgomery, AL
Papers: In John H. Bankhead papers, 1880-1947; Clifford J. Durr papers, 1899-1976; and Virginia F. Durr papers, 1904-1991. Also miscellaneous items in other collections.

Broadcast Pioneers Library
University of Maryland Hornbake Library
College Park, MD
Papers: 2 audiotapes (1973) in Westinghouse Broadcasting Company collection, 1945-1981.

Columbia University
Oral History Project
New York, NY
Oral History: Discussed in Virginia Durr interview.

Gerald R. Ford Library
Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: 1974-1977. Correspondence and briefing papers. Finding aid.

Harvard University
Law School Library
Cambridge, MA
Papers: In Richard Hinkley Field papers, 1932-1978 (bulk 1942-1978). Finding aid.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
Austin, TX
Oral History: February 19, 1971. 24 pages.

Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Jackson, MS
Papers: 1973, 1976, undated. 4 boxes. Speeches and printed matter from Judiciary Committee and photographs.

Mississippi State University
Mitchell Memorial Library
Mississippi State, MS
Papers: 1950-1971. 10 items. Also photographs.
Oral History: In the John Stennis collection.

University of Georgia
Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Athens, GA
Oral History: 1971. 11 pages. Limited to reminiscences of Russell.

University of Mississippi
Modern Political Archives
University, MS
Papers: 1930-1978 (bulk 1941-1978). 1,800 feet. Congressional papers include correspondence, documents, publications, photographs, scrapbooks, and audiovisual media. Also included is personal correspondence, law firm files, plantation files, and financial records. Subseries include: biography, family correspondence, plantation records, law firm files, financial records, donation files, personal correspondence, holiday cards, executive secretary files, guest books, invitations, schedules, appointments, trips, telephone memos, Executive Branch correspondence, Federal correspondence, congressional correspondence, campaign records, politics, Mississippi office/ C.B. Curlee & Wilburn Buckley files, patronage, nominations, employment and school references, presidential inauguration files, University of Mississippi files, and publications. Series 1: Personal/Political; Series; 2: Public Relations; Series 3: Constituent Files; Series 4: Legislative Files; Series 5: Office Files; Series 6: Public Relations. Online finding aid is available. http://purl.oclc.org/umarchives/MUM00117/. Related Material at the University of Mississippi: Thomas G. Abernethy Collection. Abernethy represented Mississippi in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1943 to 1973. The finding aid for the Abernethy Collection contains an item-level description for four boxes of files on the Mississippi Election Contest of 1964-1965 which includes several pieces of correspondence with Eastland. The collection also contains files on legislation both congressmen sponsored. Carroll Gartin Collection. Gartin served as Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi three times and ran against Eastland in the 1954 Democratic Primary. His collection includes campaign records from that contest. Recordings and photographs are available online in the Carroll Gartin Digital Collection. Fannie Lou Hamer Collection. A former sharecropper from Eastland's home county, Hamer became a leading civil rights activist and her papers include files on the National Committee for Free Elections in Sunflower County. Joseph M. Howorth Collection of James O. Eastland Correspondence. Collection consists of five letters between Howorth and Eastland dating from 1927 to 1941. Ed King Collection. The files of this civil rights activist contain clippings on the senator, correspondence relating to state NAACP president Aaron Henry's endorsement of Eastland's 1978 reelection, and documents on the National Committee for Free Elections in Sunflower County from the 1960s. Mississippi Politics Collection. This collection contains an undated campaign poster for Eastland. Nash and Taggart Collection. This collection includes a number of oral histories that recall Eastland. Clarence Pierce Collection. Pierce served as a staff assistant for Eastland from 1964 to 1968 and was an employee of the U.S. Senate from 1968 to 1972. John C. Satterfield/American Bar Association Collection. This collection includes Eastland correspondence. William M. Whittington Collection. Whittington represented Mississippi in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1925 to 1951. His congressional papers includes correspondence with Eastland. Descriptions of additional political holdings are available in the Politics and Government Subject Guide which includes material from the eighteenth century to the present. Further Archival Sources on Eastland: The Alabama Department of Archives and History contains Eastland material in three collections: the John H. Bankhead Papers, the Clifford J. Durr Papers, and the Virginia F. Durr Papers. The Broadcast Pioneers Library at the University of Maryland has two 1973 Eastland audiotapes in the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company Collection. A Virginia Durr interview in the Oral History Project at Columbia University discusses Eastland. The Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan possesses correspondence and briefing papers related to Eastland. The Law School Library at Harvard University h as material related to Eastland in the Richard Hinkley Field Papers. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library maintains a website where one can download the transcript of a 1971 Eastland interview by Joe B. Frantz. The McCain Library and Archives at the University of Southern Mississippi has several oral histories which discuss Eastland including that of Erle Johnston, a former public relations campaign manager for the senator, and Frank Barber, a field man in Eastland's 1954 campaign and a member of the senator's congressional staff. Barber also served as a legislative assistant on the Internal Security Subcommittee. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has four boxes of speeches, photographs, and Judiciary Committee prints. Mississippi State University's Mitchell Memorial Library possesses ten Eastland items and photographs, as well as an oral history in the John Stennis Collection. The Richard B. Russell Library at the University of Georgia contains a 1971 interview with Eastland concerning Senator Russell. The Hugh Scott Papers in the Alderman Library at the University of Virginia contains correspondence with Eastland. Additionally, the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia maintains a website where one can listen to a conversation between President Johnson and Eastland regarding the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas hosts an online video and transcript of Mike Wallace interviewing Eastland (28 July 1957) available at http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/film/holdings/wallace/. The U.S. Senate maintains a web page discussing the James O. Eastland portrait in the Senate Art Collection at http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/art/artifact/Painting_32_00040.htm.

Oral History: Interviews with several Eastland Senate staff in the Nash & Target Collection of audio recordings of oral histories conducted by Jere Nash and Andy Taggart in the process of writing their book Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, 1976-2006 and the subsequent edition Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, 1976-2008.

Papers: In the Clarence Pierce Collection (1964-1972, .5 linear feet), correspondence and manuscripts of staff assistant to Eastland. Finding aid available at http://purl.oclc.org/umarchives/MUM00364.

Papers: 4 letters, 1927-1941, in the Joseph M. Howorth Collection. Finding aid available at http://purl.oclc.org/umarchives/MUM01708.

University of Southern Mississippi
McCain Library and Archives
Hattiesburg, MS

Oral History: Discussed in interview with Erle Johnston, publicity manager during Eastland's early political career and in several other interviews in Mississippi Oral History Program.

University of Virginia
Alderman Library
Charlottesville, VA
Papers: Correspondence in Hugh Scott papers, 1925-1983. Finding aid.

  • Annis, Jr., James Lee. Big Jim Eastland: The Godfather of Mississippi. Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi, 2016.
  • Asch, Christopher Myers. The Senator and the Sharecropper: The Freedom Struggles of James O. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer. New York: New Press, 2008.
  • Brown, Sarah Hart. "Redressing Southern 'Subversion': The Case of Senator Eastland and the Louisiana Lawyer." Louisiana History 43:3 (2002): 295-314.
  • Schlauch, Wolfgang. "Representative William M. Colmer and Senator James O. Eastland and the Reconstruction of Germany, 1945.'' Journal of Mississippi History 34 (August 1972): 193-213.
  • Zellner, Dorothy M. "Red Roadshow: Eastland in New Orleans, 1954.'' Louisiana History 33 (Winter 1992): 31-60.
  • Zwiers, Maarten. Senator James Eastland: Mississippi's Jim Crow Democrat. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015.