GURNEY, John Chandler (Chan) (1896-1985)

GURNEY, JOHN CHANDLER (CHAN), a Senator from South Dakota; born in Yankton, S.Dak., May 21, 1896; attended the public schools; during the First World War served as a sergeant in Company A, Thirty-Fourth Engineers, United States Army, with service overseas 1918-1919; engaged in the seed and nursery business 1914-1926; operator of a radio station at Yankton, S.Dak., 1926-1932; moved to Sioux Falls, S.Dak., and engaged in the wholesale gasoline and oil business 1932-1936; unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1936; elected as a Republican in 1938 to the United States Senate; reelected in 1944 and served from January 3, 1939, to January 3, 1951; unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1950; chairman, Committee on Armed Services (Eightieth Congress); appointed a member of the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1951, became chairman in 1954, reappointed in 1958, and served until 1964; retired to Yankton, S.Dak., where he died, March 9, 1985; interment in Yankton Cemetery.

Papers destroyed upon defeat.

Dakota State University
Karl E. Mundt Library
Madison, SD
Oral History: September 2, 1972. 6 pages.

Yankton County Historical Society
Yankton, SD
Papers: Mid-1930s to mid-1950s. 25-30 scrapbooks. Clippings from Senate and subsequent career, especially service on the Armed Services Committee. Also photographs and memorabilia.

  • Pressler, Larry. "John Chandler Gurney.'' In U.S. Senators from the Prairie, pp. 114-23. Vermillion, SD: Dakota Press, 1982.