KNOWLAND, William Fife (1908-1974)
Senate Years of Service: 1945-1959

KNOWLAND, WILLIAM FIFE, (son of Joseph Russell Knowland), a Senator from California; born in Alameda, Alameda County, Calif., June 26, 1908; attended the public schools and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1929; engaged in the newspaper publishing business in Oakland, Calif., in 1933; member, California State assembly 1933-1935; member, State senate 1935-1939; Republican National committeeman from California 1938-1942 and chairman of the executive committee 1940-1942; served in the Second World War as an enlisted man and officer; was serving overseas when appointed on August 14, 1945, as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Hiram W. Johnson; assumed office August 26, 1945, and was subsequently elected November 5, 1946, to fill the unexpired term ending January 3, 1947, and at the same time elected for the six-year term ending January 3, 1953; reelected in 1952 and served from August 26, 1945, to January 2, 1959; was not a candidate for renomination in 1958; majority leader 1953-1955; minority leader 1955-1959; chairman, Republican Policy Committee (Eighty-third Congress); unsuccessful candidate for Governor of California in 1958; resumed his newspaper career and took an active interest in civic affairs in the Oakland, Calif., area; died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his summer home near Guerneville, Calif., February 23, 1974; interment in Chapel of Memories Cemetery, Oakland, Calif.

California State Archives
Sacramento, CA
Papers: Many Knowland papers in various segments of the Earl Warren papers, 1924-1953, including personal papers (1927-1953), congressional files (1943-1953), Republican party files (1934-1938), and presidential campaign files (1936).
Oral History: Discussed in interviews with LeRoy Lyon (1988), 201 pages; Richard J. Dolwig (1987), 89 pages; Herbert M. Baus (1989, 1990), 323 pages; Gardiner Johnson (1973, 1983), 249 pages; and Gladwin Hill (1987), 178 pages.

Columbia University
Oral History Project
New York, NY
Oral History: 1970. 170 leaves; 3 reels. Reminiscences including 1952 convention, California delegation, Nixon fund, Eisenhower's relations with Congress, domestic legislation, foreign policy, 1956 convention, 1960 campaign, career in Senate, 1958 gubernatorial campaign, California politics, role of Senate majority leader, president as party leader, Senator Joseph McCarthy, and Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. Also discussed in interviews with Earl Behrens, Barry Goldwater, and Goodwin Knight.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
Abilene, KS
Oral History: 1967. 170 leaves. Furnished by Columbia University.

Herbert Hoover Library
West Branch, IA
Oral History: 32 pages. One interview.

Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
Stanford, CA
Papers: 1956. 1 box. Press releases, reports, and campaign literature relating to the Republican congressional campaign of 1956. Finding aid.
Additional Papers: In J. Arthur Younger papers, 1951-1968; and Francis V. Keesling papers, 1906-1957.
Oral History: 1967. 32 pages.

State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Archives Division
Madison, WI
Papers: In Alexander Wiley papers, 1913-1967.

University of California, Berkeley
The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, CA
Papers: Ca. 1935-1974. Ca. 500 cartons. Correspondence, speeches, reports, scrapbooks, clippings, tapes, film, photographs and memorabilia. Partially restricted. Additional letters in several other collections.
Oral History: 1969, 1973, 1977. 341 pages. 3 interviews on "California Republican Politics in the 1930s,'' forming part of the Earl Warren project. Also discussed in interview with Christopher George (1980), 180 pages; and 3 oral histories (1979) by Emelyn Knowland Jewett, Estelle Knowland Johnson, and Paul Manolis entitled, "Remembering William F. Knowland''. Index.

University of Michigan
Bentley Historical Library
Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: Correspondence in Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg papers, 1884-1974; and Blair Moody papers, 1928-1954. Finding aid.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives
New Haven, CT
Papers: In Charles Parsons papers, 1880-1965; and George Howard Edward Smith papers, 1917-1962.

  • Flynn, Matthew J. "Reconsidering the China Lobby: Senator William F. Knowland and U.S.-China Policy, 1945-1958." Ph.d. dissertation, Ohio University, 2004.
  • Montgomery, Gayle B., and James W. Johnson. One Step from the White House: The Rise and Fall of William F. Knowland. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1998.
  • Schuparra, Kurt. Triumph of the Right: The Rise of the California Conservative Movement, 1945-1966. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1998.