Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
VARNUM, Joseph Bradley (c 1750-1821)
Senate Years of Service: 1811-1817

VARNUM, JOSEPH BRADLEY, (brother of James Mitchell Varnum), a Representative and a Senator from Massachusetts; born in Dracut, Middlesex County, Mass., January 29, 1750 or 1751; largely self-taught; farmer; served in the Revolutionary Army; member, State house of representatives 1780-1785; member, State senate 1786-1795; delegate to the State convention that ratified the Federal Constitution in 1788; justice of the court of common pleas; chief justice of the court of general sessions; elected to the Fourth and to the eight succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1795, to June 29, 1811, when he resigned, having been elected Senator; Speaker of the House during the Tenth and Eleventh Congresses; chairman, Committee on Elections (Fifth Congress); elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate in 1811 to fill the vacancy in the term commencing March 4, 1811, and served from June 29, 1811, to March 3, 1817; served as President pro tempore of the Senate during the Thirteenth Congress; chairman, Committee on Militia (Fourteenth Congress); delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1820; member, State senate 1817-1821; died in Dracut, Mass., September 21, 1821; interment in Varnum Cemetery.

Boston Public Library
Boston, MA
Papers: 1 item.

Detroit Public Library
Detroit, MI
Papers: 1 box in Varnum family papers, 1788-1935.

Dracut Historical Society
Dracut, MA
Papers: In collection of newspaper clippings and documents concerning Varnum family.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: Letters scattered in various collections.

Massachusetts Historical Society
Boston, MA
Papers: 35 letters (ca. 1787-1822) in Varnum family papers and other collections.

University of Michigan
William L. Clements Library
Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: 1811-1860. 71 items.

  • Kaplan, Lawrence S., ed. "A New Englander Defends the War of 1812: Senator Varnum to Judge Thacher.'' Mid-America 46 (October 1964): 269-80.
  • Smith, William Henry, ed., Speakers of the House of Representatives of the United States with Personal Sketches of of the Several Speakers. Baltimore: Simon J. Gaeng, 1928, pp. 47-52.
  • Varnum, James M., ed. "Autobiography of General Joseph B. Varnum.'' Magazine of American History 20 (November 1888): 405-14.
  • Varnum, John Marshall. A Sketch of the Life and Public Services of Joseph Bradley Varnum of Massachusetts. Boston: D. Clapp & Sons, 1906.