JOHNSTON, Olin DeWitt Talmadge (1896-1965)

JOHNSTON, OLIN DEWITT TALMADGE, (father of Elizabeth J. Patterson), a Senator from South Carolina; born near Honea Path, Anderson County, S.C., November 18, 1896; attended the public schools; graduated from Textile Industrial Institute, Spartanburg, S.C., in 1915; attended Wofford College, Spartanburg, S.C., until 1917 when he enlisted in the United States Army, serving eighteen months overseas, and becoming a sergeant; reentered Wofford College and graduated in 1921; received a graduate degree from the University of South Carolina at Columbia in 1923 and graduated from that university's law department in 1924; admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Spartanburg, S.C.; member, State house of representatives 1923-1924, 1927-1930; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for gubernatorial nomination in 1930; Governor of South Carolina 1935-1939, and from 1943 until his resignation on January 3, 1945; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in 1938 and 1941; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1944, 1950, 1956, and again in 1962, and served from January 3, 1945, until his death in Columbia, S.C., April 18, 1965; chairman, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service (Eighty-first and Eighty-second Congresses, and Eighty-fourth through Eighty-ninth Congresses), co-chairman, Joint Committee on Postal Service (Eighty-second Congress); interment in Barkers Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Honea Path, S.C.

Clemson University
Special Collections
Clemson, SC
Papers: Correspondence in Paul Quattlebaum papers, 1860-1964 (bulk 1936-1963); and Floyd Drayton Johnson papers, 1939-1984 (bulk 1960-1984).

Emory University
Robert W. Woodruff Library
Atlanta, GA
Papers: Correspondence in Robert Jesse Travis papers, 1818-1966.

Harvard University
Law School Library
Cambridge, MA
Papers: In Joseph Berry Keenan papers, 1942-1947.

South Carolina Department of Archives and History
Columbia, SC
Papers: 1935-1939, 1943-1945. 66 feet. Gubernatorial papers and photograph.

South Carolina Historical Society
Charleston, SC
Papers: Correspondence in Thomas R. Waring papers, ca. 1950-ca. 1971.

Syracuse University
George Arents Research Library
Syracuse, NY
Papers: Correspondence in Charles F. Johnson papers, 1899-1959.

University of South Carolina
South Carolina Political Collections
Columbia, SC
Papers: 1914-1965. 182 linear feet. Chiefly Senate papers arranged in following series: legislative files, news clippings, speeches, reference files, campaign files, press releases, voting records, recommendations, media files, office files, case files, audiovisual materials, 8 volumes of scrapbooks (1935, 1936-1937 (2), 1937, 1938, 1946-1947, 1950, and 1965), and miscellaneous files that include 1 foot of correspondence from Wilton Hall's Senate service, (November-December 1944). Legislative files reflect committee service on Agriculture and Forestry, District of Columbia, Judiciary, and Post Office and Civil Service committees. Campaign files contain correspondence and other materials related to party activity and campaigns. Film (1956-1964) presents Johnston speaking on issues of the day. Some gubernatorial records are included. Finding aid available online. Access to case files is restricted. Related Collections: Gubernatorial Records (S.C. Department of Archives & History) Patterson, Elizabeth J. (daughter)
Additional Papers: Correspondence in Daniel Rogers McLeod papers, 1957-1983; significant materials relating to Johnston in William Jennings Bryan Dorn papers, 1912-1988; and materials pertaining to his strong challenge to Johnston (1962) in William D. Workman, Jr. papers, 1915-1985.
Oral History. Related Oral History: Oral History Transcript, Liz Patterson (pdf, 28 pages) Johnston's daughter Elizabeth J. Patterson discusses her early life as a Senator's daughter and especially aspects of her father's career and personality. Oral History Transcript, Sallie Scott (pdf, 45 pages) Mrs. Sallie Scott, the elder daughter of Olin D. and Gladys Atkinson Johnston, recounts her recollections of life in the Governor’s Mansion and in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., her father’s political campaigns, and her mother’s active role in Johnston’s campaigns and career in government. Oral History Transcript, Thomas Chadwick (pdf, 53 pages) Thomas W. Chadwick (1923-2011) served U.S. Senator Olin D. Johnston as Press Secretary, Legislative Assistant, and Campaign Manager between 1955 and the Senator’s death in 1965. In this interview, he reflects upon his education at the U.S.C. School of Journalism, his years as a reporter for The State, work as a Senate staffer, and roles in the presidential campaigns of Adlai Stevenson, 1952 and 1956, John F. Kennedy, 1960, Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1964, and Hubert Humphrey, 1968. Also in this interview, Chadwick describes the leadership which Johnston provided in the office, his concern for the common man and liberal economic stance, and the campaigns in which Chadwick figured. He also discusses the roles played in the office by other key staff members such as Robert L. Alexander, Hyram W. “Bill” Brawley, Andrew M. Faucette (1895-1961), and Baxter Funderburke, as well as Johnston’s brother William C. Johnston and the Senator’s wife, Gladys, and talks of close associates Senator Frank Carlson (R-KS), J.C. Long, Robert Hemphill, and others.


Winthrop College Library
Rock Hill, SC
Papers: Correspondence in Jessie Laurence papers, 1894-1967; and Henry Radcliffe Sims papers, 1917-1972. Finding aid.

  • Carpenter, JoAnn Deakin. "Olin D. Johnston, the New Deal and the Politics of Class in South Carolina, 1934-1938.'' Ph.D. dissertation, Emory University, 1987.
  • Huss, John Ervin. Senator for the South: A Biography of Olin D. Johnston. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1961.
  • Miller, Anthony Barry. "Palmetto Politician: The Early Political Career of Olin D. Johnston, 1896-1945.'' Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1976.
  • U.S. Congress. Memorial Services Held in the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States. 89th Cong., 1st sess., 1965. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1965.