VARDAMAN, James Kimble (1861-1930)

VARDAMAN, JAMES KIMBLE, a Senator from Mississippi; born near Edna, Jackson County, Tex., July 26, 1861; moved to Mississippi in 1868 with his parents, who settled in Yalobusha County; attended the public schools; studied law in Carrollton, Miss.; admitted to the bar in 1881 and commenced practice in Winona, Miss.; became editor of the Winona Advance; moved to Greenwood, Miss., where he continued the practice of law and also engaged in the newspaper business; member, State house of representatives 1890-1896, and served as speaker 1894; unsuccessful candidate for governor of Mississippi in 1895 and again in 1899; served in Cuba during the Spanish-American War; presidential elector on the Democratic ticket in 1892 and 1896; publisher of the Greenwood Commonwealth 1896-1903 and the Issue 1908-1912; Governor of Mississippi 1904-1908; unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1907 and 1910; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1912 and served from March 4, 1913, to March 3, 1919; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1918 and for election in 1922; chairman, Committee on the Conservation of Natural Resources (Sixty-third through Sixty-fifth Congresses), Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office Department (Sixty-third Congress), Committee on Manufacturers (Sixty-fifth Congress); retired from active business pursuits in 1922 and moved to Birmingham, Ala., where he died June 25, 1930; interment in Lakewood Memorial Park, Jackson, Miss.

Alabama Department of Archives and History
Montgomery, AL
Papers: In Oscar Wilder Underwood papers, 1876-1962.

Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Jackson, MS
Papers: 1898, 1913-1936. 10 boxes, 24 volumes. Correspondence, petitions, bills, scrapbooks, speeches, photographs and portrait.

Mississippi State University
Mitchell Memorial Library
Mississippi State, MS
Papers: 9 letters and photograph in Hobbs family papers, 1902-1919.

University of Mississippi
Archives and Special Collections
University, MS
Papers: 1862-1943 (bulk 1898-1932); 9 linear feet. Correspondence, newspapers, and notes on Vardaman in the John Sharp Williams Collection donated by George Coleman Osborne, biographer of Vardaman and Williams. Finding aid available online at

  • Coody, Archibald Stinson. Biographical Sketches of James K. Vardaman. Jackson: A.S. Coody, 1922.
  • Fortenberry, Joseph E. "James Kimble Vardaman and American Foreign Policy, 1913-1919.'' Journal of Mississippi History 35 (May 1973): 127-40.
  • Halsell, Willie D., ed. "J.K. Vardaman's Christmas-Tide, 1909.'' Journal of Mississippi History 34 (February 1972): 49-55.
  • Holmes, William F. "James K. Vardaman: From Bourbon to Agrarian Reformer.'' Journal of Mississippi History 31 (May 1969): 97-115.
  • ___. The White Chief: James Kimble Vardaman. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1970.
  • Huddleston, Wiley. "The Senatorial Campaign and Career of James Kimble Vardaman.'' Ph.D. dissertation, Louisiana State University, 1935.
  • Ladner, Heber Austin. "James Kimble Vardaman in Mississippi Politics.'' Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1938.
  • Lopez, Claira S. "James K. Vardaman and the Negro: The Foundation of Mississippi's Racial Policy.'' Southern Quarterly 3 (January 1965): 155-80.
  • McLemore, Nannie Pitts. "James K. Vardaman, a Mississippi Progressive.'' Journal of Mississippi History 29 (February 1967): 1-11.
  • Osborn, George Coleman. James Kimble Vardaman, Southern Commoner. Jackson: Hederman Brothers, 1981.
  • Percy, William Alexander. Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter's Son. 1941. Reprint. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1973.
  • Prince, Vinton M., Jr. "Will Women Turn the Tide? Mississippi Women and the 1922 United States Senate Race.'' Journal of Mississippi History 42 (August 1980): 212-20.
  • Robison, Daniel M. "From Tillman to Long: Some Striking Leaders of the Rural South.'' Journal of Southern History 3 (August 1937): 289-310.
  • Strickland, William M. "James Kimble Vardaman: Manipulation Through Myths in Mississippi.'' In The Oratory of Southern Demagogues, edited by Cal M. Logue and Howard Dorgan, pp. 67-82. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981.
  • Thomas, Phyllis H. "The Role of Mississippi in the Presidential Election of 1916.'' Southern Quarterly 4 (January 1966): 207-26.