Irvine Lenroot

Irvine Lenroot
Associate Judge of the United States Court of Customs Appeals
In office
May 17, 1929  April 30, 1944
Appointed by Herbert Hoover
Preceded by Orion Barber
Succeeded by Ambrose O'Connell
United States Senator
from Wisconsin
In office
April 18, 1918  March 3, 1927
Preceded by Paul Husting
Succeeded by John Blaine
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 11th district
In office
March 4, 1909  April 17, 1918
Preceded by John Jenkins
Succeeded by Adolphus Nelson
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
In office
Personal details
Born (1869-01-31)January 31, 1869
Superior, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died January 26, 1949(1949-01-26) (aged 79)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Clara Clough
Alma mater Parsons Business College

Irvine Luther Lenroot (January 31, 1869  January 26, 1949) was a Republican politician from Wisconsin who served in the House of Representatives from 1909 to 1918 and in the United States Senate from 1918 to 1927.

He was also Warren G. Harding's personal preference for Vice President of the United States in 1920, but the delegates chose instead to nominate Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge.

After leaving the Senate, Lenroot served for 15 years as a judge on the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals.

Early life and career

Lenroot was born in Superior, Wisconsin in 1869. He was educated in the local schools, and worked at a variety of occupations, including logger. From 1887 to 1889 he attended Parsons Business College in Duluth, Minnesota. After graduation, he became a stenographer in a Superior law office, and began to study law. From 1893 to 1896 he was the court reporter for the Superior Court of Douglas County. He attained admission to the bar in 1897, and began practicing in 1898. He served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1901 to 1907, and as Speaker of the Assembly from 1903 to 1907. Lenroot was elected as a Republican to the 61st Congress representing the 11th district. He was subsequently reelected to the four succeeding Congresses. He served from 1909 to 1918, when he resigned after being elected to the U.S. Senate in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Paul O. Husting the previous year.[1][2] He was reelected in 1920, and served from April 18, 1918 to March 3, 1927.

1920 Republican Convention

He attended the 1920 Republican National Convention at the Chicago Coliseum, and after the selection of Harding as the nominee for president, party leaders decided that the progressive Lenroot would be a balance to a ticket with the more conservative Harding. By Saturday night, June 12, many of the delegates had gone home, along with most of the party bosses. After Lenroot's name had been placed in nomination and seconded but before a vote could be taken, an Oregon delegate, Wallace McCamant,[3] nominated Coolidge for vice president.[4] Unfettered by party bosses, the delegates weighed in for Coolidge, who received 674 votes to Lenroot's 146, and won on the first ballot.


Lenroot's 1920 re-election was the most competitive race for a Republican senator in the nation. He won with 41.6% of the votes, helped by competition from the strong independent, Democratic, and Socialist candidates. Independent James Thompson came in second, with 34.7% of the vote.

Lenroot ran again in 1926, losing the Republican primary to John J. Blaine.

During his Senate service, he was chairman of the Committee on Railroads (Sixty-sixth Congress), the Committee on Public Lands and Surveys (Sixty-eighth Congress), and the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds (Sixty-ninth Congress).

Later life

He was appointed a judge of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals by President Herbert Hoover in 1929, where he served until his retirement in 1944.

Lenroot died in Washington on January 26, 1949, five days short of his 80th birthday and was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Superior, Wisconsin. The Associated Press report of his death began, "Former Senator Irvine L. Lenroot of Wisconsin, the man who might have been the 30th President of the United States, died Wednesday night."[5]

Personal life

He married Clara Clough of Superior, Wisconsin, who wrote a short memoir of her girlhood in Wisconsin in the 1860s and 1870s.[6]

His daughter, Katharine Lenroot, was known for successfully lobbying for the Fair Labor Standards Act and the enforcing of child labor laws.[7]


  1. "Wisconsin History". Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  2. Lawrence Kestenbaum. "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Lenagh to Leonad". Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  4. Sol Barzman, Madmen and Geniuses: The Vice-Presidents of the United States, pp198-199 (Follett Publishing, 1974)
  5. "Irvine Lenroot, Ex-Senator, Dies", Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail, January 27, 1949, p. 5.
  6. Clara C. Lenroot. Long, Long Ago. Appleton, Wis.: Badger Printing Co., 1929.
  7. Current Biography 1940
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Jenkins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 11th congressional district

Succeeded by
Adolphus Nelson
Party political offices
Preceded by
Francis McGovern
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Wisconsin
(Class 3)

1918, 1920
Succeeded by
John Blaine
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Paul Husting
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Wisconsin
Served alongside: Robert M. La Follette Sr., Robert M. La Follette Jr.
Succeeded by
John Blaine
Preceded by
Peter Gerry
Chairperson of the Senate Railroads Committee
Position abolished
Legal offices
Preceded by
Orion Barber
Associate Judge of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals
Succeeded by
Ambrose O'Connell
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