I’ll admit that today’s Twittered fact-a-day wasn’t my most interesting–but it led me to some great pictures! Rep. McMillan shows up in several Library of Congress photos.
For background, here’s the Facebook version of today’s fact on our Today in Capitol History page:
Today in 1939 Rep. Thomas McMillan (SC) died in office. A successful baseball player and lawyer before entering politics, when he arrived in Congress he was immediately drafted as the Democrats’ team captain for the 1926 Congressional Baseball Game. Before his sudden death in 1939, McMillan had advocated US neutrality as WWII began in earnest. His wife Clara ran for and won his seat, and she eventually supported the first US peacetime draft (see our Sept. 16 post). She did not run for a second term.
And now, pictures!
In this 1926 photo, Rep. McMillan does the Charleston with flappers Sylvia Clavins and Ruth Bennett with the Capitol as a backdrop. If you spend much time in the Prints and Photographs section of the Library of Congress website, you'll see a fair number of these shots outside the Capitol--members of Congress doing silly things with attractive women. Write your own commentary!
Rep. McMillan opts for solid ground while Bennett and Clavins dance on the railing. I covet the dress the woman on the right is wearing! I prefer the first shot though--this is clearly more posed. Also, the Library spells Clavins' name differently each time it appears.
A 1920s Democratic side poses for a group portrait during practice a week before the Congressional baseball game. The Library of Congress lists the members pictured as Reps. Jeremiah Edward O'Connell of Rhode Island, Fritz Garland Lanham of Texas, Frederick Moore Vinson of Kentucky, Thomas Sanders McMillan of South Carolina (team manager), Thomas Webber Wilson of Mississippi, John Marvin Jones of Texas, Gordon Weaver Browning of Tennessee, Arthur Herbert Greenwood of Indiana, James Michael Mead of New York, Thomas Jefferson Busby of Mississippi, Heartsill Ragon of Arkansas, and Millard Evelyn Tydings of Maryland.
And finally, Thomas McMillan's widow, Clara McMillan, looks official during her first day as a member of Congress.
The baseball team portrait is pretty standard (for more on the Congressional Baseball Game’s history, visit this House History page), even for members today, but can you think of a shot like the Charleston ones that includes a current member? Today’s version might be eating state fair food, which can be less than dignified. Those shots of McMillan seem to exude a real sense of fun and good humor, though, and not one precisely calculated to win the hearts and minds of primary or swing-state voters.