DATES: 1945-1983

SIZE: 995 linear feet


ACQUISITION: The Milton R. Young Papers were deposited in the Orin G. Libby Manuscript Collection by Milton R. Young. The collection was initially closed for research, without the written permission of Milton R. Young. By provision of a contact signed on September 19, 1977, the collection was opened for research on January 3, 1986, the fifth anniversary of Young’s retirement from the United States Senate. Additions to the collection were received on numerous occasions from either Milton Young or his wife: (Acc.#76-397, 76-397, 77-425, 77-434, 78-533, 80-674, 80-683, 80-686, 81-709, 82- 953, 82-975, 83-1055, 83-1219, and 84-1313).

ACCESS: Open for inspection under the rules and regulations of the Department of Special Collections.


CITATION: "Young, Milton Rueben," written by R. Alton Lee, in the American National Biography, Vol. 4: 1999, p. 174.

"Young, Milton Rueben (6 Dec. 1897-31 May 1983), U.S. senator, was born in Berlin, La Moure County, North Dakota, the son of John Young and Rachael Zimmerman, farmers. He attended public schools, North Dakota State Agricultural College, and Graceland College but did not receive a college degree. Young returned home to become a grain farmer. Winning election to the local school board in 1924, he never lost an election afterward. From 1932 to 1945 he was elected first to the North Dakota House and then the state senate as a Republican. In 1944 he played a key role in Fred Aandahl's election to the governorship. Aandahl rewarded him by appointing him to fill the unexpired term of US senator John Moses on 12 March 1945. Young subsequently won election to the Senate for five full terms, in 1968 winning the highest percentage of the vote of any Republican senator who ran opposed that year. In 1974 opponents used his advanced age as an issue. Young responded with a television commercial showing him breaking a one-inch board with a karate chop, and he defeated William Guy by 200 votes. Young did not stand for reelection in 1980.

Young was a political conservative. In the first part of the twentieth century the liberal Nonpartisan League dominated his state's politics. After World War II Young and Aandahl used the Republican Organizing Committee to purge these liberal elements as well as the powerful Farmers Union (FU) of party influence. Yet when the state legislature began attacking the FU cooperatives, Young warned his fellow Republicans they must not become 'purely a businessman's party.' In 1961 he denounced the reactionary John Birch Society. In national and international issues he usually voted with the moderate wing of the Republican party.

Late in his career Young told a reporter that he was more proud of the federal pork he obtained for his state than any other achievement. Using his position on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, he obtained seven major water projects and several federal research laboratories for his state as well as the important air force bases at Minot and Grand Forks. Otherwise, he sponsored no legislation of note and was little known outside his state. His only other attainment in the Senate was longevity. By 1980 he had the longest continual service of any current Republican senator and had the most seniority of the minority party on the Appropriations and Agriculture committees. He also served as secretary of the Senate Republican Conference Committee from 1946 to 1971, the longest Senate leadership tenure in the twentieth century. His senatorial longevity was due to his philosophy concerning his farmer constituents: 'You have to know farmers and stay close to them. They are loyal to a fault.'

Young married Malinda V. Benson in 1919. They had three sons. She died in July 1969, and in December of that year Young married his secretary of twenty-four years, Patricia M. Byrne. He died in Sun City, Arizona."


The Milton R. Young Papers are divided into five sections. Each individual section and addition has its own scope and content note and box and folder inventory. Four additions to the collection have been received. Please follow the links below:

Original Donation:

 Introduction  Subject Classification
 Section I, Box 1-137  Section II, Box 137-282
 Section III, Box 283-418  Section IV, Box 419-605
 Section V, Box 606-796  

Additions to the collection:

 1st Addition: 1977-1979  2nd Addition: 1969-1971
 3rd Addition: 1945-1980  4th Addition: 2004

Return to: Politics

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