Today is the birthday of former governor, US Senator and World War I veteran Frank Barrett.
Frank A. Barrett was born in Omaha, Nebraska on November 10, 1892. He resided in Omaha during the early years of his life, graduating from hometown Creighton University in 1913 and from Creighton’s law school in 1916.
During World War I he served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army’s Balloon Corps. After the war he married his childhood sweetheart, Alice Donoghue, in 1919. They were married by Father Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys’ Town. Shortly thereafter the young couple moved to Lusk, Wyoming where Frank set up shop as an attorney.
Barrett served as Niobrara County Attorney from 1923 to1932. His public service career then shifted to the state legislature, where he served from 1933 to 1935. He lost a 1936 bid for a U.S. Congressional seat, but succeeded in that effort six years later. He served as Wyoming’s Representative until 1950, when he was elected Governor of Wyoming. Historian T.A. Larson noted that while in Congress Barrett “acquired a reputation for folksiness, alertness to the needs of his constituents, and attention to details.”
Barrett only served two years as Governor of Wyoming, winning election to the U.S. Senate in 1952. He was Senator for six years, but failed in re-election efforts in 1958 and 1960. Senator Barrett died on May 30, 1962.
The records of Governor Barrett maintained by the Wyoming State Archives consist of subject files maintained by his staff. Through correspondence, reports and meeting minutes, the files document interaction with state officials and agencies, and cover issues of concern to the state at that time.
Personal papers and political records of Senator Barrett are also held by the State Archives. These are cataloged as collection H97-33. Much of the collection deals with Senator Barrett’s political career and concurrent events. However, the collection also documents the activities and accomplishments of the family from Senator Barrett’s youth to the careers of his children, Frank A. Barrett, a surgeon; James Emmett Barrett, a federal judge; and Marialyce Tobin, an attorney.
These collections document the lives of one of Wyoming’s most influential families, and events and issues which impacted the state during the mid-years of the 20th century.
— Curtis Greubel, Wyoming State Imaging Center Supervisor