Wallace H. White, Jr.

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The Honorable
Wallace Humphrey White, Jr.
United States Senator
from Maine
In office
March 4, 1931 – January 3, 1949
Preceded by Arthur R. Gould
Succeeded by Margaret C. Smith
Senate Majority Leader
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1949
Preceded by Alben W. Barkley
Succeeded by Scott Wike Lucas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1917 – March 3, 1931
Preceded by Daniel J. McGillicuddy
Succeeded by Donald B. Partridge
Personal details
Born (1877-08-06)August 6, 1877
Lewiston, Maine
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Auburn, Maine
Political party Republican
Alma mater Bowdoin College
Religion Congregationalist[1]

Wallace Humphrey White, Jr. (August 6, 1877 – March 31, 1952) was a prominent American politician and Republican leader in United States Congress from 1916 until 1949. White was from the U.S. state of Maine and served in the U.S. House of Representatives before being elected to the U.S. Senate, where he was Senate Minority Leader and later Majority Leader before his retirement.


White was born in Lewiston, Maine. His grandfather, William P. Frye, was also a prominent political figure, having served as a Senator from Maine and President pro tempore. In 1899, White graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick. After graduating, he became the assistant clerk to the Senate Committee on Commerce and later secretary to his grandfather. White studied law and was admitted to the bar, afterward beginning to practice in Lewiston.


The political career of White began when he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916. He took office on March 4 of the following year and served until March 3, 1931 (65th71st Congresses).[2] He left the House in 1931 after being elected to the Senate in late 1930.

In Congress, White served as chairman of the House Committee on Expenditures in the Department of Justice (66th Congress), the House Committee on Woman Suffrage (67th through 69th Congresses), the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries (70th and 71st Congresses), and the Senate Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce (80th Congress). He also served as a presidential appointee on a variety of commissions.

White was reelected in 1936 and 1942 and served from March 4, 1931, to January 3, 1949. He was elected minority leader by his colleagues (1944–1947), and became majority leader when his party held a majority in the 80th Congress (1947–1949). According to John Gunther's 1947 book Inside U.S.A., as the titular party floor leader, "his chief function is to hold the balance between two much more dominant and vivid men, Taft and Vandenberg...Everybody likes White; few people pay much attention to him."

White was one of a handful of senators who voted against the elevation of Hugo Black to the Supreme Court in 1937 based on his alleged Klan membership.[3]

He was not a candidate for renomination in 1948. White died in Auburn and is interred at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery.


White was by all accounts a soft-spoken and gentlemanly figure, but his family were colorful and dramatic, and in the news nearly as much as himself. His wife, Nina Lunn, was a divorcee who brought him a son and daughter from a previous marriage. The daughter, also Nina Lunn, became a Washington (and later Hollywood) society figure, especially after writing a book entitled Physical Attraction and Your Hormones (Doubleday, 1950), and working on another, apparently unfinished, entitled Venus was an Amateur. She divorced her first husband, a Pittsburgh broker, in 1942 for having squandered her assets.[4]

White's step-granddaughter, also named Nina Lunn, became an even more famous Washington socialite, divorcing (at the age of 24) her first husband during an affair with the Argentine Ambassador, and marrying (and divorcing) twice more. She also had small parts in stage plays and later movies (including The Senator was Indiscreet) but was most famous as a hostess and party-goer.[5] Nina (3) also named a daughter from her last marriage Nina.

White affectionately referred to the three Nina Lunns as "the Three Furys". They were often together, and their movements were closely followed by gossip columnists. The two younger Ninas called the oldest "Queenie", and White's colleagues called her "Madame Senator".[5]


  1. Marquis Who's Who (Who Was Who in America, Volume III {1951-1960}). Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  2. "Senate Leaders: Wallace H. White- Powerless to his Party". U.S. Senate:Art & History Home >Senate Leaders. Retrieved 2009-09-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Dons Robe of Supreme Court Justice in October", Nashua Telegraph, Aug. 18, 1937, p. 6
  4. Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 21, 1942, p. 27
  5. 5.0 5.1 Milwaukee Journal, Mar. 14, 1947, p. 18
Wallace H. White's wife was Nina Lumbard Lunn. She was a widow of Ralph Lunn and she brought White a son, Richard Lunn and daughter, 
Nina Katherine Lunn from her first marriage.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel J. McGillicuddy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Donald B. Partridge
United States Senate
Preceded by
Arthur R. Gould
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Maine
Served alongside: Frederick Hale, Owen Brewster
Succeeded by
Margaret Chase Smith
Party political offices
Preceded by
Charles L. McNary
Senate Republican Leader
Acting: 1943–1945
Succeeded by
Kenneth S. Wherry