William Cabell Bruce

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William Cabell Bruce
William Cabell Bruce, photo portrait head and shoulders.jpg
United States Senator
from Maryland
In office
March 4, 1923 – March 4, 1929
Preceded by Joseph I. France
Succeeded by Phillips L. Goldsborough
Personal details
Born (1860-03-12)March 12, 1860
Charlotte County, Virginia
Died May 9, 1946(1946-05-09) (aged 86)
Ruxton, Maryland
Political party Democratic

William Cabell Bruce (March 12, 1860 – May 9, 1946) was an American politician and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who represented the State of Maryland in the United States Senate from 1923 to 1929.

Bruce was born in Charlotte County, Virginia, and received an academic education at Norwood High School and College in Nelson County, Virginia. He later attended the University of Virginia where he bested a young law student named Woodrow Wilson in both a highly contested formal debate and an essay competition.[1] In 1882, he graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law. Bruce was admitted to the Maryland bar the same year and commenced law practice in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to his career in law, Bruce was also writer, and received the distinguished Pulitzer Prize in 1918 for his book Benjamin Franklin, Self-Revealed.

Bruce began his political career in the Maryland Senate, serving from 1894 to 1896, and was appointed as president of the Senate in 1896. He served as head of the city law department of Baltimore from 1903 to 1908; as a member of the Baltimore Charter Commission in 1910; and as general counsel to the Maryland Public Service Commission from 1910 to 1922, at which time he resigned.

Bruce was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for United States Senator in 1916, but achieved election six years later in the election of 1922. Bruce was defeated in the next election in 1928 by Republican Phillips Lee Goldsborough, and resumed the practice of law in Baltimore until 1937, when he retired. He died in Ruxton, Maryland, and is buried at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church Cemetery in Garrison, Maryland.

Select works

  • Benjamin Franklin, Self-Revealed: A Biographical Sketch and Critical Study Based Mainly on His Own Writings; New York, London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1917. (Available online: Vol. I, Vol. II.)
  • Below the James: A Plantation Sketch; New York: The Neale Publishing Company, 1918. (Available online.)
  • John Randolph of Roanoke, 1773–1833; A Biography Based Largely on New Material, in 2 volumes; New York, London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1922. (Available online: Vol. I, Vol. II.)
  • Imaginary Conversations with Franklin, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1933.
  • Recollections: and, The Inn of Existence, 1936.
  • The Negro problem on Internet Archive


  1. Berg, A. Scott (2013). Wilson. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-0-399-15921-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John Walter Smith
President of the Maryland State Senate
Succeeded by
John Wirt Randall
United States Senate
Preceded by
Joseph Irwin France
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Maryland
Served alongside: Ovington Weller, Millard Tydings
Succeeded by
Phillips Lee Goldsborough