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Frederick Van Nuys

Frederick Van Nuys
United States Senator
from Indiana
In office
March 4, 1933 – January 25, 1944
Preceded by James Eli Watson
Succeeded by Samuel D. Jackson
Personal details
Born (1874-04-16)April 16, 1874
Falmouth, Indiana, United States
Died January 25, 1944(1944-01-25) (aged 69)
Vienna, Virginia, United States
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Earlham College
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Frederick Van Nuys (April 16, 1874 – January 25, 1944) was a United States Senator from Indiana. Born in Falmouth, he attended the public schools and graduated from Earlham College (Richmond, Indiana) in 1898 and from the predecessor of the now Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1900. He was admitted to the bar in 1900 and commenced practice in Shelbyville moving shortly afterward to Anderson. From 1906 to 1910 he was prosecuting attorney of Madison County and was a member of the Indiana Senate from 1913 to 1916, serving as president pro tempore in 1915. He moved to Indianapolis in 1916 and continued the practice of law; he was United States attorney for the district of Indiana from 1920 to 1922.

Frederick Van Nuys was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 1932, soundly defeating longtime incumbent James Eli Watson. He was narrowly reelected in 1938, serving from March 4, 1933, until his death on a farm near Vienna, Virginia in 1944. While in the Senate he was chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments (76th Congress) and a member of the Committee on the Judiciary (77th and 78th Congresses).

In 1943 a confidential analysis by Isaiah Berlin of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the British Foreign Office stated of Van Nuys:

his voting record is a very mixed one; in 1939 he was one of the members of the committee which voted to postpone consideration of the Gillette, he is one of the Senators whom the 1938 purge failed to eliminate, and his feeling towards the President is, therefore, somewhat cool. He voted for Lend-Lease in common with most Democrats, against reciprocal trade agreements, and occasionally votes with the Farm Bloc. A man of very uncertain views tinged with isolationism and liable, on the whole, to vote with the Conservatives.[1]

Van Nuys was buried in East Maplewood Cemetery, Anderson, Indiana.

Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest it was van-NIECE. (Charles Earle Funk, What's the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.)

See also


  1. ^ Hachey, Thomas E. (Winter 1973–1974). "American Profiles on Capitol Hill: A Confidential Study for the British Foreign Office in 1943". Wisconsin Magazine of History 57 (2): 146.  
United States Senate
Preceded by
James Eli Watson
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Indiana
Served alongside: Arthur Raymond Robinson,
Sherman Minton, Raymond E. Willis
Succeeded by
Samuel D. Jackson
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry F. Ashurst
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Succeeded by
Pat McCarran
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