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Muriel Humphrey Brown


Muriel Humphrey Brown

Muriel Fay Buck Humphrey Brown
United States Senator
from Minnesota
In office
January 25, 1978 – November 7, 1978
Appointed by Rudy Perpich
Preceded by Hubert Humphrey
Succeeded by David Durenberger
Second Lady of the United States
In office
January 20, 1965 – January 20, 1969
Preceded by Lady Bird Johnson
Succeeded by Judy Agnew
Personal details
Born (1912-02-20)February 20, 1912
Huron, South Dakota
Died September 20, 1998(1998-09-20) (aged 86)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Hubert Humphrey (1936–1978) (until his death)
Max Brown (1981–1998) (until her death)
Children Hubert III, Nancy, Robert, and Douglas
Alma mater Huron College (defunct)

Muriel Fay Buck Humphrey Brown (February 20, 1912 – September 20, 1998) was the wife of the 38th Vice President of the United States, Hubert Humphrey. Following her husband's death, she was appointed to his seat in the United States Senate, thus becoming the first spouse of a Vice President to hold public office. She later remarried and took the name Muriel Humphrey Brown.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Political life 2
  • Second marriage 3
  • Death 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

Humphrey was born Muriel Fay Buck in Huron, South Dakota, daughter of Andrew E. Buck and his wife, the former Jessie Mae Pierce. She attended Huron College and met Humphrey in 1934, when she was working as a bookkeeper. They married on September 3, 1936, saying, "It was love at first waltz".[1] They had four children: Hubert III, Nancy, Robert, and Douglas.

Political life

Humphrey was appointed as a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party by Rudy Perpich, the governor of Minnesota, to the Senate vacancy caused by the death of her husband, and served from January 25, 1978 to November 7, 1978 in the 95th Congress. She was the first spouse of a former Vice President to serve in Congress as well as the first woman to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate. She was not a candidate for the special election for the remaining term. "It was the most challenging thing I've done in my whole life," she said. Twenty-eight years later, Amy Klobuchar, a fellow DFLer, would become the first woman to be elected to the United States Senate from Minnesota.

Brown's shyness made taking a high profile political role difficult.[2]

Looking back at her political life, Humphrey reflected "There's something I've been wanting to say for a long time. I'm a liberal and I'm proud of it. In fact, I was probably a little more liberal than Hubert was. I just wanted to say that." While in office, and after, she pressed for the right for women to choose to have an abortion and worked towards legislation for the rights of the mentally disabled.[3]

Second marriage

In 1981, Humphrey married Max Brown, a friend from childhood.[4] "I don't live a life of politics any more," she said after her second marriage. "Max and I have so much fun. We have a wonderful companionship that Hubert and I didn't have, couldn't have. We were so busy and it was so official almost all the time."[5] Max Brown died in 2004 at the age of 93.[6]


When Muriel Humphrey Brown died, she was survived by her husband of 17 years, Max Brown, and her children, who were at her side when she died at the age of 86. She is interred in Lakewood Cemetery[7] in Minneapolis, Minnesota, next to her first husband, Hubert H. Humphrey.


  1. ^ "Hopefuls' Helpmates", Time, 24 November 1958
  2. ^ Molotsky, Irvin (21 September 1998). "Muriel Humphrey Brown, Senator, Dies at 86". New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  3. ^ New York Times obituary here
  4. ^ Mills, Barbara Kleban, "A Childhood Friendship Turns to Love, and Muriel Humphrey Plans to Be Married", People Magazine, February 16, 1981 (Vol. 15 No. 6)[2]
  5. ^ Olson, Rochelle, "Muriel Humphrey Brown, senator, widow of HHH, dead at 86", Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 21 September 1998
  6. ^
  7. ^ Find a Grave here

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Lady Bird Johnson
Second Lady of the United States
Succeeded by
Judy Agnew
United States Senate
Preceded by
Hubert Humphrey
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
January 25, 1978 – November 7, 1978
Served alongside: Wendell Anderson
Succeeded by
David Durenberger
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