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Charles Curtis: A Featured Biography

Photo of Vice President Charles Curtis
Vice President Charles Curtis

Kansas Senator Charles Curtis was first elected to the Senate in 1907 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Senator Joseph R. Burton. One of the only three United States Senators of Native American descent, Curtis often expressed pride in his Kaw ancestry. He was the great-great grandson of White Plume, a Kansa-Kaw chief who had offered assistance to the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804. Known for his pragmatism, Curtis rarely made profound or stirring speeches, but was admired for his ability to greet constituents by name and his staunch support for the high tariff. Following an unsuccessful bid for reelection 1912, Curtis ran successfully for the other Kansas seat in 1914, becoming the state's first popularly elected senator following ratification of the 17th Amendment. A Republican party devotee, he often quipped that he was "one-eighth Kaw Indian and 100% Republican." In 1925, Curtis became the Senate's first Majority Leader.  Four years later, he was elected as the 31st vice president of the United States.


Connecticut Compromise Mural

The Connecticut Compromise

In 2006, the U.S. Senate Commission on Art unveiled a mural depicting the authors of the Connecticut Compromise–Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth. The mural, painted by Bradley Stevens, is affixed to the wall of the Senate Reception Room.

Pro Tem

Pro Tem: Presidents Pro Tempore of the united States Senate Since 1789

The Senate president pro tempore is one of our national legisla- ture's three constitutionally mandated officers, along with the vice president and Speaker of the House. The president pro tempore is authorized to preside over the Senate, sign legislation, and issue the oath of office to new senators. Pro Tem: Presidents Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Since 1789 traces the development of the office in four brief essays and features biographical profiles and photographic images of its 87 occupants. Pro Tem offers stories that demonstrate how much the Senate has changed throughout its long history, while striving to maintain the ideals of its 18th-century creators.


Lame Duck Sessions

Senators who became President

Party Division in the Senate

Senate Presents Portrait of Senator Thomas A. Daschle



Senate Historical Office
Facts & Milestones
Historical Statistics
Senate Archives
Photographic Collection
Senate Timeline


Office of the Senate Curator
Senate Catalogue of Fine Art
Senate Catalogue of Graphic Art
Image Reproduction Requests

Virtual Reference Desk

Featured Biographies

History of Senate Desks
            Desk Assignments

Brumidi, Artist of the Capitol

Classic Senate Speeches

Photo Exhibits

Famous Five, Now Nine

Leader's Lecture Series

McCarthy Hearings Released

A list of Senators for whom we have no photo or other image in our collection. If you have an image, or information that may lead us to an image, please contact us.