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William Morris Stewart: A Featured Biography

Senator William Morris Stewart.
Senator William Morris Stewart. Library of Congress

Known as the "silver senator," William Stewart represented the people of Nevada for more than 20 years in the Senate. The Gold Rush brought Stewart west where he amassed a fortune as a mining litigator. He settled in Nevada and entered politics. Stewart was an instrumental figure in the state's 1863 constitutional convention and he became Nevada's first senator in 1865. As a senator, he drafted the final version of the 15th Amendment, and, famously, employed Mark Twain as a personal secretary. In 1875, Stewart retired to private practice in Nevada, only to return to the Senate in 1887. He ran as a Silver Party candidate in 1892 and 1898 because he opposed the Republican Party's position on demonetizing silver, though he ultimately rejoined the Republican caucus in 1899. As chairman of the Committee on Pacific Railroads and the Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Stewart advocated western interests such as regional economic development, safer mining practices and land irrigation rights.


Explore Senate Art

Nelson Aldrich by Paul Peter Kiehart

Explore the Senate's collection of Paintings, Sculpture, Graphic, and Decorative Art.

The Senator and His Secretary

Mark Twain

In 1867, Senator William Stewart hired the brother of a Nevada official as his personal secretary. The new staffer, a down-on-his-luck character known as Mark Twain, needed a salary and a place to finish writing his first book. As he struggled to finish Innocents Abroad, he also answered constituent correspondence.


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American Indian Heritage Month

Lame Duck Sessions (pdf)

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Decorative Arts Collection

A History of Major Senate Investigations: Subcommittee on Senate Resolutions 84 & 234 (The Pecora Committee)


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Missing Images

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.