...Douglas

Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

 

 

Index of first names

William Orville Douglas  

 

 


When Justice Douglas, a native of the central Washington city of Yakima, retired from the United States Supreme Court in 1975, he had served the court for 37 years, longer than any other Justice in history. Over half of the cases ever considered by the Supreme Court were heard while Justice Douglas held his seat.

In a 1969 newspaperIn a 1969 newspaper interview, Justice Douglas was asked to name the single greatest problem facing the nation. He replied, "The disappearance of the university in the scholastic sense of the word." It is fitting that a college which promotes scholastic excellence should bear Douglas' name. Chief Justice Earl Warren said that Douglas possessed "the nearest thing to genius I've ever seen." This genius was coupled with curiosity and varied interests, many of which are reflected in his legal decisions. The Douglas Honors College encourages intellectual breadth, academic curiosity, and the fusion of scholarship and everyday life that Justice Douglas personified.

 

The Life of William O. Douglas

1898 William Orville Douglas is born to the Reverend William and Julia Douglas in Maine, Minnesota, on October 16.
1901 Three year old "Orville" is stricken with polio. Family moves to Estrella, California.
1903
Family moves to Cleveland, Washington.
1904
Reverend Douglas dies. Family moves to Yakima.
1916
Graduates from Yakima High School as class valedictorian and is awarded a partial scholarship from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.
1920
Graduates Phi Beta Kappa from Whitman. Begins teaching English and Latin at Yakima High School.
1922
Enters Columbia Law School in New York City.
1923
Marries Mildred Riddle, a co-worker at Yakima High School.
1925
Graduates second in his class from Columbia. Begins professional career at Wall Street law firm of Cravath, deGersdorff, Swaine, and Wood. Teaches at Columbia on the side.
1926
Briefly returns to Yakima to practice law.
1927
Returns to New York to begin teaching full-time at Columbia Law School.
1928
Accepts a teaching position at Yale University.
1934
Accepts a position with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
1936
Appointed commissioner of the SEC.
1937
Appointed chairman of the SEC, replacing Joseph Kennedy.
1939
Appointed to United States Supreme Court by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fill the position vacated by Justice Louis D. Brandeis.
1940
Considered by F.D.R. as vice-presidential nominee.
1941
Julia Douglas, his mother, dies.
1944
Again considered for vice-presidential nomination by F.D.R.
1948
Declines invitation of President Harry S. Truman to run for vice-president.
1949
Horseback-riding accident results in twenty three broken ribs and nearly ends Douglas' life.
1952
Considered for Democratic presidential nomination but refuses to run.
1953
Divorces Mildred.
1954
Marries Mercedes Hester Davidson.
Organizes 189-mile hike along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath to protest a proposed highway along the route; the hike is successful and highway plans are abandoned.
1958
Organizes hike along a secluded and pristine section of beach in Olympic National Park to protest a proposed roadway into the area; the hike is successful and plans are abandoned. Arthur Douglas, his brother, dies.
1963
Divorces Mercedes. Marries Joan Martin.
1966
Divorces Joan. Marries Cathleen Heffernan.
1970
An attempt to impeach Justice William O. Douglas is organized by Representative Gerald Ford.
1974
Suffers a stroke on December 31.
1975
Retires from the Supreme Court on November 12, after more than thirty-six years of service.
1980
Dies at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on January 19.

 

 

Sources

 

Sources for this article include:

• 

Any contributions will be gratefully accepted





Back to top

The content of this website is a collection of materials gathered from a variety of sources, some of it unedited.

The webmaster does not intend to claim authorship, but gives credit to the originators for their work.

As work progresses, some of the content may be re-written and presented in a unique format, to which we would then be able to claim ownership.

Discussion and contributions from those more knowledgeable is welcome.

Contact Us

Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017