Local History Collections

Collection ID: LH-374
Location: LH-374

(Description ID: 595705)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

George W. Norris


Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content

This collection was donated to the Hayes Presidential Center by Don Heuring in 2011.  Additional information on George W. Norris can be found in the biographical file at the Hayes Presidential Center.

Biographical Sketch
George W. Norris was born 11 July 1861 in York Township, Sandusky County, Ohio to Chauncey and Mary (Mook) Norris.  His early education was gained during the winter months, while during the summer he labored on neighboring farms to aid his family.  Graduating from Northern Indiana Normal School (later named Valparaiso University) in 1880 and from law school at Valparaiso, Norris was admitted to the bar in 1883.

George taught school before moving west in 1885 to the state of Nebraska, where he built a law practice first in Beaver City and later in McCook.  Much of his legal practice involved mortgage loan services for financial and insurance companies.  In 1889 Norris married Pluma Lashley and the couple had three daughters; Hazel, Marian and Gertrude.  After Pluma’s death in 1901, George married Ella Leonard in 1903. They had no children.

Norris became increasingly active politically, and in 1892 won election as county prosecuting attorney and, in 1895, as judge of the fourteenth judicial district.  In 1902 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the fifth district of Nebraska, a position he filled until 1913.

In 1912 George was elected U.S. Senator from Nebraska, and he served in that capacity for thirty years.  Senator Norris was instrumental in bringing about the Anti-Injunction Act, the Tennessee Valley Authority Act and the Rural Electrification Act.  He fought for farmers’ cooperatives and for conservation.  One of his greatest accomplishments occurred when he succeeded in converting the Muscle Shoals facilities into the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to produce public power and implement regional economic planning.  Norris Dam in the TVA was named in his honor.  In 1942 George ran for a sixth term in the Senate, but did very little campaigning and lost the election. 

George W. Norris died on 2 September 1944 in McCook, Nebraska.  He was honored by the United States Post Office Department on 11 July 1961, the centennial of his birth, when his features appeared on a four cent commemorative postage stamp.

American National Biography

Wayne S. Cole

Scope and Content
This collection, spanning from 1960-2003, contains commemorative stamps, first day issue covers and ephemera pertaining to Senator George W. Norris of Nebraska.  Incoming and outgoing correspondence to the donor, Don Heuring, discuss the Norris stamp, as well as his friendship with John and Hazel Robertson, relatives of George Norris.  Two albums containing Senator George W. Norris first day issue covers from various states, and photographs of the dedication ceremony on 11 July 1961 in Washington D.C. completes this collection.

Ac. 5795

Box 1

1: George W. Norris First Day Issue Stamps/Envelopes

2: Correspondence (John & Hazel Robertson to Don Heuring)

3: Incoming Correspondence to Don Heuring

4: Outgoing Correspondence from Don Heuring

5: Commemorative Stamp Ephemera

6: George W. Norris Biographical Information

7: Newspaper Clippings

8: Photographs