Browning, Orville Hickman, 1806–81, U.S. Secretary of the Interior (1866–69), b. Harrison co., Ky. One of the organizers of the Republican party in Illinois, Browning helped secure his friend Lincoln's nomination (1860) for President, but later, as U.S. Senator from Illinois (1861–63), he opposed Lincoln on the emancipation question. After Lincoln's death Browning supported Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policy in opposition to the radical Republicans. He joined Johnson's cabinet in Sept., 1866, and was one of the President's closest friends and advisers during the impeachment struggle. His diary, edited by T. C. Pease and J. G. Randall (2 vol., 1927–33), is an important and detailed source for the Lincoln and Johnson administrations.
See biography by M. G. Baxter (1957).