Luke LEA, Congress, TN (1879-1945)

Senate Years of Service:

LEA, Luke, (great-grandson of Luke Lea [1783-1851]), a Senator from Tennessee; born in Nashville, Tenn., April 12, 1879; attended the public schools; graduated from the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., in 1899 and from the law department of Columbia University, New York City, in 1903; admitted to the bar in 1903 and commenced practice at Nashville; founder, editor and publisher of the Nashville Tennessean; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1911 and served from March 4, 1911, to March 3, 1917; unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1916; chairman, Committee on the Library (Sixty-third Congress), Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses (Sixty-fourth Congress); during the First World War, fought in Europe with an artillery unit and rose to the rank of colonel; returned to Nashville and resumed newspaper interests; appointed to the United States Senate in 1929 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Lawrence D. Tyson, but declined the appointment; entered into the banking and real estate businesses; died in Nashville, Tenn., on November 18, 1945; interment in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, Tenn.


Dictionary of American Biography; Schlup, Leonard. “Pugnacious Progressive: Senator Luke Lea As a Political Leader From Tennessee in the Wilson Era.” International Review of History and Political Science 21 (November 1984): 52-66; Tidwell, Mary Louise Lea. Luke Lea of Tennessee. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1993.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present