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Last Updated: Sep 13, 2016
||Harlan John Bushfield
||(bulk dates, 1940-1945)
||1 linear ft.
||Printed Materials are located in Box 1.
||Archives and Special Collections, University Libraries, University of South Dakota.
Harlan John Bushfield was born August 6, 1882 to John Andrew and Cora Emogene (Pearson) Bushfield in Atlantic, Iowa. A year later, his family moved to the new town of Miller in Dakota Territory. Bushfield’s father bought an interest in and later owned The Hand County Press. Bushfield worked at the newspaper during his youth. After his high school graduation in 1899, Bushfield attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD. In 1901 he transferred to the University of Minnesota and he completed a law degree in 1904.
Bushfield then returned to Miller to open his own law practice focusing on business law. He was elected States Attorney for Hand County in 1906. Bushfield married Vera Sarah Cahalan on April 15, 1912. The couple had three children, Mary Janeth, John Pearson and Harlan J. Jr.
Bushfield was active in his own community. He served on the school board and the Selective Service Board during World War I. It was not until 1936 that Bushfield became involved in politics, when he became the chairman for the Republican State Committee. Bushfield was influential in rejuvenating the GOP party in the State of South Dakota and he successfully helped Leslie Jensen gain a third term as Governor of South Dakota. In 1938, Jensen announced he was running for the Senate seat left vacant by Peter Norbeck. This action prompted Bushfield to run for Governor. Bushfield defeated his democratic opponent, Oscar Fosheim, by 20,000 votes. In 1940, Bushfield was re-elected for a second term. 1942 found Bushfield running for United States Senate. He defeated Tom Berry with 58 percent of the vote. Bushfield took office in 1943. Bushfield continued to advance his conservative agenda in the United States Senate. Bushfield was a stanch isolationist and was against foreign aid for Europe. Bushfield served on several Senate Committees: Agriculture, The Committee on the District of Columbia, Finance and Indian Affairs. In 1947, Bushfield suffered a stroke and it weakened him. In 1948, Bushfield realized he could not continue to serve in the Senate and announced that he would not run for another term. Bushfield died Sept. 27, 1948. Vera Bushfield served the last three months of her husband’s term.
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