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BURLESON, ALBERT SIDNEY

BURLESON, ALBERT SIDNEY (1863–1937). Albert Sidney Burleson, attorney, congressman, and United States postmaster general, was born in San Marcos, Texas, on June 7, 1863, the son of Lucy Emma (Kyle) and Edward Burleson, Jr. He attended Coronal Institute in San Marcos and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University); he received a B.A. degree from Baylor University in 1881 and an LL.B. degree from the University of Texas in 1884. The following year he joined his uncle Thomas Eskridge Sneed and George F. Poindexter in their law practice in Austin. Burleson became interested in politics and rose quickly through the ranks of the local Democratic party. He served as assistant city attorney of Austin from 1885 to 1890, and in 1891 he was appointed attorney of the Twenty-sixth Judicial District. Among the friends he made during this time was Edward M. House, who later kept Burleson's name in consideration for a position in President Woodrow Wilson's cabinet. Burleson married Adele Lubbock Steiner on December 22, 1889, and they became the parents of three children.

Burleson represented Texas in the Fifty-sixth through the Sixty-third United States congresses (1899–1913); he served on the committees of agriculture, census, foreign affairs, and appropriations. He was the author of considerable legislation affecting the development of agriculture. Woodrow Wilson appointed him postmaster general in 1913, and Burleson held that post until 1921. During his tenure the post office developed the parcel post and air mail service. Burleson was chairman of the United States Telegraph and Telephone Administration in 1918 and chairman of the United States Commission to the International Wire Communication Conference in 1920. He retired from public life in 1921 and returned to Austin to devote his time to agricultural interests. Although he rarely took an active role in politics after his retirement, he voiced support for presidential candidates Alfred Smith in 1928 and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. Baylor University awarded him an honorary LL.D. degree in 1930. Burleson died of a heart attack at his home in Austin on November 24, 1937, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Adrian Anderson, Albert Sidney Burleson: A Southern Politician in the Progressive Era (Ph.D. dissertation, Texas Technological College, 1967). Adrian Anderson, "President Wilson's Politician: Albert Sidney Burleson of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 77 (January 1974). Austin American-Statesman, November 25, 1937. Dictionary of American Biography. Richard Winston Howard, The Works of Albert Sidney Burleson as Postmaster General (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1938). National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 28. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Seymour V. Connor

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Seymour V. Connor, "BURLESON, ALBERT SIDNEY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbu38), accessed August 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.