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, including woman suffrage advocate and state legislator Laura Burleson Negley.
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.