Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2008


Great Plains Quarterly Volume 28, Number 4, Fall 2008, pp. 330-31.


Copyright 2008 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Written between 1951 and 1954, this autobiography covers the career of Elmer Thomas as a state senator from 1907 to 1920, as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1922 to 1928, and as a U.S. senator from 1928 to 1950. Editors Richard Lowitt and Carolyn Hanneman deserve a hearty round of applause for having converted Thomas's original, meandering four-hundred-page-plus manuscript to an intelligible, readable work. Especially valuable to the reader are the editors' end notes, identifying figures and issues whose political significance has dimmed and offering suggestions for further reading.

Despite his popularity among Oklahoma Democrats and his seniority in the United States Senate, Thomas has escaped the notice of historians. A De Paul University graduate and a member of the Indiana bar, he arrived in Oklahoma in 1900. After a brief stay in Oklahoma City, he moved to Lawton where he divided his time between practicing law and developing the resort town of Medicine Park. In 1907, he was elected to serve in the first Oklahoma legislature.