Frank B. Brandegee

Frank Bosworth Brandegee
United States Senator
from Connecticut
In office
May 10, 1905  October 14, 1924
Preceded by Orville H. Platt
Succeeded by Hiram Bingham III
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 3rd district
In office
November 4, 1902  May 10, 1905
Preceded by Charles A. Russell
Succeeded by Edwin W. Higgins
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1864-07-08)July 8, 1864
New London, Connecticut
Died October 14, 1924(1924-10-14) (aged 60)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Republican

Frank Bosworth Brandegee (July 8, 1864  October 14, 1924) was a United States Representative and Senator from Connecticut.

Early life

Frank Brandegee was born in New London, Connecticut July 8, 1864. He was the son of Augustus Brandegee, who also served in the United States House.[1]

He graduated New London's Bulkeley High School in 1881. He completed his degree at Yale College in 1885, where he was a member of Skull and Bones.[2]:1369 He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1888 and practiced in New London.[3]

A Republican, in 1888 Brandegee served in the Connecticut House of Representatives, and was New London's Corporation Counsel from 1889 to 1893 and 1894 to 1897.[4]

He returned to the Connecticut House in 1899, and served as Speaker. He served again as New London's Corporation Counsel from 1901 to 1902, when he resigned because he had been elected to Congress.[5]

U.S. House

Brandegee was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-seventh Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Charles A. Russell. He was reelected to the Fifty-eighth and Fifty-ninth Congresses and served from November 4, 1902, until May 10, 1905, when he resigned.[6]

Brandegee was a delegate to several state and national Republican conventions, and was chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party's 1904 state convention.[7][8][9]

U.S. Senate

Brandegee resigned from the House to accept election to the U.S. Senate, filling the vacancy caused by the death of Orville H. Platt.[10]

He was reelected in 1908, 1914, and 1920, and served from May 10, 1905 until his death.[11]

A staunch "Old Guard" conservative, Brandegee opposed women's suffrage, America's participation in the League of Nations, and most other measures of the time that were considered liberal or progressive.[12][13][14] In 1920 Brandegee was also one of the chief promoters of Warren G. Harding for President.[15][16]

In the Senate he was Chairman of the following committees: Interoceanic Canals (Sixty-second Congress); Panama (Sixty-second Congress); Pacific Railroads (Sixty-third through Sixty-fifth Congresses); Library (Sixty-sixth and Sixty-seventh Congresses); and Judiciary (Sixty-eighth Congress).[17]

Brandegee was President pro tempore during several sessions of the Senate in the Sixty-second Congress (1911 to 1913).[18]

Death and burial

Brandegee never married and had no children.[19]

He committed suicide in Washington, D.C. on October 14, 1924, inhaling fumes from a gas light in a seldom used bathroom on the third floor of his home.[20] According to published accounts, he was in ill health and had lost most of his fortune through bad investments.[21] Press reports at the time indicated that he left his chauffeur a suicide note and $100, with another $100 for two other household servants.[22][23]

He was interred at Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London.[24]


  1. Yale University, Class of 1885, Quarter-Centenary Record of the Class of 1885, Yale University, 1913, page 119
  2. "Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University Deceased during the Year 1924-1925" (PDF). Yale University. 1925. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  3. Norris Galpin Osborn, Men of Mark in Connecticut, Volume 1, 1906, pages 54-57
  4. United States Senate Historical Office, Pro Tem: Presidents Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Since 1789, 2008, page 84
  5. Samuel Hart, editor, Encyclopedia of Connecticut Biography, Volume 4, 1917, page 277
  6. Caryn Hannan, editor, Connecticut Biographical Dictionary, 2008, page 160
  7. John Tweedy, A History of the Republican National Conventions from 1856 to 1908, 1910, page 265
  8. William Harrison Taylor, Taylor's Legislative History and Souvenir of Connecticut, 1897, Volume 4, page 206
  9. New York Times, Connecticut Convention, May 11, 1904
  10. Connecticut General Assembly, Journal of the Senate of the State of Connecticut, 1905, page 933
  11. Charles F. Ritter, Jon L. Wakelyn, American Legislative Leaders, 1850-1910, 1989, page 72
  12. Carole Nichols, Votes and More for Women: Suffrage and After in Connecticut, 2013, page 39
  13. Cecelia Bucki, Bridgeport's Socialist New Deal, 1915-36, 2001, page 215
  14. Ruth O'Brien, Workers' Paradox: The Republican Origins of New Deal Labor Policy, 1886-1935, 1998, page 227
  15. Stephen Graubard, The Presidents: The Transformation of the American Presidency from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama, 2009
  16. Laton McCartney, The Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country, 2009, page 24
  17. Lawrence P. Ardis, Party leaders in Congress, 1789-2002, 2002, page 45
  18. Robert C. Byrd, Senate, 1789-1989: Historical Statistics, 1789-1992, Volume 4, 1993, page 652
  19. United Press, The Southeast Missourian, Senator Brandegee Found Dead at Home, October 14, 1924
  20. Pine Plains Register, Brandegee Dead by Gas, October 15, 1924
  21. Time Magazine, Political Notes: De Mortuis, January 4, 1926
  22. Bridgeport Telegram, Brandegee's Death Blamed on Isolation and Financial Loss, October 15, 1924
  23. St. Petersburg Evening Independent, Financial Losses Cause Senator to Turn on Gas, October 15, 1924
  24. Thomas E. Spencer, Where They're Buried, 1998, page 117
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frank B. Brandegee.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles A. Russell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Edwin W. Higgins
United States Senate
Preceded by
Orville H. Platt
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Connecticut
Served alongside: Morgan Bulkeley, George P. McLean
Succeeded by
Hiram Bingham III
Political offices
Preceded by
William P. Frye
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
Rotating pro tems
Succeeded by
James P. Clarke
Preceded by
Knute Nelson
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Succeeded by
Albert B. Cummins
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