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Regan, John E., 1883-1946. Scrapbooks, 1932-1940

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SMHC Collection 0105

Scope and Contents

The John E. Regan collection of scrapbooks consists of items pertaining to his attempts at winning elections in Minnesota including the state legislature, a gubematorial seat, and the United States Senate. In addition, the collection contains some miscellaneous affidavits, photographs, and campaign literature.

Scrapbook 1: 15 April 1932 - 14 June 1932. The clippings in this scrapbook deal with Regan's attempt to secure the Democratic nomination for Governor in the primary. Arthur A. Van Dyke, the choice of the "regular" Democrats, and James Theodore Hegland, opposed Regan, the choice of the "rump" Democrats. Besides campaigning against each other, the candidates also leveled attacks against Governor Floyd B. Olson, the incumbent of the Farmer-Labor party. The main issues were the repeal of prohibition, unemployment, and taxes. Typed copies of affidavits are included.

Scrapbook 2: 14 June 1932 - 25 August 1932. The beginning news clippings are a continuation of the campaign for the Democratic nomination. Regan won the nomination in the primary, but his "rump" Democrats were refused seating in the Democratic National Convention, and the seats went to "regulars" from Minnesota. Formerly, supporting A1 Smith as the Democratic presidential candidate, Regan switched to support Franklin Roosevelt after FDR received the party's nomination for President. The clippings finish with Regan's campaign for Governor.

Scrapbook 3: 25 August 1932 - 17 October 1932. This scrapbook continues with Regan's campaign for Governor in a three-way race against Floyd B. Olson, the incumbent Farmer-Laborite, and Earle Brown, the candidate of the Republicans. Some of the main issues mentioned are income tax, state spending, prohibition, and unemployment.

Scrapbook 4: 17 October 1932 - 19 November 1932. The end of the campaign is covered with Floyd B. Olson's reelection as Governor in the general election. Of interest are the clippings on the tripartite debates among Regan, Brown, and Olson. Two tripartite debates occurred.

Scrapbook 5: 10 November 1932 - 30 April 1934. Clippings dealing with the aftermath of the general election and the attempts at regrouping the Regan forces are contained in this scrapbook. Also, articles deal with the Olson administration and the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt.

Scrapbook 6: 28 April 1934 - 2 November 1934. The clippings are on Regan's second attempt to become Governor of Miimesota when his strongest opponents for the nomination were Fred Schilipin of St. Cloud and Albert Pfaender of New Ulm. In the primary, Regan secured the nomination of his party with the race for Governor again contested between three political parties. His opponents were Floyd B. Olson, the incumbent Farmer-Laborite, and Martin A. Nelson, the Republican candidate. An attempt to unite the Republicans and the Democrats behind Regan failed.

Scrapbook 7: 1 February 1935 -23 January 1937. Covered in the scrapbook is the Democratic National Convention of 1936, with the Minnesota Democrats again attempting to seat two factions. The final decision favored the Ryan-Moonan faction, supported by Regan, and barred the faction of Joseph Wolf, Democratic national committeeman. The withdrawl of the Democratic candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor in order to unite behind the Farmer-Laborite, Elmer A. Benson, led Regan to give his support to Martin a Nelson, the Republican candidate for Governor.

Scrapbook 8: 20 October 1939 - 11 December 1940. Clippings document Regan's campaign for the United States Senate. Accorded the Democratic nomination, he was defeated by Henrik Shipstead, the Farmer- Laborite, in the general election.


  • 1932-1940


Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on use of this collection for research purposes. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property and libel laws as they apply.

Biographical / Historical

John E. Regan, a leading Democratic politician in Minnesota during the period 1930 - 1946, was bom at Mendota, Minnesota on 18 October 1883. Upon graduation fi"om the St. Paul College of Law, he began the practice of law in Marshall, Minnesota where he had previously worked as a railroad telegrapher. Following his stay in Marshall, Regan worked as an attomey in Balaton, Minnesota from 1908 - 1910. Regan moved to Mankato, Minnesota in 1910 where he practiced law until his death on 8 March 1946. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and served as state president of the Elks for three years.

In 1930, Regan won election to the Minnesota House of Representatives fi'om Blue Earth County (Eighth District. In 1932 and again in 1934, he unsuccessfully opposed Floyd B. Olson. Regan campaigned for a seat in the United States Senate in 1940, but he lost to Henrik Shipstead. During the 1944 Presidential election, Regan split with the newly formed Democratic-Farmer-Labor party to lead the "Democrats for Dewey" party.

Regan married twice. His first marriage began with Mary Martin in 1908. They were the parents of three sons: John E., Jr.; Robert M., associated with his father in the law firm of Regan and Regan fi"om 1939 until his father's death in 1946; and Timothy M. In addition, the family had one daughter. Sister Jean Patrice of St. Steven's convent in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mary Martin Regan died in 1930. In 1933, Regan married Winifred Maley, a faculty member at Mankato State Teachers College. Two daughters, Kathleen and Sheila, were bom to them.

Biographical information obtained fi*om the Mankato Free Press, 8 March 1946 and the Minneapolis Tribune, 9 March 1946.


1.50 Cubic Feet (3 Hollinger Boxes)

Language of Materials



The John E. Regan scrapbook collection consists primarily of newspaper clippings pertaining to his attempts at winning various public positions in Minnesota. In addition, the collection contains photos, affidavits, and campaign literature. Regan ran successfully for the state legislature and unsuccessfully in a gubernatorial election and an election for the United States Senate.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Winifred Regan (widow of John E. Regan) donated this collection in 1968.


Regan, John E., 1883-1946. Scrapbooks, 1932-1940.
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Revision Statements

  • 2011-09: Finding aid revised by Jeff A. Jenson.

Repository Details

Part of the Southern Minnesota Historical Center Repository

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Memorial Library
PO Box 8419
Mankato MN 56002-8419 US