Joseph R. Knowland
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
November 8, 1904 – March 3, 1915
|Preceded by||Victor H. Metcalf|
|Succeeded by||John A. Elston|
|Constituency||3rd district (1904–13)|
6th district (1913–15)
Joseph Russell Knowland
August 5, 1873
|Died||February 1, 1966 (aged 92)|
|Spouse(s)||Elinor J. Fife|
Emelyn S. West
Clarice E. Cook
|Children||Elinor Knowland Lion|
Joseph Russell "Russ" Knowland, Jr.
William F. Knowland
|Alma mater||University of the Pacific|
Joseph Russell Knowland (August 5, 1873 – February 1, 1966) was an American politician and newspaper publisher. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from California and was owner, editor and publisher of the Oakland Tribune. He was the father of United States Senator William F. Knowland.
Knowland was born in Alameda, California to Joseph Knowland (1833–1912) and Hannah Bailey Russell (1832–1921), who were married in San Francisco on 13 May 1863. He had two sisters, Sadie (1864–1905) and Lucille (1870–1926), and one brother, Hollis, who died in infancy.
"JR", as he was known to his friends, attended Alameda Park Street Primary School, Hopkins Academy, a private school in Oakland, where he began his own newspaper. During this time Knowland also spent summers working at the Oakland Enquirer and the Alameda Argus. He entered with the class of 1895, the California Wesleyan College at San Jose. The school was later renamed College of the Pacific of Stockton. From an early age he had an interest in journalism and history. His father being from New York and his mother from Maine, Knowland was raised under the influence of northern political belief. He wrote stories for the Alameda Argus and Oakland Enquirer on California history and Republican politics.
At 18, Knowland joined the Native Sons of the Golden West, which he served as Grand President in 1909. He organized the California Historical Landmarks League and was its chairman from 1902 to 1906. He was chairman of the Landmarks Committee of the Native Sons of the Golden West from 1902 to 1962.
He became engaged in his father's wholesale lumber and shipping business. Knowland was sent by his father in 1888 to Oregon to rebuild the Gardiner Mill. He went to Jackson, Amador County, serving as an envoy of his father. Joseph R. Knowland managed the Kennedy Mining and Milling Company. In the fall of 1891, he left the Sierra to help his ailing father in Alameda. In 1893, he was appointed to a committee to create a panorama of Alameda County for the California Midwinter Exposition of 1894, held in San Francisco.
Knowland joined the Alameda Good Government Club in early 1895. He was appointed, in 1896, to the Alameda Library Board of Trustees. He was sought by the Alameda County Central Committee of the Republican Party to run for the State Assembly in 1898. Asked later in life why he entered politics, Knowland would reply, "I was one of these young men that took to politics and was interested." He was a member of the State Assembly from 1899 to 1903. Knowland chaired the Assembly committee to investigate the conditions of the Chinese slave women in San Francisco. He served in the California State Senate from 1903 to 1904, when he resigned, having been elected as a Republican to the Fifty-eighth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Victor H. Metcalf. President Theodore Roosevelt had appointed Metcalf to be Secretary of Commerce and Labor.
Knowland was reelected to the Fifty-ninth and to the four succeeding Congresses, serving from September 24, 1904 to March 3, 1915. His 3rd Congressional District included Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties. The U.S. Army's Benicia Arsenal and the U.S. Naval Shipyard at Mare Island were located in his district. Knowland had a keen interest in the military, most especially the U.S. Navy. He worked in Congress for capital ships to be built on the West Coast. He was an advocate for a two-ocean battleship fleet.
The population increased in Oakland and Alameda County after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. New district boundaries were created after the 1910 Census. In 1911, Alameda County became the 6th Congressional District. During this period, Knowland fought for free American tolls for the Panama Canal.
Knowland sought to succeed George C. Perkins in the U.S. Senate. In 1914, he won the Republican primary over Samuel M. Shortridge. However, he was unsuccessful in the general election, a three-way race with Francis J. Heney of the Progressive Party and the winner, James D. Phelan, Democrat.
The Oakland Tribune
Knowland became owner, editor, president and publisher of The Oakland Tribune on 3 November 1915. He wrote, "It is perfectly understood that what it [the Tribune] does, rather than what it promises, will determine the true measure of its worth; and with this understanding, the Tribune, under its new control, girds to its work." Many years and court battles with Hermina Peralta Dargie (widow of owner William E. Dargie) passed before Knowland had full control of the Tribune. Knowland built the Tribune Tower, a city landmark at 13th and Franklin Streets. He had a great interest in restoring the California Missions. This had begun in 1903, with Mission San Antonio De Padua. He was a historical advisor during the 1927 California State Park Survey.
In 1932, Knowland went to Washington and persuaded President Herbert Hoover and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to advance $62 million for the completion of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. He created, with Bruno Albert Forsterer and Joseph Blum, the Franklin Investment Company in 1936 (later the Franklin Credit Union). In 1937, he attained the status of 33rd Degree Mason, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. Knowland was a member of the Finance Committee of the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939-1940. In 1941, he authored California: A Landmark History. He was the political mentor of Earl Warren; from assistant Oakland City Attorney to Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Knowland served on the California State Park Commission from 1934 to 1960 and was chairman from 1938 to 1960. He was appointed by Governor Earl Warren as chairman of the California Centennial Commission from 1948 to 1950. Knowland was honored on September 9, 1951 by the City of Oakland and the State of California, with Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park in Oakland. He served as chairman of the Oakland Centennial in 1952, and the Alameda County Centennial in 1953.
Knowland was proud of the political career of his son, United States Senator William F. Knowland from 1945 to 1959, who served as Senate Majority Leader from 1953 to 1955 and Senate Minority Leader from 1955 to 1959. The only mistake that he felt that his son made was his 1958 run and defeat for Governor of California.
He attended his first Republican National Convention in 1904. He attended the GOP conventions as a delegate or newspaperman until 1964. Oakland became a one-newspaper city on September 1, 1950, when William Randolph Hearst closed his Oakland Post-Enquirer. The Oakland Tribune's radio station KLX began operation in 1921 and would be on the air until its sale in 1959.
Knowland met Elinor (Ellie) J. Fife (1873–1908) of Tacoma, Washington while they were students at University of the Pacific. Ellie was the daughter of Tacoma businessman W. H. Fife. Knowland and Ellie were married on April 2, 1894 in Tacoma. Three children were born to this union: Elinor Knowland Lion (1895–1978); Joseph Russell "Russ" Knowland, Jr. (1901–1961); and US Senator William F. Knowland (1908–1974). Shortly after the birth of William F. Knowland, Ellie Knowland died.
Knowland, a young widower with children, met Emelyn S. West (1884–1950) of West Lynne, Virginia. On September 28, 1909 they were wed in Chicago, Illinois. Emelyn Knowland was a loving stepmother and active in her husband's social and political life. Emelyn died July 14, 1950, during the California Centennial. Knowland's third wife, Clarice E. "Cookie" Cook (1902–1979), was an officer of the Native Daughters of the Golden West. Knowland and Cook were married on April 6, 1952 in Stockton, California. A shared interest in California history made a happy marriage for Knowland's twilight years. Knowland remained active in his old age and came each day to the Tribune.
On February 1, 1966, Joseph Russell Knowland died at 4:25 p.m. in his 25 Seaview Avenue residence in Piedmont. His wife Clarice with granddaughters, Emelyn K. Jewett and Josephine L. Church, were at his bedside.
On February 2, 1966, the Tribune's headline was "Joseph R. Knowland Dead". Joseph R. Knowland was praised by Republicans and Democrats. California Governor Edmund G. Pat Brown said, "Knowland, strongly believed in California...the State he loved so well." The public funeral of J.R. Knowland was held at the First Methodist Church and the private family service at Mountain View Cemetery Chapel in Oakland. He was cremated at Mountain View Cemetery Crematory and is inurned with his third wife, Clarice, in Serenity Section, Tier N-4, Number 3 at the Chapel of Memories columbarium in Oakland, California.
- Native Sons of the Golden West
- Knights Templar
- Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine
- Bohemian Club
- Pacific Union Club
- Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks—Oakland # 171
- Athens Athletic Club
- Athenian Nile Club
- California Historical Society
- Oakland and Alameda County Pioneers
- Claremont Country Club
- Associated Press
- California Press Association's Newspaper Hall of Fame
- "Joseph Russell Knowland (1873 - 1966) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved August 29, 2012.
- California Blue Book. Sacramento: State Printing Office, 1909.
- Gothberg, John A. "The Local Influence of Joseph R. Knowland's Oakland Tribune". Minneapolis Journalism Quarterly - 45, (Autumn 1968):487-95.
- Knowland, Joseph R. California: A Landmark History. Oakland: Tribune Press, 1941.
- Wyatt, Daniel E. Joseph R. Knowland: The Political Years 1899-1915. San Francisco, D.Wyatt, 1982.
- Joseph R. Knowland Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joseph R. Knowland.|
- United States Congress. "Joseph R. Knowland (id: K000291)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Knowland Family at Political Graveyard
- “Selections from Oakland Tribune Archives,” by Annalee Allen, Arcadia Publishing 2006
- Finding Aid to the Joseph R. Knowland Papers, 1857-1966, bulk 1905-1960, The Bancroft Library
James A. Waymire
| Member of the California State Assembly
from the 47th district
J. Clem Bates, Jr.
E. K. Taylor
| Member of the California State Senate
from the 14th district
M. W. Simpson
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Victor H. Metcalf
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 3rd congressional district
Charles F. Curry
James C. Needham
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 6th congressional district
John A. Elston
|Party political offices|
after direct election of Senators was adopted in 1913
| Republican nominee for
U.S. Senator from California (Class 3)
Samuel M. Shortridge