Biographical Sketch of the Creator of the Collection
Thomas Deitz McKeown was born on June 4, 1878, in Blackstock, South Carolina. He was admitted to the bar in 1899 and began practicing law in Arkansas. In 1901 he moved to Ada, Oklahoma, where he established a law practice. A prominent jurist, he was a judge in the state's seventh district from 1910 to 1914 and the presiding judge of the fifth division of the state supreme court in 1915 and 1916.
As the representative of Oklahoma's Fourth District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1917-1921 and again from 1923-1935, McKeown served on numerous committees, including Insular Affairs, Revision of the Laws, Roads, Merchant Marine and Fisheries, and Judiciary. For a while, he was the acting chairman of the Subcommittee on Bankruptcy. Among McKeown's accomplishments were an old-age pension bill introduced in 1929 and a bankruptcy and debt-relief law (the LaGuardia-McKeown Bill).
After leaving Congress, McKeown practiced law in Chicago and then returned to Ada in 1937. He later served as county attorney (1946-1947) and as county judge (1947-1951) for Pontotoc County. He died on October 22, 1951, in Ada.
Scope and Content of the Collection
A fragmentary collection of 0.5 cubic feet encompassing the dates 1900-1934, these papers are comprised of speeches and addresses, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, bill texts, but there is practically no correspondence. Some of these materials, such as certain speeches and all of the bills, can be found in other congressional sources. Although the bulk of the material covers the periods that McKeown was a representative, little information is provided. Among the subjects documented are McKeown's biography and family, campaigns, World War I, old-age pension legislation, the Great Depression and relief legislation (including the LaGuardia-McKeown Bill and bills for farm-mortgage refinancing), district affairs, the Democratic Party, and patriotic themes. There is an inventory to these papers and a small number of photographs.