The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers

Albert Sidney Johnson Carnahan (1897-1968)

A.S.J. Carnahan, teacher, congressman, and ambassador, was born and raised in Carter County Missouri, near the small town of Ellsinore. After completing his public school education and his World War I service in the U.S. Navy, Carnahan pursued undergraduate (State Teachers College, Cape Giradeau, 1926) and graduate degrees (University of Missouri, 1934) in education. He spent the next decade as a high school teacher and administrator, leaving the school system to serve one term as the Democratic congressman representing Missouri's Eighth District. Unable to win re-election in 1946, Carnahan returned to Ellsinore as superintendent of schools and developed a successful re-election strategy. He returned to Congress January 3, 1949, where he stayed until his defeat in 1960. Congressman Carnahan served on the House Committee of Foreign Affairs (and was the ranking member by the time he retired), was chairman of the Subcommittee on International Organizations and Movements, and he helped write the GI Bill of Rights, the Marshall Plan, and a revision of the Social Security Act. He also acted as delegate to the UN General Assembly in 1957 and the following year was the congressional advisor to the U.S. delegation to the Second International Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Weapons. In 1961, President John Kennedy appointed him U.S. ambassador to Sierra Leone, a post he held for two years. He returned to Missouri in 1963 and died March 24, 1968. His son, Melvin Eugene Carnahan, served as Missouri's governor from 1992 until his death in 2000 and his daughter-in-law, Jean Carnahan, represented Missouri in the U.S. Senate.

Source: Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress Online. Internet on-line. Available From

Published by the Model Editions Partnership

Recommended citation: Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and the Election of 1960: A Project of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, ed. by Allida Black, June Hopkins, John Sears, Christopher Alhambra, Mary Jo Binker, Christopher Brick, John S. Emrich, Eugenia Gusev, Kristen E. Gwinn, and Bryan D. Peery (Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 2003). Electronic version based on unpublished letters. .

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