Memories of Politics Past

The current issue of Statehouse Report included this photo with the caption:

“Step into the wayback machine to pick out the Upstate congressman in this photo, who is on an official trip in 1960 to Antarctica.”

Read on for the answer…

U.S. Congressman Robert W. Hemphill (SC-5th District) scans the horizon over the pilot’s shoulder during an official trip to Antarctica in 1960.  Hemphill was quite at home in a cockpit, having plenty of experience as a pilot himself.  In August 1941, he volunteered for military service as a “Flying Cadet” and subsequently served in the Army Air Forces, chiefly as an instructor stationed at airfields in Texas training pilots on the B-24 Liberator bomber.

Hemphill’s career of public service began as a member of the state House of Representatives, 1947 to 1948.  He served as Solicitor of the Sixth Judicial Circuit from 1951 to 1956, and won election to the U.S. House in 1956.  President Lyndon Johnson appointed him to a federal judgeship in 1964, to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement of George Bell Timmerman.  Hemphill remarked, “As much as I loved being congressman, and I loved it, I don’t believe I could find anything to make me happier than this position.” [The Charlotte Observer, 8 June 1964]

The Hemphill papers are one of almost one hundred collections held by South Carolina Political Collections at the University of South Carolina.

For more information on Robert Hemphill, please see his home page or contact us.

Photo and caption originally appeared in the June 11, 2010, issue of Statehouse Report.

~posted by Kate Moore

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