Elmer Benson Interview, 1973
Download Elmer Benson Interview Transcript (2.9 MB)
Elmer A. Benson
Benson Residence, Appleton, Minnesota
Minnesota Nonpartisan League; Farmer-Labor Party; Swift County (Minn.)--Politics and government; Minnesota--Politics and government--1858-1950; Townley, A. C. (Arthur Charles), 1880-1959; Legislators--Minnesota; Governors--Minnesota; Minnesota Farm Holiday Association; Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party; Petersen, Hjalmar; Olson, Floyd Björnstjerne, 1891-1936; Conservatism--Minnesota; AFL-CIO; Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Elmer Benson was the son of Norwegian immigrants and had lived all his life in Appleton, Minnesota, where he was born. After attending law school, Benson served in World War I and then worked in an Appleton bank. He was appointed Securities Commissioner, later Bank Commissioner, and then U.S. Senator by Floyd B. Olson. Elmer Benson, a Farmer-Laborite, was then elected governor in 1936. He was also active in the Non-Partisan League.
In this interview, Elmer Benson discusses the Non-Partisan League in Minnesota and Swift County, the establishment of the Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota, and Benson's participation. He discusses the Farmer-Labor Association, A.C. Townley, and the Farmer-Labor Party in West Central Minnesota. He discusses New Deal principles and West Central Minnesota Farmer's Holiday Movement, as well as the Democratic Party-Farmer-Labor Party merger. He discusses Hjalmar Petersen, Floyd B. Olson, and representative Rev. Kvale, He also discusses the split in the Farmer-Labor Party, Benson's present activities, and his opinion of his administration and the Farmer-Labor Party. Finally, he talks about his concern over the present conservatism in the DFL and the nation, the AFL-CIO, and his anti-war sentiments about the Vietnam War.
West Central Minnesota Historical Research Center (WCMHRC)
Benson, Elmer A., "Elmer Benson Interview, 1973" (1973). All Minnesota Oral Histories. 89.