Warren G. Magnuson begins attending the University of Washington on October 2, 1925.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 10/09/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5567
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On October 2, 1925, Warren G. Magnuson (1905-1989), who will become one of Washington's most influential senators, begins attending the University of Washington in Seattle. He had just moved to Seattle from Minnesota.

A Great Party Guy

Shortly after his birth on April 12, 1905, Warren Magnuson was adopted and raised by a Moorhead, Minnesota, family. Magnuson was given the life long nickname Maggie while playing quarterback for Moorhead High School. He graduated from high school in 1923 and attended the University of North Dakota and North Dakota Agricultural College. Frank Van Osdel, who knew Maggie at the University of North Dakota, described him as "a great party guy, a hard drinker, very handsome, not too tall, a real go-getter. You could see that he was going to be a politician -- outgoing, gregarious, an opportunist -- he went with the labor unions when he went out to Seattle. He wasn't exactly a preacher, but he was a good man" (Scates, 16).

Thanks To Loretta...

It is unknown why Maggie decided to move to Seattle, but perhaps it was to follow Loretta Welsh, one of his many girlfriends. Magnuson claimed he moved to Seattle riding "blind baggage" (riding the rails) on a Great Northern freight train. While attending the University of Washington School of Law, Maggie earned money driving an ice wagon as a member of the Teamster's union. During school breaks he worked as a merchant marine on ships that took him across the Pacific Ocean.

At the University of Washington, he joined the Theta Chi fraternity and turned out for the football team. Magnuson described his football career: "I turned out for football when I was struggling law student. I was on the scrub team and we used to go to the [UW] stadium every night and let the varsity and the stars run all over us in order that they might get in shape for the enemy. The going was tough. [UW football coach] Bagshaw gave us the devil. But I liked it and liked him and we came out of it better men" (Scates, 26). Maggie graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 1929.

Magnuson went on to become one of Washington's most influential U.S. senators ever.


Capitol's Who's Who for Washington, the State Encyclopedia ... 1949-50 (Portland, OR: Capitol Publishing Company, 1949), 411; The Magnuson Story: Warren G. Magnuson's Remarkable Record in the U.S. Congress (1936-56), p. 1, pamphlet, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections; Shelby Scates, Warren G Magnuson and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century America Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997).

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