Hubert Humphrey Biography

Hubert Humphrey, the 38th Vice President of the United States, was a highly recognized orator and one of the nation’s most prominent liberal politicians. Born in South Dakota, Humphrey studied in public schools and earned a pharmacist’s license before pursuing a career in politics. He served as the Mayor of Minneapolis and later became a Senator, eventually being chosen as the Vice President under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Although he narrowly lost the presidential election to Richard Nixon, Humphrey continued to serve in the Senate until his death. His remarkable contributions to national and international politics were recognized with the posthumous award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr.
  • Died At Age: 66
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Muriel Humphrey Brown
    • Father: Hubert Humphrey Sr.
    • Mother: Ragnild Kristine Sannes
    • Children: Douglas Humphrey, Nancy Faye Humphrey, Robert Humphrey, Skip Humphrey
  • Vice Presidents
  • Political Leaders
  • Political ideology: Political party – Democratic
  • Died on: January 13, 1978
  • Place of death: Waverly, Minnesota, United States
  • Ancestry: British American, Norwegian American
  • Notable Alumni: Capitol College Of Pharmacy
  • U.S. State: South Dakota
  • Ideology: Democrats
  • Founder/Co-Founder: Americans for Democratic Action, Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party
  • Education: University Of Minnesota, Louisiana State University, Capitol College Of Pharmacy

Childhood & Early Life

Hubert Horatio Humphrey was born on May 27, 1911, in Wallace, South Dakota, U.S., to Hubert H. Humphrey Sr., a pharmacist, and his wife, Christine Sannes. He received his early education from local public schools and then attended the University of Minnesota for a year before returning to help manage his father’s drugstore. Subsequently, he went to the Capitol College of Pharmacy in Denver, Colorado, and earned a pharmacist’s license in 1933. After working in his family drugstore for several years, he again went to the University of Minnesota and graduated with an arts degree in 1939. The following year, he obtained a master’s degree in political science from the Louisiana State University.


In 1940, Humphrey returned to the University of Minnesota and worked as an instructor for a year. Alongside, he also oversaw the Works Progress Administration and held positions in several wartime government agencies. In 1944, he served as the manager of the Minnesota campaign for President Franklin Roosevelt. He made a second attempt for the Mayor of Minneapolis in 1945 and was elected this time. He served as the Mayor of Minneapolis until 1948. In 1948, Humphrey was elected to the United States Senate after his rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention. He was re-elected to the senate in 1954 and 1960, serving for almost 16 years. From 1961 to 1964, Humphrey also served as the 14th United States Senate Majority Whip. At the Democratic National Convention in 1964, Humphrey was chosen as Lyndon Johnson’s running mate and served as the 38th Vice President of the United States from 1965 to 1969. In the 1968 elections, Humphrey served as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate but was defeated narrowly by Richard M. Nixon. After the defeat, Humphrey returned to Minnesota and pursued his interest in education by teaching at Macalester College and the University of Minnesota. In 1971, he was re-elected as a Democratic–Farmer-Labor Party candidate to the United States Senate from Minnesota, serving until his death in 1978.

Major Works

During his term as the Mayor of Minneapolis, Humphrey worked hard to change the communal atmosphere in his state. Through political and legislative action, he tried to abolish unfair policies and practices in Minnesota, including anti-Semitism and discrimination against blacks and other minorities. While serving in the Senate, Humphrey was known as an active and candid orator who was outspoken on issues of civil rights, social welfare, and fair employment. He was much-admired for realizing bipartisan support for the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (1963) and the Civil Rights Act (1964).

Awards & Achievements

In 1978, Humphrey was conferred the U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official. In 1979, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and the following year, Humphrey was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1936, Hubert Humphrey married Muriel Fay Buck, a bookkeeper. They had four children together; three sons and a daughter. Hubert Humphrey died of bladder cancer on January 13, 1978, at his home in Waverly, Minnesota, U.S. He was buried in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Leave a Comment