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Bennett, Wallace F. (Wallace Foster), 1898-1993

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1898-1993

Biographical History

Wallace Foster Bennett (1989-1993) was born in Salt Lake City and was a Mormon politician from 1950 to 1974. He passed away in Utah.

Born to John Foster and Rosetta Wallace Bennett in Salt Lake City on November 13, 1898, Wallace Foster Bennett was a school principal and businessman involved in various business ventures. During his business and public career, Senator Bennett delivered hundreds of speeches and continued to be a much-sought-after speaker in retirement. He is the author of two books, Faith and Freedom(1950) and Why I Am A Mormon(1958), and numerous articles.

On September 6, 1922, Wallace Bennett married Frances Marion Grant, the eighth daughter of Heber J. Grant, the seventh president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Bennett's have five children, three sons and two daughters, twenty-seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. Mrs. Bennett is also an author, having written Glimpses of a Mormon Family(1968).

Wallace went to public schools in Salt Lake City and later attended the University of Utah. After interrupting his schooling for service in World War I as a second lieutenant of infantry, he graduated with an A.B. degree in 1919.

Bennett served as principal of the San Luis Stake Academy, Manassa, Colorado (a Mormon school) for one year (1919-1920). He entered his father's firm, Bennett Glass and Paint Company, as an office clerk in 1920. Successively, he became production manager, sales manager, general manager, and from 1938 to 1950, president. In 1939, with three partners, he found the Bennett Motor Company, a Salt Lake City Ford dealership and served as its president until 1950. Since 1950, he has served as chairman of the board of directors of both Bennett Glass and Paint and the Bennett Motor Company. In addition, he has served as director on the boards of a number of other western banks and corporations.

Bennett's ability and popularity as a business man became widely recognized. After serving as vice president of the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association and president of the National Glass Distributors Association in the 1930s, he was elected president of the national Association of Manufacturers in 1949. He was the first representative of small business to serve as president of the NAM.

When politics attracted his interest, he ran in 1950 as a Republican candidate against Democratic Senator Elbert D. Thomas, who for eighteen years had been one of the key figures in the New Deal. Thomas was considered virtually unbeatable, but Bennett won that election and has been reelected three times, in 1956, 1962, and again in 1968. Upon completion of his fourth term in 1974, he became the first popularly elected senator in Utah's history to retire voluntarily.

During his 24 years in the Senate, Wallace F. Bennett became recognized as one of the nation's leading fiscal and monetary experts. His Senate colleagues of both parties and widely varying political philosophies had high praise and esteem for his expertise and contribution when he retired in 1974. His record of Senate service is long and varied. As the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee (from 1969 to 1973) and the Senate Finance Committee (from 1971 to 1973), he was in a unique position to deal with national monetary and fiscal problems. He enjoyed remarkable success in recommending and achieving solutions to problems affecting our coinage system, the soundness of the dollar and preserving a sound and dynamic banking system.

His expertise was not limited to his major committee assignments, however. They ranged from membership on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy to a leading role in the enactment of the Truth-in-Lending Law; from the Vice-Chairmanship of the Senate Ethics Committee to major housing legislator; from the Committee on the Chaplain and an occasional assignment to open the Senate with prayer to sponsorship of major fund legislation to achieving much needed water and power projects for his arid state of Utah; from a major role in the Tax Reform Act of 1969 to a leading and successful advocate of improved air service for Utah and the Intermountain West; and, he was the only man in Congress who successfully modified the 1968 Gun Control Act when he supported a bill removing the cumbersome record keeping provisions on rifle and shotgun ammunition.

As one of the Senate's outstanding conservatives, Bennett generally opposed the multitude of antipoverty programs introduced during the Johnson Administration. He felt that the programs were not properly structured to do the job of eliminating poverty. They were too elaborate, poorly managed and caused a wasteful drain of revenue at the taxpayer's expense. He emphasized that the skill, the training, and the ability of its people was America's greatest resource. With this in mind, Senator Bennett supported legislation for certain forms of federal aid to higher education and vocational training and strongly opposed the repeal of Section 14 (b) of the National Labor Relations Act. He favored the basic rights of the American working man to accept or reject the services of the organized labor unions on their merits.

The conservation and proper usage of our natural resources has always been a deep concern of Senator Bennett's. He played a key role in approval of the Upper Colorado River Act and has stated the primary disappointment of his legislative career is that the project [was]. . . still uncompleted in 1974. In addition, he was instrumental in passage of the Small Reclamation Projects Act, the Watershed Act of 1954, the Dixie Reclamation Project and was especially instrumental in obtaining proper funding for many Utah water projects -- all of which have benefited arid areas throughout the nation. Under the Eisenhower Administration, he played an important role in developing the Mission 66 Program which has resulted in dramatic improvements in all national parks and monuments. It was Senator Bennett who first called attention to the scenic possibilities of the Canyon lands areas and he was a leader in the battle to make it a National Park.

As a member of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and the Joint Committee on Defense Production, he authored the Industrial Dispersal Amendment, enacted in 1956, which played an important part in bringing the missile industry to Utah. Later, his depletion allowance amendments for Beryllium and for minerals in the Great Salt Lake led to the establishment of new, major industries in Utah. He supported President Nixon's Southeast Asia policy and United States military involvement in Vietnam, believing that "Communist success in South Vietnam would go far in convincing other Communist elements throughout the world that new 'Wars of Liberation' can succeed."

He passed away in 1993 in Utah.

Citation

Wikipedia, via WWW, 13 January 2015 (Wallace Foster Bennett was born November 13, 1898, to John Foster and Rosa Elizabeth Wallace Bennett in Salt Lake City, Utah; graduated from LDS High School in 1916; enrolled at the University of Utah, where he majored in English; interuppted his studied to serve in the United States Army in 1918; returned to the University of Utah and graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1919; served as the principal of San Luis Stake Academy in Manassa, Colorado for a year; married Frances Marion Grant, daughter of Heber J. Grant, one of the presidents of the LDS church; had five children: Wallace, David, Robert, Rosemary, and Frances; joined Bennett's Paint and Glass Company in 1920, which was established by his father; eventually became president and general manager, and later chairman of the board, of the company; went on to become president of the Bennett Motor Company, the Cardon Jewelry Company, the National Glass Distributors Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers; also served as vice-president of two companies and director of three additional companies, hosted a daily radio program, and authored the words for an LDS hymn ("God of Power, God of Right," #20 in the 1985 LDS Hymnal) and two books; ran against an incumbent senator for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1950; won and was re-elected to three more terms, serving until 1974; passed away on December 19, 1993, in Salt Lake City), and Douth, George, Leaders in Profile: The United States Senate. (New York, N.Y.: Speer and Douth, Inc. 1972) pp. 399-404.

Found in 45 Collections and/or Records:

Wallace F. Bennett letters

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 819
Scope and Contents The three letters of this collection were written on 1, 12, and 23 March 1962. The first and last of these were written by Bennett to William M. Timmins, Jr., (1936- ), and the second was written by Timmins. The letters deal with the topics of free trade and the lead-zinc mining industry.

Wallace F. Bennett papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 20
Scope and Contents Collection contains correspondence, speeches, bills, legislative resolutions, press releases, and financial records that document Wallace F. Bennett's activities during his time as a senator between 1948 and 1974 in Utah and Washington D.C. The central topic of these materials (which were mostly created during Bennett's later terms in the US Senate) is the Cold War, including how to promote peaceful coexistence between the Soviet Union and America. They also reveal the immense changes that...

Wallace F. Bennett photographs

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8502
Content Description Contains photographs and negatives depicting events during Wallace F. Bennett's tenure as senator from Utah in the United States Ssenate. Materials dated 1955-1970.

Wallace F. Bennett photographs and slides

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS P 213
Scope and Contents Collection includes four publicity photographs and 25 slides collected by Wallace F. Bennett between 1910 and 1990. Includes personal as well as campaign materials.

First Annual Marketing Symposium discussions

 Collection
Identifier: UA 22
Scope and Contents This is a compilation of speeches delivered at the 1st Annual Marketing Symposium at BYU, 1949.

Sidney B. Sperry civic activities files, 1938-1968

 Series
Identifier: UA 618 Series 10
Scope and Contents note Contains speeches, and material on state, local, and national politics, international affairs, and other materials. Includes Utah PTA Committee on Education reports; Utah Scholarship Foundation chairman files; art dealership correspondence and photographs; Religion faculty course material and administrative lectures; pre-mission correspondence and course materials, exams, student papers, theses, and dissertation; addresses to Seminary and Institute personnel, BYU Travel Study memorabilia,...

Sidney B. Sperry correspondence, 1945-1954

 Series
Identifier: UA 618 Series 2
Scope and Contents note Correspondence with his family, students, Church notables and fellow scholars, senators, Ernest Wilkinson, and others.

Sidney B. Sperry correspondence, family history, students papers, finances, 1938-1960

 Series
Identifier: UA 618 Series 4
Scope and Contents note Correspondence, April 1938-September 1960, with members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, including Israel A. Smith (RLDS President), F. Henry Edwards, and C.J. Hunt.

Sidney B. Sperry financial records, 1943-1964

 Series
Identifier: UA 618 Series 7
Scope and Contents note Merrill Lynch stock and commodity exchange account statements, transaction receipts, and correspondence; J. A. Hogle & Company transaction records, receipts for securities, and account statements; miscellaneous stock record book, purchase receipts, and relevant correspondence; book royalty receipts and records, tax notices, statements, and forms, receipts for donations to Brigham Young University, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Boy Scouts of America, and wage...

Sidney B. Sperry financial records and memorabilia, 1936-1961

 Series
Identifier: UA 618 Series 8
Scope and Contents note Banking documents (deposit receipts, account statements, savings certificates, check ledgers, interest statements, correspondence, and canceled checks); papers regarding the estate of Robert Braithewaite, Jr. (funds disbursement/receipt reports, property valuation and tax notices, check ledgers, bank statements, and correspondence); insurance receipts and membership certificates, home floor plan and prospective investment data, international money exhange receipts, car deeds, and notes; word...