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John Lanneau McMillan Papers

Identifier: SCU-SCPC-JLM

The collection consists of 10 linear feet of records, 1938-2006, chiefly documenting McMillan's career in Congress. General Correspondence, 1938-1972, regards legislation proposed or before Congress, campaign issues, and personal matters. The series Constituent Service consists of correspondence pertaining chiefly to requests for assistance in dealing with one or more government agencies on issues ranging from social security to veterans' affairs. Also included in this series are requests for help in securing employment or entry into one of the nation's military academies.

Topical files on various bills, issues, agencies and locales include correspondence, memoranda, publications and press releases, chiefly 1965-1972. Of particular interest are records, 1955-1972, relating to the governance of the District of Columbia. A brief history of the committee under McMillan’s chairmanship is entitled Legislation Relating to the District of Columbia from 1946-1972. The origins and form of government for the District are explained in the Legislative Calendar for 1972. Topical files also include records of public hearings before the South Carolina Congressional Delegation in the 1960s on topics including electricity and soil and water conservation. Extensive files of constituent correspondence regard opposition to the minimum wage bill of 1961.

The collection also includes numerous newspaper clippings, loose and bound in three scrapbooks, and a small number of photographs.

Vertical File Materials contain information gathered by SCPC relating to McMillan and may duplicate information already present in the collection.


  • Majority of material found within 1938 - 1972
  • 1938 - 2006


Copyright of the John Lanneau McMillan Papers has been transferred to the University of South Carolina.


Library Use Only


10 Linear Feet


John Lanneau McMillan represented South Carolina's 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives for seventeen consecutive terms between 1939 and 1973. McMillan was called the "Mayor of DC" in recognition of his key role in the management of Washington, D.C., as chairman of the House Committee on the District of Columbia. He served as chair for over twenty years.

Biographical Note

John L. McMillan represented South Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives for seventeen consecutive terms between 1939 and 1973. McMillan was called the “Mayor of DC” in recognition of his key role in the management of Washington, D.C. as chairman of the House Committee on the District of Columbia. He served as chair for over twenty years, 1945-1946, 1949-1952 and 1955-1972. In addition to his leadership on that committee, McMillan served for many years on the Agriculture Committee, and was chair of the Forestry sub-committee and vice-chair of the Tobacco sub-committee.

McMillan was born near Mullins. His exact date of birth is a matter of dispute but is given in the Biographical Directory of the American Congress as 12 Apr. 1898. McMillan attended Mullins public schools and the universities of North and South Carolina. In 1923 he received his law degree from The University of South Carolina. That same year he became secretary to the Sixth District's popular congressman Allard H. Gasque. McMillan served in that position until Gasque’s death in 1938 just hours after the close of the final session of the Seventy-fifth Congress. On September 13th, Gasque’s widow won a special election to complete the brief unexpired portion of her husband's term. On that same day McMillan won the Democratic primary and in November won the general election for the seat.

McMillan’s 1938 campaign had emphasized his years of experience on the hill working as Gasque’s secretary with Congress and constituents. Once elected, McMillan quickly gained a reputation for providing excellent constituent service and he cemented his popularity in the district. McMillan saw insignificant opposition in his reelection campaigns between 1940 and 1966. In 1968 and 1970 he faced increasingly serious opposition and in 1972 McMillan was challenged in the Democratic primary by William Craig and John Jenrette. Some observers thought him vulnerable. McMillan ran on his record and stressed the value of his seniority and position as vice-chairman of the Agriculture Committee. He noted his authorship of bills such as the 1971 Federal Land Bank and Intermediate Land Bank Act to provide farmers long term loans of land and equipment. McMillan's lengthy tenure on the Committee of the District of Columbia became an issue in the campaign. His opponents argued that the time and effort devoted to the District of Columbia detracted from McMillan’s service to the Sixth District. Over 80,000 votes were cast in the general primary which forced a runoff pitting McMillan against Jenrette. Again, there was a heavy turnout. McMillan lost the election by less than one thousand votes of over 70,000 cast.


Donated by Mrs. John L. McMillan and John L. McMillan, Jr.

Processing Information

Processed by H.J. Hartsook, 1991; revised by Virginia Blake, 2009.

Repository Details

Part of the South Carolina Political Collections Repository

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA

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