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The Thomas E. Watson Papers Digital Collection

About Thomas E. Watson

thomas watson portraitThomas E. Watson was born September 5, 1856, two miles outside Thomson, Georgia. After attending Mercer and then reading law, Watson was admitted to the Bar and returned to Thomson in 1877 to begin a successful law practice. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1882, the U.S. House of Representatives from 1890-1892 and the U.S. Senate from 1920 until his death in 1922. Having emerged as the leader of the Southern Populists, Watson was nominated in 1896 for Vice President on the Populist Party ticket with William Jennings Bryan. He ran for President on the same ticket in 1904 and 1908. Although Watson held political office for just five of his 66 years, he dominated Georgia's political scene for more than 25 years. In addition to being a statesman and the premier trial lawyer of Georgia in his day, Watson was a prolific writer. He authored a two volume history of France, biographies of Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, and numerous other books, pamphlets and published speeches. Watson published and edited his weekly newspaper, The Jeffersonian, and his monthly Watson's Magazine.

—Courtesy of the Watson-Brown Foundation [view source]

The image above and to the right is a portrait of Watson from this collection. View the image here.

Silent Film Clip

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The clip to the left is from a Selznick news reel found among collected materials on Theodore Roosevelt. View Watson, his granddaughters, and Hickory Hill as they appeared at the time of Roosevelt's death. Click on the controls to play.

Archival film material from the collections of the Library of Congress.

Additional Resources

"Thomas E. Watson," New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
Available at:

"Tom Watson," Hickory Hill website. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
Available at:

Woodward, C. Vann. Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel. New York: MacMillan Company, 1938.
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The Thomas E. Watson Papers [signature]