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Vandenberg, Arthur Hendrick (1884-1951) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Vandenberg, Arthur Hendrick (1884-1951)

Historical Note:

Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on March 22, 1884. Vandenberg attended one year at University of Michigan to study pre-law. In 1906 Vandenberg began to work for the Grand Rapids Herald where he was editor and publisher. Also in 1906 Vandenberg married Elizabeth Watson, and together they would have three children. Elizabeth passed away in 1917 and a year later Vandenberg got remarried to Hazel Whitaker. While working at the Herald, Vandenberg was a very successful editor and made the newspaper very profitable. He wrote most of the paper's news stories and solicited ads.

On March 31, 1928 Vandenberg became the fifth journalist to serve on the U.S. Senate. The 44-year-old republican, was appointed Senator to fill the vacancy from the death of Senator Woodbridge Nathan Ferris. While serving the Senate, Vandenberg went along with most of the early New Deal dealings, however he greatly opposed many aspects of the second New Deal. When it came to foreign policy, Vandenberg was initially a strong isolationist during the beginning of World War II. However, once Pearl Harbor was bombed, his views greatly shifted to an internationalism stance. At the start of the Cold War, Vandenberg was appointed chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1947 to 1949.

In 1950 Arthur H. Vandenberg announced he had cancer. He passed away on April 18, 1951 and was buried in Grand Rapids. Vandenberg  memory lives on with two public schools in Michigan that bear his name as well as a statue of him in downtown Grand Rapids.

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