Stewart Lee Udall
Son of Levi Stewart Udall and Louisa Lee
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Historical records matching Stewart Udall, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
About Stewart Udall, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Stewart Lee Udall (January 31, 1920 – March 20, 2010) was an American politician. After serving three terms as a congressman from Arizona, he served as Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969, under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Early life and career
Born January 31, 1920, in Saint Johns, Arizona, to Levi Stewart Udall (1891–1960) and Louise Lee Udall (1893–1974). He had five siblings: Inez, Elma, Morris, Eloise, and David Burr. As a young boy Stewart worked on the family farm in St. Johns. Stewart was remembered by his mother as a child with tremendous energy and an unquenchable curiosity.
Stewart Udall attended the University of Arizona for two years until World War II. He served four years in the Air Force as an enlisted gunner on a B-24 Liberator, flying fifty missions over Western Europe from Italy with the 736th Bomb Squadron, 454th Bomb Group, for which he received the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. He returned to the University of Arizona in 1946, where he played guard on a championship basketball team and attended law school. In 1947, Udall, along with his brother Mo, helped integrate the University of Arizona cafeteria. Mo and Stewart were respected student athletes (and Mo was student body president) at the time. On their way to lunch at the Student Union one day, they saw a group of black students eating their lunch outside. Black students were allowed to buy food in the cafeteria but had to eat outside. They invited a black freshman, Morgan Maxwell Jr., to share their table in the cafeteria, helping calm some long simmering racial issues surrounding segregation at the University.
Udall received his law degree and was admitted to the Arizona bar in 1948. He began his law practice in Tucson shortly thereafter. Udall became increasingly active in public service, being elected to the School Board of Amphitheater Public Schools (District 10) in Tucson in June 1951. As a school board member, he participated in desegregating the Amphitheater School District before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education. Udall was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona's Second District in 1954. He served with distinction in the House for three terms on the Interior and Education and Labor committees.
Secretary of the Interior
Udall served as Secretary of the Interior under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1969.
Under his leadership, the Interior Department aggressively promoted an expansion of federal public lands and assisted with the enactment of major environmental legislation. Among his accomplishments, Udall oversaw the addition of four national parks, six national monuments, eight national seashores and lakeshores, nine national recreation areas, 20 national historic sites, and 56 national wildlife refuges, including Canyonlands National Park in Utah, North Cascades National Park in Washington, Redwood National Park in California, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail stretching from Georgia to Maine.
Udall played a key role in the enactment of environmental laws such as the Clear Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts and Amendments, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, the National Trail System Act of 1968, and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.
Soon after becoming the Secretary of Interior, Udall told the Washington Redskins owner, George Preston Marshall, that he had to integrate the football team as every other franchise in the NFL had already done, or risk being evicted from the Washington, D.C., stadium, which was federally owned. Marshall integrated the team in 1962.
During Udall's tenure as Secretary of the Interior, in September 1962, he was summoned unexpectedly into a meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev while on a tour of the Soviet Union. It was during this meeting that Khrushchev famously hinted at his secret deployment of nuclear missiles to Cuba by telling Udall: "It's been a long time since you could spank us like a little boy. Now we can swat your ass." This was a prelude to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Udall also helped spark a cultural renaissance in America by setting in motion initiatives that led to the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap Farm Park, the National Endowments for Arts and the Humanities, and the revived Ford's Theatre. Upon Udall's recommendation President Kennedy asked former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Frost to read an original poem at his inauguration, establishing a precedent for that occasion.
A pioneer of the environmental movement, Udall warned of a conservation crisis in the 1960s with his best-selling book on environmental attitudes in the United States, The Quiet Crisis (1963). In the book, he wrote about the dangers of pollution, overuse of natural resources, and dwindling open spaces. Along with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, The Quiet Crisis is credited with creating a consciousness in the country leading to the environmental movement. Udall was a staunch supporter of Rachel Carson and her work. Stewart Udall once stated, "Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man."
Udall also had the foresight, when he was Secretary of the Interior, to spearhead the use of NASA satellites to produce images of Earth from space for scientific research, leading to development of the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) center at the U.S. Geological Survey. Over the course of more than 40 years, that program has mapped the Earth from space, showing the physical changes to the planet.
During the energy crisis in the 1970s, Udall advocated the use of solar energy as one remedy to the crisis. In October 1972, Udall published a seminal article in The Atlantic Monthly, called "The Last Traffic Jam." The article contained arguments for the proposition that "less is more" and foresaw problems with U.S. transportation and energy policy and competition with emerging markets for scarce resources. In 1974, Udall, along with Charles Conconi and David Osterhout, wrote The Energy Balloon, discussing the United States' energy policies.
After leaving government service in 1969, Udall taught for a year at the School of Forestry at Yale University as a Visiting Professor of Environmental Humanism. He later devoted his time to writing books and articles about environmental issues and to practicing law. In 1971, he published America's Natural Treasures: National Nature Monuments and Seashores about America's national parks, monuments, and reserves.
In 1979, he left Washington to return to the West. In 1980, Udall was elected to the Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board and commissioned as a member of the Arizona Parks Task Force. Udall was presented with the Ansel Adams Award in 1986, the Wilderness Society's highest conservation award. He was also awarded the United Nations Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement. Udall received the Common Cause Public Service Achievement Award for his lifelong protection of the environment and defense of American citizens who were victims of nuclear weapons testing.
In 1987, he published To the Inland Empire: Coronado and our Spanish Legacy, which retraces the trails of Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado as he searched for the "golden cities" of Cibola in what is now Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Udall published The Quiet Crisis and the Next Generation in 1988, a revised edition with nine new chapters of The Quiet Crisis (1963). In 1990, he co-authored Beyond the Mythic West, which examines effects of change upon the inhabitants and land of the western United States. In 1998, he published The Myths of August: A Personal Exploration of Our Tragic Cold War Affairs with the Atom.
One of Udall's last essays was his "Letter to My Grandchildren", written with his wife Ermalee, which asked for their grandchildren's assistance in advocating for protection of the Earth. This letter resulted in Udall being contacted by the VillageTown Stewards who asked that they videotape the thoughts in that letter, since it was more likely that the generation of his grandchildren watch internet videos than read letters. Udall agreed, and the video can be seen on line at:
This video was then transcribed and adapted to a chapter of a book, Life Liberty Happiness. Udall also agreed to serve as Chairman Emeritus of the VillageTown Stewards. The video was filmed coincidentally on the Summer Solstice 2009, and Udall died nine months later on the Spring equinox. His public memorial was held on the Summer Solstice 2010. It is believed this video was the last recording of Udall's views.
In November 2009, Congress enacted legislation to honor Stewart Udall by renaming the Morris K. Udall Foundation as the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, in recognition of the historic Interior Secretary's contributions. The Udall Foundation, an independent federal agency, was created initially to honor the legacy of the late Morris Udall, who represented Southern Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years. Stewart Udall, who also represented Southern Arizona in Congress from 1955 to 1961, is Morris Udall's older brother. The two worked together on many environmental and Native American initiatives while Stewart Udall was Secretary of the Interior and Morris Udall a member of Congress. Congress recognized that the Udall legacy was really a shared legacy, rooted in the work of the Udall brothers that dominated environmental reform for three decades.
Stewart L. Udall died peacefully at his home in the foothills of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the early hours of the Spring Equinox, March 20, 2010, at the age of 90, surrounded by his family. After his death, President Obama noted, "For the better part of three decades, Stewart Udall served this nation honorably. Whether in the skies above Italy in World War II, in Congress or as Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall left an indelible mark on this nation and inspired countless Americans who will continue his fight for clean air, clean water and to maintain our many natural treasures." President Barack Obama, March 20, 2010.
On June 8, 2010, the President of the United States signed legislation to designate the United States Department of the Interior Building as the "Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building."
Stewart Udall was married to Ermalee Webb (died 2001) with whom he had four sons (Tom, Scott, Denis and Jay) and two daughters (Lynn and Lori).
He was the brother of U.S. Representative and 1976 presidential candidate Mo Udall; he served as Mo's campaign manager during the Democratic primary election, which Mo lost to Jimmy Carter. Stewart Udall's son Tom Udall and nephew Mark Udall (Mo's son), both former members of the U.S. House of Representatives, were elected to the United States Senate from New Mexico and Colorado, respectively, in 2008.
Books Written by Stewart L. Udall
The Quiet Crisis, 1963
1976: Agenda for Tomorrow, 1968
America's Natural Treasures: National Nature Monuments and Seashores, 1971
To the Inland Empire: Coronado and our Spanish Legacy, 1987
The Quiet Crisis and the Next Generation, 1988 (Revised edition with nine new chapters of The Quiet Crisis (1963))
In Coronado's Footsteps, 1991
The Myths of August:--A Personal Exploration of Our tragic Cold War Affair with the Atom, 1994
Majestic Journey, 1995, (Reissued To the Inland Empire under new title)
The Forgotten Founders: Rethinking The History Of The Old West, 2002
Books Co-Authored by Stewart L. Udall
A Heritage Restored: America's Wildlife Refuges, 1969, Murphy Robert William, Stewart L. Udall (Foreword)
The Energy Balloon, 1974, with Charles Conconi and David Osterhout
Beyond the Mythic West, 1988, with Patricia Nelson Limerick, Charles F. Wilkinson
Arizona, Wild & Free, 1993, with nephew Randy Udall for the Arizona Game and Fish Department
National Parks of America, 1993, David Muench with contributors James R. Udall and Stewart L. Udall The Wilderness from Chamberlain Farm: A Story Of Hope For The American Wild, 2001, Dean B. Bennett, Stewart L. Udall (Foreword)
Death, Daring, & Disaster - Search and Rescue in the National Parks, 2005, Charles R. "Butch" Farabee Jr., Stewart L. Udall (Foreword)
The Navajo People and Uranium Mining, 2007, with editors Doug Brugge, Timothy Benally, and Esther Yazzie-Lewis, Stewart L. Udall (Foreword)
Life Liberty Happiness - A journey from Blandville to a VillageTown, 2010, Claude Lewenz, and Michael Henderson, Stewart L. Udall (co-authors)
Books about Stewart L. Udall & Ermalee Udall
Legacies of Camelot: Stewart and Lee Udall, American Culture, and the Arts, 2008, by L. Boyd Finch
Point Udall, the easternmost place in the United States, was named for him.
Udall was featured in the Ken Burns' documentary for PBS, The National Parks: America's Best Idea.
Udall's death left W. Willard Wirtz as the last surviving member of John F. Kennedy's cabinet. Wirtz died on April 24, 2010. Udall was the last surviving original member of Kennedy's cabinet.
Born in St. Johns, Arizona, he is the son of Levi Stewart Udall. He was educated at the University of Arizona, and he saw combat as a gunner in the Army Air Corps during the Italian Campaign of World War II. Stewart Udall graduated from the University of Arizona Law School in 1948, and began his own law practice in Tucson shortly thereafter.
Udall became increasingly active in public service, being elected to the School Board of Amphitheater Public Schools (District 10) in Tucson in June 1951. He became the President of Amphitheater School Board in 1952. Udall also served as U.S. Representative from Arizona from 1955 to 1961
Secretary of the Interior
Udall served as Secretary of the Interior under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1969, when he described his nation's ecological attitudes as the "myth of superabundance".
He lent his support and advice to one of the earliest efforts to save a complex natural resource, The Great Swamp of New Jersey. After a year-long legal battle that pitted local residents against the powerful New York Port Authority officials who wished to turn the Great Swamp into a major regional airport to replace Newark Airport with one that could accommodate large jet aircraft. The Jersey Jet Site Association was the first to form in opposition and it was followed closely by the North American Wildlife Foundation. Between the two organizations, enough property in the core of the swamp quickly was purchased, assembled, and donated to the federal government to qualify for perpetual protection as a park. The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was established by an Act of Congress on November 3, 1960. As the congressman from Arizona and later as the Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, championed the efforts of these residents, whom he described as having mounted the greatest effort ever made by residents in America to protect a natural habitat.
Later, the effort was mentioned frequently in his discussions of the environmental issues that needed to be resolved before irreplaceable resources were lost and the commitment of citizens to protect them. This federal refuge consists of 7,600 acres or almost 12 square miles (30.4 km²) of varied habitats in the center of a fifty-five square mile watershed. The Great Swamp is a migration-resting and feeding area or permanent habitat for more than 244 species of birds. The major routes of birds migrating along the eastern portion of the United States follow the corridor that includes the Great Swamp as a major stopping place for rest and nutrition. Many species of insects, animals, and birds reside permanently in the watershed area. Its role in draining the region and absorbing quick floods for gradual release can be critical during extreme weather conditions.
Udall was largely responsible for the enactment of environmental laws in Johnson's Great Society legislative agenda, including the Clear Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts and Amendments, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the Land and Water Conservation [Fund] Act of 1965, the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, the National Trail System Act of 1968, and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.
It was also during Udall's tenure as Secretary of the Interior when, in September 1962, he was summoned unexpectedly into a meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev during a tour of the Soviet Union. It was during this meeting that Khrushchev famously hinted at his secret deployment of nuclear missiles to Cuba by telling Udall that: "It's been a long time since you could spank us like a little boy. Now we can swat your ass." This was a prelude to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In 1974, Udall, along with Charles Conconi and David Osterhout, wrote "The Energy Balloon" discussing the United State's energy policies.