Hall of Fame for Great Americans 1945

About the members of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans for 1945 including Booker T. Washington, Thomas Paine and others.



There were 93 electors, and once again a simple majority (of 47 votes) was required for election.

The outcome of 1945 brought some criticism to the Hall of Fame. No one questions the inclusion of the first black, Booker T. Washington, or the choice of Walter Reed. But the selection of Sidney Lanier while Henry David Thoreau declined in votes was noted. Thoreau and Lanier had each received 60 votes in 1940--a mere 5 shy of the needed three-fifths. Now, with only a majority needed, Lanier made it with 48 votes while Thoreau dropped to 36. Another surprise was the failure of Theodore Roosevelt to get in on his first try; he received only 30 votes.

Booker T. Washington, educator (57)

Thomas Paine, author (51). The selection of Paine is unusual in that he was first eligible in 1915 but was not nominated until 1920, when he got 32 votes. In 1925 he was not on the ballot; he came back in 1930 with 36 votes, then dropped to 15 in 1935 before having 50 in 1940 and 51 in 1945. Because Paine had been dead since 1809, one might have assumed his place in history was fixed and not liable to a seesaw fluctuation in voting.

Walter Reed, physician (49)

Sidney Lanier, poet (48)

Once again it was Henry George who was runner-up among those who never made it. He had 25 votes in 1945 after his peak of 45 in 1935. From here on it was downhill for George. Louisa May Alcott, who had come so close in 1920 with 44 votes, was given 1 vote, as were S. Weir Mitchell, a prominent physiologist and neurologist, and William Brewster, a Pilgrim Father.

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