O. Douglas Weeks

KEY, VALDIMER ORLANDO, JR. (1908–1963). V. O. Key, Jr., political scientist, was born on March 13, 1908, in Austin, Texas, the son of V. O. and Olive (Terry) Key. He spent his early life in Lamesa. He attended McMurry College for two years and then the University of Texas, where he received B.A. and M.A. degrees in 1929 and 1930; in 1934 he graduated from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in political science. While there he met Luella Gettys, also a political scientist, and they were married on October 27, 1934. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Key taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (1934–36), Johns Hopkins (1938–49), Yale (1949–51), and Harvard (after 1951); he served terms at the latter three schools as department chairman. In 1958 he was elected president of the American Political Science Association. He served under President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the staffs of the National Resources Planning Board (1937–38) and the Bureau of the Budget (1942–45). Under President John F. Kennedy he was a member of the Committee on Political Campaign Expenditures. He published numerous articles and books. His Southern Politics in State and Nation (1949) won the Woodrow Wilson Award of the American Political Science Association. He also wrote Politics, Parties, and Pressure Groups (1942), A Primer of Statistics for Political Scientists (1954), American State Politics: An Introduction (1956), and Public Opinion and American Democracy (1961). Southern Politics in State and Nation includes a chapter on Texas politics. Key was Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History and Government at Harvard University when he died, on October 4, 1963, in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Alcalde (magazine of the Ex-Students' Association of the University of Texas), December 1950. American Political Science Review, March 1964. Biographical Directory of the American Political Science Association, 4th ed. (Washington: American Political Science Association, 1961). New York Times, October 4, 1963. Who's Who in America, 1960–61.

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Handbook of Texas Online, O. Douglas Weeks, "KEY, VALDIMER ORLANDO, JR.," accessed September 26, 2018,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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