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Richard Bolling Edit Profile

United States representative , politician

Richard Bolling, American congressman. Recipient Congressional Distinguished award Am Political Science Association, 1961; named to Sports Illustrated 25th Anniversary All-American Football Team. Lieutenant colonel Army of the United States, 1941-1946, PTO; Member Phi Beta Kappa.


Born in New York City as the great-great-grandson of John Williams Walker and great-great-nephew of Percy Walker, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire. At the age of fifteen, upon his father’s death, he returned to the family home in Huntsville, Alabama.


Bachelor of Arts of South, 1937. AM, University of South, 1939. Postgraduate, Vanderbilt University, 1940.

Doctor of Laws {honorary}, Rockhurst College, 1971.


He retired after serving for four years as the chairman of the powerful United States House Committee on Rules. He went on to further graduate studies, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1939–1940. An educational administrator by profession, Bolling taught at Sewanee Military Academy in 1938 and 1939, and then served as assistant to the head of the Department of Education at Florence State Teachers College, in Alabama, in 1940.

After retiring from Congress, Bolling was a visiting professor of political science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a professor of politics at Boston College in Massachusetts. In April 1941, Bolling entered the United States Army as a private and served until discharged as a lieutenant colonel in July 1946, with four years’ overseas service as assistant to the chief of staff to General Douglas MacArthur in Australia, New Guinea, Philippines, and in Japan. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star.

He served as veterans’ adviser at the University of Kansas City in 1946 and 1947. Bolling was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-first Congress in 1948 and to the sixteen succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1949 until January 3, 1983. In Congress, he served as chairman of the Select Committee on Committees of the House (in the Ninety-third Congress), Joint Economic Committee (in the Ninety-fifth Congress).

And the Committee on Rules (in the Ninety-sixth and Ninety-seventh Congresses). He introduced the discharge petition that released the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from the Senate's committees chaired by southern democrats, a vital step to passing the act. He was twice a candidate for House Majority leader, losing to Carl Albert in 1961 and to Jim Wright (by three votes) in 1977.

Due to heart disease, in 1981 he announced his retirement and was not a candidate for reelection in 1982 to the Ninety-eighth Congress. He remained a resident of Washington, D.C., until his death there on April 21, 1991.


  • The Richard Bolling Federal Building in Kansas City, Missouri is named in his honor.


Lieutenant colonel Army of the United States, 1941-1946, PTO. Member Phi Beta Kappa.


Son of Richard Walker and Florence {Easton} B. Married Nona Bolling. 1 child, Andrea; stepchildren: Jimmy Akin, John Akin.

Richard Walker Florence


Nona Bolling

Andrea Bolling

Jimmy Akin Bolling

John Akin Bolling