Wilbur Daigh Mills, a Hendrix College alumnus, was chairman of the United States House Ways and Means Committee for eighteen years. Hendrix’s social sciences academic building is named in his honor and includes a replica of Mill’s congressional office. The college also maintains a significant collection of Mills’ professional papers. This collection, housed in Bailey Library, is available for research (by appointment).
Mills, a resident of Kensett, Arkansas who attended both Hendrix College and Harvard Law School, was known as one of America’s greatest statesmen. With 38 years distinguished service in the United States House of Representatives, he was commonly referred to as the most influential man in America. Mills was the longest consecutive sitting chairman in the history of the House’s powerful Committee on Ways and Means (1958-1975). Serving under seven U.S. Presidents, he compiled a legendary record of legislative accomplishment, notably including authoring the Medicare and Social Security programs and significant work on federal taxation.
Under Mills’ tenure, Arkansans enjoyed many tangible benefits of his influence, including dams, highways, parks, and the development of the Ozark Folk Center. As can be witnessed in his voluminous correspondence, Mills took a deep personal interest in the people he so capably served. Congressman Mills was indeed an extraordinary leader.