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Teapot Dome Scandal #334: T. Blake Kennedy Papers

Teapot Dome was the site of a government-owned oil field that was part of the U.S. Naval Petroleum Reserve. Under the administration of President Warren G. Harding, the oil was designated to be held in reserve for naval ships in times of war.

Albert Fall, Harding’s Secretary of the Interior, had other ideas. He arranged to lease drilling rights on the field to Harry Sinclair of Mammoth Oil. The favorable terms on the lease were in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in “gifts” to Fall’s family. When rumor of this transaction reached Congress there was a public uproar.

Eventually, a case was brought before the U.S. federal judge from Wyoming, T. Blake Kennedy. In June of 1925, Kennedy ruled against the charge of collusion between Sinclair and Fall. But that was not the end of the case. Eventually, the Supreme Court overturned Kennedy’s ruling.

Read Judge T. Blake Kennedy’s papers at UW’s American Heritage Center to learn more about his role in the Teapot Dome Scandal of the 1920s.