Humphrey was born in Wallace, South Dakota (Codington County). He attended the public schools of Doland, S.Dak, where his family had moved. After public school, he graduated from Capitol College of Pharmacy, Denver in 1933. He then became a pharmacist with the Humphrey Drug Co. in Huron, South Dakota, from 1933 to 1937.
Humphrey then returned to school, receiving a degree from the University of Minnesota in 1939. He also earned a graduate degree from Louisiana State University in 1940, serving as an assistant instructor of political science there. He then became an instructor at the University of Minnesota between 1940–1941.
During World War II, he became state director of war production training and reemployment and State chief of Minnesota war service program 1942; assistant director, War Manpower Commission 1943; professor in political science at Macalester (Minn.) College 1943–1944; radio news commentator 1944–1945.
After the war, he ran for and became mayor of Minneapolis 1945–1948; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1948; reelected in 1954, and 1960, and served from January 3, 1949 until December 29, 1964. He also served as Democratic whip between 1961–1964; and became well-known for his long and witty speeches on the Senate floor, he was known as "the Happy Warrior". He was chairman on the Select Committee on Disarmament (Eighty-fourth and Eighty-fifth Congresses); when he resigned to become Vice President.
He was elected Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket with Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and served from January 20, 1965, until January 20, 1969. In 1968, he ran for President of the United States winning the United States Democratic Party nomination at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, but lost the 1968 election to Richard M. Nixon.
While he was Vice President, Hubert Humphrey was the subject of a satirical song by songwriter/musician Tom Lehrer entitled "Whatever Became of Hubert?" ("I wonder how many people here tonight remember Hubert Humphrey. He used to be a senator..."). The song was addressing how some liberals and progressives felt let down by how Humphrey had gone from being a leading light of liberalism to a more moderate, establishment figure as Johnson's VP.
He then resumed teaching at Macalester College and the University of Minnesota 1969–1970; chairman, board of consultants, Encyclopędia Britannica Educational Corp.; elected in 1970 to the United States Senate; reelected in 1976 and served from January 3, 1971, until his death in office; the post of Deputy President pro tempore of the Senate was created for him and he held it from January 5, 1977, until his death in Waverly, Minnesota, January 13, 1978; chairman, Joint Economic Committee (Ninety-fourth Congress); unprecedented sessions of the House and Senate were held in his honor in October 1977, when he was gravely ill; lay in state in the Rotunda of the Capitol; interment in Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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