Lynn Upshaw Stambaugh was born in Abilene, Kansas, on July 4, 1890. His father, Winfield Scott Stambaugh, was a Western pioneer who served as a time as the marshal of Abilene. The family moved to Fargo, where Lynn Stambaugh graduated from Fargo High School.
He attended the University of North Dakota, graduating on June 18, 1913, with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the College of Law. While at UND, Stambaugh was a member of Sigma Chi, a Greek social fraternity, and Phi Delta Phi, an honorary law society. He also acted as manager for the women’s basketball team in 1911.
He became the fourth generation of his family to practice law. He worked for two years in Fargo as a notary republic, salesman, and deputy clerk of the Fargo district court. In 1915, he married Enid Ericson. That same year, he joined the law firm of Pierce, Tenneson, Cupler, and Stambaugh. He entered the United States Army on September 4, 1917, and was sent to Camp Dodge, Iowa. He was a member of Battery E, 338th Field Artillery and saw combat duty with this unit in France from May 23, 1918, until July 11, 1918. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on July 12, 1918, and fought with the 142nd Field Artillery until his discharge on June 21, 1919.
He returned to Fargo and a position with Pierce, Tenneson, Cupler, and Stambaugh. In 1934, he was elected commander of the North Dakota American Legion. He was elected National Commander of the American Legion in 1941. Before and after the outbreak of World War II, Stambaugh headed the Legion’s efforts in the war effort and civilian defense activities.
In 1944, Stambaugh was a candidate for the Republican nomination for United States Senate. He lost the nomination to incumbent Senator Gerald P. Nye. He filed as an Independent, and attacked Nye’s isolationist views. The Grand Forks Herald was among his most ardent supporters, writing that the defeat of Nye was critical for the cause of international cooperation. Stambaugh finished a distant third in the fall election, but his candidacy split Republican support for Nye. As a result, the Democratic candidate, former Governor John Moses, won the election.
In 1945, President Truman appointed him first vice president and member of the board of the United States Export-Import Bank in Washington, D.C. He remained in this position until 1960, when he joined a Phoenix law firm and served as their representative in the nation’s capital.
Lynn Stambaugh died May 27, 1971, in his Washington home. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
The University of North Dakota Alumni Review
Lynn Stambaugh obituary, Washington Post, 29 May 1971
History of North Dakota by Elwyn B. Robinson
The Lynn U. Stambaugh Papers date from 1910-1964 and contain awards and certificates, from 1910-1957, as well as general correspondence, from 19412-1964. The collection also contains material relating to a tour of South American by the United States Export-Import Bank. This includes correspondence by Enid Stambaugh and an itinerary of the tour. Miscellaneous materials, including tourism pamphlets, are also included.
Six scrapbooks were placed on the shelves adjacent to the collection. Three scrapbooks regard Stambaugh’s service in the American Legion, while the remaining three document his career with the United States Export-Import Bank.
Item 1: Scrapbook: American Legion, 1940s
Item 2: Scrapbook: American Legion, National Commander, Homecoming Celebration, 9/26/41 - 10/9/41
Item 3: Scrapbook: American Legion, National Commander, Term, 1941-1942
Item 4: Scrapbook: United States Export-Import Bank, 1950s
Item 5: Scrapbook: United States Export Import Bank, Signing of Kansai-Westinghouse Loan Agreement
Item 6: United States Export-Import Bank, Argentinian Factory Opening, July, 1960