HOLLINGS (copy)

Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C., gestures as he announces that he that will not seek re-election, during a news conference, Monday, Aug. 4, 2003, in Columbia, S.C. Hollings was first elected to the Senate in 1966 (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Jan. 1, 1922 

Ernest Frederick "Fritz" Hollings is born in Charleston, the son of Adolph and Wilhelmine Hollings. Adolph Hollings ran A.G. Hollings Paper Co. The family lived on President Street in the Hampton Park Terrance neighborhood. 

1942

Fritz Hollings graduates from The Citadel. Immediately receives a commission and joins the U.S. Army to take part in World War II. An artillery officer, he served in both the North African and European campaigns in World War II. He received the Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.

1947

Graduates from University of South Carolina Law School and opens a practice in Charleston.

1948

Elected to the S.C. General Assembly as a Democratic representative from Charleston. He quickly rises to become Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives.

1950

Authors anti-lynching legislation in response to the murder of Willie Earle in Pickens County a few years earlier. 

1951

His legislation to create a 3 percent sales tax, the proceeds of which will benefit schools, passed the Legislature with the help of new Gov. James Byrnes.

1954

Elected lieutenant governor.

1958

Elected governor, serving from 1959 to 1963. At 37, he was South Carolina's youngest governor of the 20th century.

1960

Served as a campaign surrogate and avid backer of John F. Kennedy for president.

 1962

Ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate. He was defeated in the primary by incumbent Olin D. Johnston.

1966

Wins special election to the U.S. Senate to complete the unexpired term of Johnston, who died in office. Wins election to a full term in 1968. His career in Washington, D.C., would last until 2004.

1967

Rita Louise Liddy, known as “Peatsy,” joins Hollings’ staff as an administrative assistant. Four years later she became the senator's second wife.

Votes against putting the first African-American on the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall. Decades later he would reveal his guilt about it.

1969

Tours poor areas of South Carolina on what he calls a "poverty tour," which leads to advocacy for anti-poverty programs and, a year later, the book "The Case Against Hunger."

1970s

Becomes Senate desk partner with Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, beginning of life-long friendship.

He would continue his press to expand federal anti-hunger programs, a continuation of his poverty tour movement in South Carolina. He was instrumental in passing legislation to the create the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children, later known as WIC.

1984

Hollings announces bid for Democratic nomination for president. Campaign fails to get traction and he drops out early in the process. 

1985

Joins with two Senate Republicans in creating the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, better known as the Gramm-Rudman Hollings bill. Sens. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and Warran Rudman, R- N.H., were the co-authors of the bill, which mandated drastic sequestration measures if targets weren't meant. For various reasons the effort fell apart and Hollings would go on to "divorce" himself from it.

1989

Gains national attention for calling Federal Emergency Management Agency leaders "bureaucratic (expletive)" for their response to Hurricane Hugo. 

August 1999

Hollings' Isle of Palms home is lost in a fire that was whipped by strong offshore winds, taking out several homes in the neighborhood. No one is injured but Hollings escapes with only the clothes on his back. Multiple personal items from his political career are lost. 

2004

After announcing at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles he would seek re-election, Hollings sees the Republican wave growing in the South and changes course. He retires from the Senate after 38 years.

October 2012

Wife Peatsy Hollings passes away after long battle with Alzheimer's disease. The retired senator spent the latter part of his years as an advocate for exploring cures.

April 2017

After requesting his name be taken off the federal courthouse in Charleston and the honor bestowed on Civil Rights-era Judge J. Waties Waring, a bronze statue of Hollings is erected in the courtyard garden.

April 6, 2019

Hollings dies at 97.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Get the best of The Post and Courier, handpicked and delivered to your inbox every morning.


We're improving out commenting experience.

We’ve temporarily removed comments from articles while we work on a new and better commenting experience. In the meantime, subscribers are encouraged to join the conversation at our Post and Courier Subscribers group on Facebook.