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. 


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.


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


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.


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


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.


Elected lieutenant governor.


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


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


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


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.


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.


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."


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.


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


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.


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. 


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.

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