Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Gensman, Lorraine Michael

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

L. M. Gensman
(image courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives).


Born on a farm near Wichita, Kansas, on August 26, 1878, U.S. Rep. Lorraine Michael "Nick" Gensman was the son of Nicholas and Kansas Osborne Gensman. The future congressman attended various rural schools, the Garden Plain Graded School, the Wichita Commercial College, Lewis Academy, and the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia. After he left the normal school, he served as principal of the Andale, Kansas, schools in 1896 and 1897. Following graduation from the law department at the University of Kansas in 1901, he opened a law practice in Lawrence, Kansas.

The lure of the land attracted the young attorney. Two weeks before the Kiowa and Comanche lands in southwestern Oklahoma were opened on August 6, 1901, Gensman arrived with a group of other pioneers. Although he opened a law office in Lawton, he served as a federal bankruptcy referee from 1902 to 1907. During this time he married fellow University of Kansas graduate Lucia Van Cleef on April 6, 1904.

Gensman first sought elective office in 1918 when he became Comanche County attorney, a position he held only one term. In 1920 he launched a campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives and defeated Democrat Elmer Thomas in the Republican landslide. During his one term in Congress Gensman was a member of two committees, Indian Affairs and Insular Affairs. Although he was not reelected in 1922, he again made an unsuccessful campaign for the seat in 1936. He never held an elective office after 1922, but he remained a staunch advocate of the Republican Party.

He continued to practice law until his retirement in 1953. He also was involved in the oil business. In addition, the former lawmaker and his wife made several trips abroad. During World War II he hosted a Lawton radio show and commented on the world as seen through the eyes of a traveler. He died in Lawton on May 27, 1954, and was interred in Highland Cemetery.

Carolyn G. Hanneman

Learn More

Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774–1996 (Alexandria, Va.: CQ Staff Directories, 1997).

Lorraine Michael Gensman Papers, Congressional Archives, Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center, University of Oklahoma, Norman.

Lorraine Michael Gensman Papers, Museum of the Great Plains, Lawton, Oklahoma.


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Carolyn G. Hanneman, “Gensman, Lorraine Michael,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=GE005.

Published January 15, 2010

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.