James H. Kyle Collection

James H. Kyle, born in Cedarville, Ohio, on February 24, 1854, was a Congregational minister and a politician who served in the United States Senate from 1891 to 1901 representing South Dakota. Kyle graduated from Oberlin College in 1878 and Western Theological Seminary in 1882. He pastored congregations in Utah and South Dakota. He began a political career in the South Dakota State Senate in 1890 and was elected to the United States Senate in 1891. As a senator, Kyle is best known as one of the main sponsors of the bill signed in 1894 to create the Labor Day national holiday on the first Monday in September, thus becoming recognized as the father of Labor Day. Markers at the edge of Cedarville, Ohio, indicate "Birthplace of U. S. Senator James H. Kyle, Father of Labor Day". He died in 1901 at the age of 47. In 1947, a portrait of Kyle, painted by Cedarville, Ohio, artist and Cedarville College alumnus, Elmer Jurkat, was presented to the public in Cedarville. The portrait is now part of the collection of the Cedarville University archives.

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