Byrd, Harry Flood, 1887-1966, U.S. Senator from Virginia (1933-65), b. Martinsburg, W.Va.; brother of Richard E. Byrd. Educated at Shenandoah Academy in Winchester, Va., he became publisher of the Winchester Star and an important figure in state Democratic politics. His administration as governor (1926-30) was marked by the development of the state highway system. Appointed Senator in 1933, he was continually reelected until his retirement in 1965. He was a leading conservative Democrat and opposed the New Deal and later progressive measures. For many years he was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and he advocated government economy.
Byrd, Richard Evelyn, 1888-1957, American aviator and polar explorer, b. Winchester, Va. He took up aviation in 1917, and after World War I he gained great fame in the air. He commanded the naval air unit with the arctic expedition of D. B. MacMillan in 1925. He and Floyd Bennett reported their historic flight from Spitsbergen to the North Pole and back again in 1926; however, entries from his diary suggest that they may not actually have reached the pole. In 1927 Byrd and three companions made one of the spectacular early flights across the Atlantic. A record of his flights was presented in Skyward (1928). Two years later he led a well-equipped and efficiently organized expedition to Antarctica. Establishing a base at Little America, he discovered the Rockefeller Range and Marie Byrd Land, and late in 1929 he and Bernt Balchen flew to the South Pole and back. The large party gathered much scientific information.

In 1930 Byrd was promoted to rear admiral, and his book Little America was published. His second large expedition was organized in 1933, and headquarters were established once again at Little America. As winter approached, he set up an advance base 123 mi (198 km) closer to the South Pole and stayed there alone for several months making observations. Discovery (1935) and Alone (1938) were records of this fruitful expedition. In 1939-40 he was again in the antarctic, commanding a government expedition, and in 1946-47 he headed the U.S. navy expedition, the largest yet sent to the region (see Antarctica). In 1955, Byrd was placed in command of all U.S. antarctic activities, and in 1955-56 he led his fifth expedition to the region. Due mainly to his efforts, the U.S. navy organized (1955-59) Operation Deep Freeze.

See E. P. Hoyt, The Last Explorer (1968).

Byrd, Robert Carlyle, 1917-, U.S. senator from West Virginia (1959-), b. North Wilkesboro, N.C., as Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr. A Democrat, he served (1947-52) in the West Virginia legislature and (1953-59) in the U.S. House of Representatives before entering the Senate. In 1971 he defeated Senator Edward Kennedy for the position of Senate majority whip and was later Senate majority leader (1977-81, 1987-88) and Senate minority leader (1981-87). He also chaired the Senate appropriations committee (1989-95, 2001-3, 2007-9). Byrd is noted for his oratory and his skill in parliamentary maneuvering. He has written several books, including a history of the Senate (1989, based on his addresses) and Losing America (2004). Byrd has served longer in the U.S. Congress than any other person.
Byrd, William, 1543-1623, English composer, organist at Lincoln Cathedral and, jointly with Tallis, at the Chapel Royal. Although Roman Catholic, he composed anthems and services for the English Church in addition to his great Roman masses and Latin motets. He was esteemed by his contemporaries and was favored by Queen Elizabeth I, who, in 1575, granted to Byrd and Tallis a patent for the exclusive printing and selling of music. Byrd also composed instrumental music.

See studies by E. H. Fellowes (2d ed. 1948), O. W. Neighbor (1978), and J. Kerman (1981).

Byrd, William, 1652-1704, English planter in early Virginia. He came to America as a youth and took up lands he had inherited on both sides of the James River, including the site that would later be Richmond. In 1691 he moved to "Westover," long famous as the Byrd family home. His landed fortune was increased by his interest in trade, and he served (1703) as president of the Virginia council. Byrd's wealth, culture, and character made him the ideal tidewater aristocrat. He was the father of William Byrd (1674-1744).
Byrd, William, 1674-1744, American colonial writer, planter, and government official; son of William Byrd (1652-1704). After being educated in England, he became active in the politics of colonial America. He served as member of the House of Burgesses, as receiver-general of Virginia, as Virginia council member, and as colonial agent in England. Byrd inherited a great estate from his father and ultimately owned over 179,000 acres (72,000 hectares). In 1737 he had the city that was to be Richmond laid out on one of his estates. His service in 1728 as one of the commissioners to survey the North Carolina-Virginia boundary and his many trips into the backwoods provided the material for much of his writings; A History of the Dividing Line, A Journey to the Land of Eden, and A Progress to the Mines were all based on his diaries. Byrd's polished style and crisp wit, in addition to his valuable record of Southern life, have won him a reputation as one of the foremost colonial authors. At his death he left a library of some 4,000 volumes at his Westover estate.

See his diaries and other writings (1941, 1942, 1970); biography by P. Marambaud (1971).

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