Alben William Barkley (November 24, 1877 - April 30, 1956) was a Representative and a Senator from Kentucky and the thirty-fifth Vice President of the United States.
Barkley was born Willie Alben Barkley near Lowes, Graves County, Kentucky, and graduated from Marvin College, Clinton, Kentucky, in 1897. He attended Emory College, Oxford, Georgia (now Emory University), and the University of Virginia Law School, Charlottesville, Virginia. It was during this time that he legally changed his name from "Willie Alben" to "Alben William."
He was admitted to the bar in 1901 and commenced practice in Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky. He was prosecuting attorney for McCracken County from 1905 to 1909 and judge of McCracken County Court from 1909 to 1913. He was elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-third and to the six succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1913 - March 4, 1927) He did not seek renomination in 1926, having become a candidate for United States Senator. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1926, and was reelected in 1932, 1938, and again in 1944, and served from March 4, 1927 until his resignation on January 19, 1949. He was majority leader from 1937 to 1947 and minority leader from 1947 to 1949.
He was elected Vice President on the Democratic ticket with President Harry S. Truman in 1948, and was inaugurated January 20, 1949, for the term ending January 20, 1953. He ran for President in 1952, but because of his old age, he lost the Democratic nomination to Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois. He was again elected to the United States Senate and served from January 3, 1955 until his death in Lexington, Virginia. He was interred in Mount Kenton Cemetery, on Lone Oak Road, near Paducah, Kentucky. In his honor, the debating society at Emory University was renamed the Barkley Forum. Lake Barkley, a man-made lake on the Cumberland River at the Kentucky-Tennessee border and Barkley Dam at the same lake are also named in his honor.