Joseph E. Ransdell (October 7, 1858 - July 27, 1954) was a United States Representative and Senator from Louisiana. Born in Alexandria, Louisiana, he attended the public schools and graduated from Union College (Schenectady, New York) in 1882. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1883 and practiced at Lake Providence, Louisiana from 1883 to 1889. He was district attorney for the eighth judicial district of Louisiana from 1884 to 1896, and was interested in cotton planting and pecan groves. He was a member of the levee board, fifth levee district from 1896 to 1899 and was a member of the State constitutional convention in 1898.
Ransdell was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Samuel T. Baird; he was reelected to the Fifty-seventh and to the five succeeding Congresses and served from August 29, 1899, to March 3, 1913. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1912, having become a candidate for the U.S. Senate, to which he was elected in 1912, reelected in 1918 and 1924 and served from March 4, 1913, to March 3, 1931; he was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1930. While in Congress he was chairman of the Committee on Public Health and National Quarantine (Sixty-third through Sixty-fifth Congresses) and a member of the Committee on Mississippi River and Its Tributaries (Sixty-sixth Congress).
In 1920 founded a printing firm in Washington, D.C., and served as a director until 1931 when he returned to Lake Providence. He engaged in the real estate business, cotton planting, and pecan growing and was a member of the board of supervisors of Louisiana State University and Agricultural College at Baton Rouge from 1940 to 1944. He died in Lake Providence in 1954; interment was in Lake Providence Cemetery.
The definitive biography of Ransdell was written in 1951 by Adras Paul LaBorde, I, (1912-1993), long-time managing editor of the Alexandria Daily Town Talk.