EUGENE TALMADGE, Georgia's 55th governor, was born in Forsyth, Georgia, on September 23, 1884. In 1907, he graduated from the University of Georgia, where he earned a LL.B. degree. He established a legal career and also farmed in Montgomery County. Talmadge entered public service in 1918 as solicitor of the city court of McRae, a position he held for two years. He also served as attorney for Telfair County from 1920 to 1923, was elected as a three-term commissioner of agriculture in 1926, and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1936 and 1938. Talmadge won the 1932 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected Governor of Georgia. He was reelected in 1934, 1940 and 1946. During his tenure, federal subsidies were used for improvements in state services, the cost of license tags were reduced, as well as utility charges and property taxes. He also used martial law to control a textile strike. Talmadge damaged his political legacy when he tried to fire two university professors for having integration beliefs. When the Board of Regents declined to go along with Talmadge's order, he fired the entire board, replacing them with members who would abide by his demands. Ten public colleges and universities ended up losing their accreditation over the incident and Talmadge lost his first ever-gubernatorial contest. He was beaten soundly in his 1942 reelection bid; however, he won reelection in 1946, but passed away before taking office. Governor Eugene Talmadge, father of Georgia Governor Herman Eugene Talmadge (1947, 1948-1955) died on December 21, 1946, and he is buried at the McRae City Cemetery.

Sources:

Georgia Archives (private papers)

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Spartacus Educational

Governors' Portraits