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Albert Houston Roberts

Gov. Albert Houston Roberts

  • January 15, 1919 - January 15, 1921
  • Democratic
  • July 4, 1868
  • June 25, 1946
  • Tennessee
  • Hiwassee College
  • Married three times--Nora Deane Bowden, Winnifred Irene Cunningham, Mary Edwards Stanaland; five children


ALBERT HOUSTON ROBERTS was born in Alpine, Tennessee and received his early education there and in Columbus, Kansas, where his family lived for several years. In addition to earning an A.B. degree from Hiwassee College in 1889 and an A.M. degree in 1892, he studied law. He taught school for several years and served as Overton County Superintendent of Schools. He practiced law in Overton County from 1894 to 1910 and was Chancellor of the 4th Judicial District from 1910 until 1918, when he ran successfully for governor. As governor, he secured passage of legislation raising revenue to lengthen the term of rural schools. He also effected reorganization of the taxing system, establishing a highway commission. And he was a leader in the fight to ratify the women’s suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At the same time, his proposals for sweeping tax reform met with resistance within his own party, and he was criticized for his handling of strikes and labor unrest. As a result, there was strong opposition to his renomination by the Democratic Party in 1920, which–along with a number of actions on the part of the state legislature, including rejection of a tax that Roberts had proposed, resulted in his defeat in a Republican landslide. When his term of office ended, Roberts retired to Nashville and resumed his legal practice. He died at his home in Donelson and was buried in Livingston.


Braden, Kenneth S., The Wizard of Overton: Governor A.H. Roberts of Tennessee, a thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate School at Memphis University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, December 1983.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 40. New York: James T. White & Company.

Official Governor’s Papers for Albert Houston Roberts

Past Governors of Tennessee

Personal Papers for Albert H. Roberts

Philips, Margaret I. The Governors of Tennessee. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2001.

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

White, Robert H. Messages of the Governors of Tennessee, 1907-1921. Nashville: The Tennessee Historical Commission, Vol. 9, 1952.

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