ALVIN VICTOR DONAHEY was born on a farm near Cadwallader, Ohio. He left high school during his junior year to learn the printing trade and at the age of twenty bought his own print shop, where he published a local newspaper. He was elected clerk of the Goshen Township Board of Trustees in 1898, serving until 1903. From 1905 through 1909 he was the auditor of Tuscarawas County, and from 1902 to 1911 he was a member of the New Philadelphia Board of Education. In 1912 he served as a delegate to the Fourth Ohio Constitutional Convention and won election as State Auditor, serving until 1921. Donahey went on to win three consecutive terms as governor of Ohio. He became known as “Veto Vic,” vetoing seventy-six bills during his first term alone, and during his six years in office, he vetoed every bill seeking to raise taxes. Other vetoes were of a Ku Klux Klan bill to require daily Bible reading in public schools and an Anti-Saloon League bill to require public law offenders to serve out unpaid fines through manual labor. In addition, Donahey pardoned more than two thousand offenders serving in jails and work houses on the premise that prohibition enforcement had a disproportionate impact on the poor. After leaving office, Donahey founded and became President of the Motorists’ Mutual Insurance Company of Columbus. In 1934 he won election to one term in the U.S. Senate, after which he returned to his insurance business.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 44. New York: James T. White & Company.