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Ben Sanford Paulen

Gov. Ben Sanford Paulen

  • January 12, 1925 - January 14, 1929
  • Republican
  • July 14, 1869
  • July 11, 1961
  • Illinois
  • University of Kansas; Bryant and Stratton Business College
  • Married Barbara Ellis


BENJAMIN S. PAULEN, the twenty-third governor of Kansas, was born near Clinton, Illinois on July 14, 1869. His early education was attained in the Kansas public school system. For one term he attended the University of Kansas, and then took classes at the Bryant and Stratton Business College in St. Louis, Missouri. After his education, he worked in his father’s merchandise store, then served as president of the Wilson County Bank, and later was treasurer of the Kansas Life Insurance Company. Paulen entered politics in 1900, serving as a member of the Fredonia city council, a position he held until 1904. He served as Fredonia’s mayor for one year, and was a member of the Kansas State Senate from 1913 to 1921. He also served as the state oil inspector from 1917 to 1921, and was the lieutenant governor of Kansas from 1923 to 1925. Paulen won the 1924 Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was sworn into the governorship on January 12, 1925. He was reelected to a second term in 1926. During his tenure, a state gasoline tax was sanctioned, a new board of regents was authorized for state universities, funding was approved for new educational buildings, an insurance code was established, and cigarette sales became legal and taxed. Also, an accounting and budget system was provided, the highway commission was improved, a new election law was enacted, and a banking board was organized. Paulen did not run for a third term and left office on January 14, 1929. He later served as president of the Kansas Bankers Association, and was a member of the executive council of American Bankers Association. He also was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1932, was chairman of the State Board of Welfare in 1939, and served on the 1957 commission that deliberated amending the state constitution. Governor Ben S. Paulen died on July 11, 1961, and was buried at the Fredonia Cemetery.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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