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Carl Edward Bailey

Gov. Carl Edward Bailey

  • January 12, 1937 - January 14, 1941
  • Democrat
  • October 8, 1894
  • October 23, 1948
  • Missouri
  • Chillicothe Business College
  • Married twice--Margaret Bristol, Marjorie Compton; six children


CARL EDWARD BAILEY, Arkansas’s 31st governor, was born in Bernie, Missouri, on October 8, 1894. He graduated from Campbell Missouri High School in 1912, and attended Chillicothe Business College in 1915, never finishing because of a shortage of funds.  Bailey held numerous jobs while studying for his law degree. In 1923 he was admitted to the Arkansas Bar, and two years later opened a private law practice. Bailey served as deputy prosecuting attorney of the Sixth Judicial District from 1927 to 1931, and then became prosecuting attorney, serving until 1935. He was elected attorney general of Arkansas in 1934, serving from 1935-1937. On November 3, 1936, Bailey was elected governor of Arkansas, and on January 12, 1937 he was sworn into office. He was reelected to a second term on November 8, 1938. During his tenure, the Department of Public Welfare was restructured and Arkansas qualified for full participation in all federal welfare programs. A free library system was created and a retirement system was drafted. All state-owned bridges were made toll-free, and a new agricultural experiment station was established at Batesville. Bailey ran unsuccessfully for a third term, and left office on January 14, 1941. He later served as a legislative representative of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen and taught legal medicine at the University of Arkansas Medical School. Governor Carl E. Bailey died of a heart attack, at the age of 54, on October 23, 1948. He is buried at the Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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.

Donovan, Timothy P., and Willard B. Gatewood, Jr., The Governors of Arkansas, Essays in Political Biography, Fayetteville, The University of Arkansas Press, 1981

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