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Chester Bliss Bowles

Gov. Chester Bliss Bowles

  • January 5, 1949 - January 3, 1951
  • Democrat
  • April 5, 1901
  • May 2, 1986
  • Massachusetts
  • Married twice--Julia Fisk, Dorothy Stebbins; five children
  • Representative, Ambassador


CHESTER BLISS BOWLES, author, diplomat, and noted liberal politician, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on April 5, 1901. He attended Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut, and graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale in 1924. After working for a number of advertising agencies and newspapers, he co-founded Benton and Bowles, Inc., a successful advertising company in 1929. Bowles sold his multimillion-dollar interest in 1941, and entered public service. He served as the Connecticut state-rationing administrator from 1942 to 1943. In 1943, he was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Federal Price Administration. Three years later, he was appointed by President Harry S. Truman as director of the Office of Economic Stabilization. He also served as a delegate to the 1946 United Nations Economic, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Conference in Paris, and was a special assistant to the United Nation’s secretary-general from 1947 to 1948. Bowles won the 1948 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected Connecticut’s 61st governor. During his tenure, he signed into law an end to segregation in the State National Guard. Funding was increased for schools, mental hospitals, and a housing program, and workmen’s compensation benefits were improved. Also, the State Interracial Commission was given extra authority, investigating discrimination grievances in restaurants, hotels, and public housing facilities. Bowles ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1950, but continued his work in public service. He was ambassador to India and Nepal from 1951 to 1953, and from 1963 to 1969, was a three-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and was appointed undersecretary of state in 1961. He also wrote several books that belied his philosophy in domestic and foreign policy. Governor Chester B. Bowles died on May 2, 1986.


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.

Harvard Square Library

Al Filreis – University of Pennsylvania


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