DEWEY FOLLETT BARTLETT was born in Marietta, Ohio. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering from Princeton University, he worked in Oklahoma’s oil fields, and after serving in the Marine Corps during World War II, he joined his brother in Tulsa, where they co-managed the family petroleum business—Keener Oil. Bartlett’s political career began in 1962 with election to the Oklahoma State Senate. Four years later he succeeded Henry Bellmon as Oklahoma’s second Republican governor. As governor, Bartlett reformed the state’s tax laws and eliminated the tax on intangible personal property. During his administration, the state’s Justice of the Peace court system was abolished and the judicial system was reformed to require voter approval for judges to retain their positions. In addition, a Legislative Conflict of Interest Law was enacted and a method was created for the biannual review of legislative compensation. The first Oklahoma governor constitutionally eligible for a second consecutive term, Bartlett lost his reelection bid in one of the closest elections in state history. Two years later, however, he benefited from Richard Nixon’s great popularity in Oklahoma to defeat Congressman Ed Edmondson in a race for the U.S. Senate. Bartlett died in 1979 after a two-year battle with lung cancer.
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.
Who's Who in American History, Vol. VII. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, Inc., 1981