A successful candidate in each of his fifteen campaigns for public office, EDWARD MARTIN was born in Washington Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Waynesburg College in 1901 and was admitted to the Bar four years later, after which he began the practice of law in Waynesburg. Martin served in the military for more than four decades, beginning with service during the Spanish-American War with the 10th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. After seeing action in the Philippines, he joined the Pennsylvania National Guard as a Sergeant, earning a commission as First Lieutenant in 1901 and winning promotion to Captain and then Major. During World War I he began as a Major but rose in rank to Lieutenant Colonel, serving in France. Following the war he won promotion to full Colonel and went on to become a Brigadier General in 1922. In June 1939, with America’s participation in World War II looming, he became Major General of the Pennsylvania National Guard, which was federalized in 1941. Martin was more than sixty years old when he was released from the military in 1942. In addition to his distinguished military service, he was involved in public service for many years, beginning as secretary of his county Democratic committee, then County Chairman, and finally County Solicitor. After World War I, he switched to the Republican Party, going on to serve as Auditor General of Pennsylvania from 1925 to 1929. He was also State Treasurer from 1930 to 1934 and Adjutant General from 1939 to 1943 except for the period during which he served with the federalized Pennsylvania National Guard in World War II. As governor, he urged greater funding for unemployment compensation and liberalized insurance benefits for occupational diseases. He also demanded safety inspections of mines and factories and supported new affordable housing and an end to discrimination. Martin resigned the governorship after winning election to the U.S. Senate, where he served for two terms. A social activist as well, he was the recipient of many honorary degrees and awards.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
Who Was Who in America, Vol. IV. Chiago: Marquis Who’s Who, Inc., 1968.
State Archives Holdings: MG-156 Edward Martin Papers