ELLIS GIBBS ARNALL, Georgia’s 58th governor, was born in Newnan, Georgia, on March 20, 1907. He graduated from the University of the South in 1928, and earned his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1931. Arnall entered politics in 1932 as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, a position he held for four terms. He also served as speaker of the house in 1933 and 1935, and was Georgia’s attorney general from 1939 to 1943. Arnall won the 1942 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected Governor of Georgia. During his tenure, accreditation was reinstated to the university system, reforms in the state’s prison system were sanctioned, the voting age was changed to 18, the poll tax was eliminated, a new state constitution was endorsed, and a state employees merit system was established, as well as a teachers’ retirement system. The state’s debt was reduced, the governor’s pardoning power was eliminated, and campaign laws were improved. After leaving office on January 14, 1947, Arnall returned to his law career in Newnan. He also served as director of the Office of Price Stabilization in 1952, and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1966. Governor Ellis G. Arnall died on December 13, 1992, and he was buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Newnan, Georgia.
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.