EURITH DICKINSON RIVERS, Georgia’s 56th governor, was born in Center Point, Arkansas, on December 1, 1895. In 1914 he graduated from the Young Harris College, and in 1923, he received a law degree from the LaSalle Extension University. Rivers served as Cairo’s justice of the peace and city attorney, and he was the attorney for Grady County. He entered politics in 1924 as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, a position he was reelected to in 1932 and 1934, serving as speaker in both terms. He served as one-term member of the Georgia Senate in 1926, and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1928 and 1930. Rivers won the 1936 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected Georgia’s governor. He was reelected to a second term in 1938. During his tenure, he endorsed President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, and Georgia received a raise in federal compensation, which was used in the advancement of state services. A state planning board was established, as well as a rural housing authority, a state housing authority and a department of natural resources. Also, the department of welfare was reorganized; increased funding was allocated for the State Department of Public Health; state institutions were improved for the handicapped, the mentally ill, and for juvenile delinquents; the prison system was reformed; and a highway patrol was founded. Despite all of the statewide improvements that were sanctioned, Rivers’s second administration was tainted by charges of fraud and mismanagement and rumors of pardon selling. These allegations hurt him politically when he ran for reelection in 1946. Rivers retired from politics and spent his last years living in Georgia and Florida, where he invested successfully in radio stations. Governor Eurith D. Rivers died on June 11, 1967, and he is buried at the City Cemetery in Lakeland, 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.