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Frank Goad Clement

Gov. Frank Goad Clement

  • January 15, 1953 - January 19, 1959
  • Democratic
  • June 2, 1920
  • Tennessee
  • Cumberland University; Vanderbilt University
  • Married Lucille Christianson; three children
  • Army
  • Cumberland University; Vanderbilt University


FRANK GOAD CLEMENT was born in Dickson, Tennessee. He attended Cumberland University from 1937-1939, and received an LL.B. from Vanderbilt University in 1942. Clement was a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent in 1942. He served with the U.S. Army from 1943-1946 and 1951-1952. He served as chief counsel for the State Railroad and Public Utilities Commission. Clement was elected governor in 1952 and served from 1953-1955. The 1953 convention changed the term of office from two years to four years with no succession permitted. Clement was reelected in 1954 by one of the most sweeping victories in Tennessee history. He served until 1959. He ran for govenor again in in 1962 and won, serving another four-year term from 1963-1967. As governor, Clement inaugurated the organization of the Department of Mental Health, created the state’s first speech and hearing center, began a long-range highway construction project, including the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System, and provided free textbooks for school children. On a national level, Governor Clement, who was renowned as an orator, was chosen to deliver the keynote address at the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. He chaired the Southern Governors’ Association (1955-1956), and served as a member of the National Governors Association Executive Committee (1955-1956, 1963-1964). He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1966 and in 1967 resumed a private law practice. He was killed in an automobile accident.


The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 55. New York: James T. White & Company.

Past Governors of Tennessee

Philips, Margaret I. The Governors of Tennessee. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2001.

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.

Tennessee State University

Recent Tennessee Governors