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Frank Orren Lowden

Gov. Frank Orren Lowden

  • January 8, 1917 - January 10, 1921
  • Republican
  • January 26, 1861
  • March 20, 1943
  • Minnesota
  • University of Iowa, Northwestern University
  • Married Florence Pullman; three children
  • Representative
  • National Guard


FRANK O. LOWDEN, Illinois’ twenty-seventh governor, was born in Sunrise, Minnesota, on January 26, 1861. In 1868, his family moved to Iowa and settled in Point Pleasant, where Lowden was educated in the public school system. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1885 and earned a law degree from Northwestern University in 1887. Lowden established a successful legal career in Chicago and became a law professor at Northwestern University. During the Spanish-American War, he served in the 1st Infantry of the Illinois National Guard as lieutenant colonel. Lowden entered politics in 1900, serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, a position he held again in 1904. From 1904 to 1912, he served on the Republican National Committee. Lowden won the 1916 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into office on January 8, 1917. During his tenure, he oversaw the reorganization and restructuring of state government, taxes were reduced, state aid to public schools was improved, and approval was secured for a waterway link between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. Also, authorization was granted for a new hard road construction project, state election laws were amended, and Chicago race riots in 1919 were successfully suppressed. Lowden’s administration was acknowledged and praised for his management of the state reorganization plan, and Illinois was made a prototype for the rest of the nation. After his term ended on January 10, 1921, he returned to his farming interests. Lowden was a contender for the 1920 Republican presidential nomination and declined to run as vice president on the 1924 Republican ticket. Governor Frank O. Lowden died on March 20, 1943, in Tucson, Arizona, where he had gone for health reasons. He was buried at the Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.


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.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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