GEORGE COOPER PARDEE was born in San Francisco, California, on July 25, 1857. He graduated from the University of California in 1879, and in 1881 earned a master’s degree also from the same institution. He attended Cooper Medical College for two years, and completed his studies at the University of Leipzig in Germany. As a physician, Pardee joined his father’s practice, where he specialized in diseases of the eye and ear. Pardee entered politics in 1891, when he was elected to Oakland’s city council. His next election took him into the mayor’s office in Oakland, where he served from 1893 to 1895, and in 1899 he was appointed by Governor Gage to serve as a regent to the University of California. Pardee won the 1902 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor of California. He was sworn into office on January 6, 1903. During his tenure, he was a strong supporter of conservation measures, making many advancements in conserving forest and water resources. Education issues were also addressed, with changes made in the state’s funding of public high schools, and the initiation of a new textbook program. The earthquake that struck San Francisco on April 18, 1906, was the most difficult event he dealt with. Pardee personally attended to San Francisco’s health issues, and he called on the legislature to aid San Francisco, which was the state’s financial district. Pardee, who sought a second term, did not win the party’s nomination, and left office on January 8, 1907. Returning to his medical practice, he served on many state and national boards, including the National Conservation Commission and the California Board of Forestry. He was a delegate to four national presidential conventions, and after joining the Progressive Party in 1912, he served as a presidential elector. He also served as a Republican elector in 1924. Dr. George Pardee died on September 1, 1941, and is buried at the Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California.
Official Records: California State Archives
Personal Papers: Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
Image source: California State Library: Governors' Gallery
Governors of California 1849-2002
The Political Graveyard
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.