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George Michael Leader

Gov. George Michael Leader

  • January 18, 1955 - January 20, 1959
  • Democratic
  • January 17, 1918
  • May 9, 2013
  • Pennsylvania
  • Gettysburg College, University of Pennsylvania
  • Married Mary Jane Strickler; four children
  • Navy


Born in York County, Pennsylvania, GEORGE MICHAEL LEADER received a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1939, after which he became Secretary-Treasurer of his father’s poultry-breeding business. He was an Ensign in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving in the Pacific Theater on an aircraft carrier. He won election as governor after serving as a state Senator for four years. As governor, Leader imposed new taxes and increased others to meet the state’s financial needs. He modernized business methods used in government, installed uniform accounting methods, and established the first electronic computing system for statewide use. He placed several thousand state employees under a merit system, weakening the politicization of government appointments. He also secured Right-to-Know measures requiring that local government meetings be open to the public and that state and local records be available for public inspection. He began industrial redevelopment programs and supported water conservation and anti-pollution initiatives. He was also recognized for improving health and welfare programs and establishing a Fair Employment Practices Commission. After leaving office, Leader returned to his business interests.


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.

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

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

State Archives Holdings: MG-207 George M. Leader Papers

Recent Pennsylvania Governors