George Washington Clarke

Gov. George Washington Clarke


January 16, 1913 - January 11, 1917

October 24, 1852

November 28, 1936


Oskaloosa College; University of Iowa

Birth State

Married Arletta Green; four children


GEORGE WASHINGTON CLARKE, Iowa’s twenty-first governor, was born in Shelby County, Indiana on October 24, 1852. After graduating from Oskaloosa College in 1877, Clarke earned his law degree from the University of Iowa, and then established a legal career in Adel, Iowa. Clarke entered politics in 1900, serving as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives, a position he held eight years, the last four of which were as speaker. From 1909 to 1913, he served as lieutenant governor of Iowa. Clarke won the 1912 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into office on January 16, 1913. He was reelected to a second term in 1914. During his tenure, he endorsed restructuring election procedures; he advocated for securing a workmen’s compensation bill; and he was a proponent of establishing a state highway commission; and for modifying and controlling investment companies. Clarke retired from politics after his term ended on January 11, 1917. He served as dean of Drake University Law School from 1917 to 1918, and returned to his law practice in Des Moines. Governor George W. Clarke died on November 28, 1936, and was buried in Adel, Iowa.



Adel Chamber of Commerce

Annals of Iowa, 33 (1957): 553-71.

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

University of Iowa" Papers of George W. Clarke, 1904 - 1937