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Harold Edward Stassen

Gov. Harold Edward Stassen

  • January 2, 1939 - April 27, 1943
  • Republican
  • April 13, 1907
  • March 4, 2001
  • Minnesota
  • University of Minnesota
  • Married Ester G. Glewwe; two children
  • Resigned, NGA Chair
  • Navy


HAROLD E. STASSEN, the twenty-fifth governor of Minnesota, was born near South St. Paul, Minnesota on April 13, 1907. His education was attained at the University of Minnesota, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1927 and a law degree in 1929. He was admitted to the bar and then established his legal career in St. Paul. Stassen first entered politics in 1938, securing the Republican gubernatorial nomination. He then went on to win the general election, and was sworn into office on January 2, 1939. He was reelected to a second term in 1940, and to a third term in 1942. During his tenure, the state’s highway system was advanced; a civil service law was sanctioned; tourist business with the state was promoted; and an anti-loan shark and labor bill was authorized. Governor Stassen resigned from the governorship on April 27, 1943, to enter service in World War II. He served as a captain in the U.S. Navy and was awarded numerous decorations for his heroic service. He also served on Admiral William F. Halsey’s staff as an aide and flag secretary. After his military service, he returned to his political career. Between 1948 and 1992, Stassen ran unsuccessfully nine times for the U.S. presidency. He also was the president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1948 to 1953, served on the Mutual Security Administration in 1953, and was the director of Foreign Operations Administration from 1953 to 1955. He served on the United Nations Disarmament Commission in 1955, as well as serving as the chief U.S. negotiator at the London Arms Control negotiations in 1957. Governor Harold E. Stassen passed away on March 4, 2001, and was buried in the Acacia Cemetery in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.


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.

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