HARRY H. WOODRING, the twenty-fifth governor of Kansas, was born in Elk City, Kansas on May 31, 1887. After dropping out of high school, Woodring attended the Lebanon Business University for one year. He worked various jobs as a janitor, clerk, and bookkeeper before becoming the president and owner of the First National Bank of Neodesha. During World War I, he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Tank Corps. Woodring entered politics in 1930, winning the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He went on to win the general election and was sworn into the governorship on January 12, 1931. During his tenure, the severe effects of the depression were felt throughout the state, and consequently the state’s crumbling finances had to be dealt with. Also, utility rates were cut, a separated labor department was created, tax relief was endorsed, driver’s licenses became mandatory for all motor vehicle operators, a permanent crippled children’s commission was formed, and state employees’ salaries were reduced. After losing his reelection bid, Woodring left office on January 9, 1933. On April 23, 1933, he secured an appointment as assistant U.S. Secretary of War. Four years later, he was named U.S. Secretary of War, a position he held until his resignation on June 20, 1940. After making two unsuccessful attempts for reelection to the governor’s office in 1946 and 1956, Woodring retired from politics. Governor Harry H. Woodring suffered a stroke and passed away on September 9, 1967. He was buried at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Topeka, Kansas.
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.