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Henry Horner

Gov. Henry Horner

  • January 9, 1933 - August 6, 1940
  • Democrat
  • November 30, 1879
  • August 6, 1940
  • Illinois
  • University of Chicago, Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Died in office


HENRY HORNER, Illinois’ thirtieth governor, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on November 30, 1879. His education was attained at Chicago Manual Training School, the University of Chicago, and Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he earned his law degree in 1898. After establishing a legal career in Chicago, Horner entered public service. He secured an appointment as a Cook County probate judge, a position he held for eighteen years. Horner won the 1932 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into the Illinois governorship, becoming the state’s first Jewish governor. He was reelected to a second term in 1936. During his tenure, the 18th Amendment was sanctioned, ending prohibition; a two percent sales tax rate was endorsed, as well as a state tax on real estate and personal property. Also, a permanent voters registration system was enacted that required voters’ signatures to match records kept on file by election officials. During his second administration, Horner suffered a coronary thrombosis and was forced to carry out the state’s bureaucratic business from his bedroom. Governor Henry Horner, who had one of the largest privately held collections of Lincoln memorabilia, passed away while still in office, on October 6, 1940. He was buried in Winnetka, Illinois.


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.

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