HERBERT BROWN MAW was born in Ogden, Utah. He received an LL.B. from the University of Utah in 1916, and both an M.A. and a J.D. from Northwestern University in Chicago. His education was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army from 1917 to 1919 as an aviation cadet and chaplain. He went on to practice law as well as to teach at the University of Utah from 1923 to 1940, serving as Dean of Men from 1928 to 1936. He was also a member of the Utah Senate for ten years, serving as president from 1934 to 1938. He made unsuccessful bids for a U.S. Senate seat in 1934 and for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1936—losing in part because party leaders opposed his advocacy of pro-labor and pension legislation. In response, he promoted legislation to replace the convention system of party nomination with a direct primary, which enabled him to secure the nomination for governor in 1940. During his two terms as governor, he promoted progressive legislation that resulted in a substantial reduction in utility rates and the imposition of regulations to prevent the extraction of ores from Utah for processing elsewhere. Although he supported industrial expansion and favored state versus federal control of social and economic policy, his liberal record on labor and welfare legislation as well as land reclamation cost him a third term in office. He retired to the practice of law.