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Herbert Romulus O’Conor

Gov. Herbert Romulus O’Conor

  • January 11, 1939 - January 3, 1947
  • Democratic
  • November 17, 1896
  • March 4, 1960
  • Maryland
  • Loyola College; University of Maryland School of Law
  • Married Eugenia Byrnes; five children
  • Resigned, NGA Chair
  • Senator
  • Army


HERBERT R. O’CONOR was born in Baltimore, Maryland on November 17, 1896. His education was attained at parochial schools, at Loyola College in Baltimore, from which he graduated in 1917, and at the University of Maryland, where he earned a law degree in 1920. While in school, he worked as a newspaper reporter. During World War I, he served as yeoman 3rd Class in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force, and was later promoted to the rank of yeoman 2nd Class. O’Conor entered public service in 1921 as an assistant state’s attorney, a position he held until 1922. He also was state’s attorney from 1923 to 1934, and was the Maryland attorney general from 1935 to 1939. O’Conor secured the 1938 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and then went on to win election to the Maryland governorship on November 8, 1938. He was reelected to a second term in 1942. During his tenure, a medical care program for the poor was created, and the Maryland Council of Defense and the Commission on Post War Reconstruction and Development were established. Also, the county magistrate court system was reorganized; new bridge construction was authorized; the state’s deficit was reduced; and the Legislative Council was established. Upon his election to the U.S. Senate, O’Conor resigned from the governor’s office on January 3, 1947. He retired from the Senate in 1953 and returned to practice law. Governor Herbert R. O’Conor passed away on March 4, 1960, and was buried at the New Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.


Eisenberg, Gerson G. Marylanders Who Served the Nation. Annapolis, MD: Maryland State Archives, 1992.

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.

White, Frank F., Jr. The Governors of Maryland, 1777-1972. Annapolis, MD: Hall of Records Commission, 1970.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Maryland State Archives

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