JAMES BURROWS EDWARDS was born in Hawthorne, Florida. During World War II he was an officer in the U.S. Maritime Service, following which he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He received a B.S. degree from the College of Charleston in 1950 and a D.M.D. from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in 1955. He also did post-graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania in 1957 and 1958. In 1960 he began a dentistry practice in Charleston, specializing in oral surgery. He became a consultant for the U.S. Public Health Service in Charleston in 1964, Vice President of the East Cooper Private School Corporation in Mt. Pleasant in 1966, and a clinical associate in oral surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina at Charleston in 1968. In 1969 he was appointed President of the Federal Hospital Council. Edwards served in the South Carolina Senate for two years prior to being elected governor. During his gubernatorial tenure, he signed legislation reinstating the death penalty, and the General Assembly passed legislation designed to redistribute education funds for the benefit of poorer school districts in the state. Edwards served on the National Governors Association’s Executive Committee in 1976 and 1977. From 1981 to 1982 he was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. In recognition of his contributions while serving as governor, Edwards was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame in 1997.
The Governors of the American States, commonwealths, and Territories: 1900-1980. Lexington, KY: The Council of State Governments, 1980.