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James Lukens McConaughy

Gov. James Lukens McConaughy

  • January 8, 1947 - March 7, 1948
  • Republican
  • October 21, 1887
  • March 7, 1948
  • New York
  • Yale University, Bowdoin College, Dartmouth College
  • Married Elizabeth Townshend; three children
  • Died in office


JAMES LUKENS MCCONAUGHY was born in New York, on October 21, 1887. He graduated from Yale University in 1909, and earned two master’s degrees, one from Bowdoin College in 1911, and the other from Dartmouth College in 1915. He also earned a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University in 1913. McConaughy had an extensive career in academia. He taught English and education at Bowdoin College from 1909 to 1915, and was a professor of education at Dartmouth from 1918 to 1925. He also served as president of Knox College in Illinois and Wesleyan University from 1925 to 1943. McConaughy entered politics in 1938, as lieutenant governor of Connecticut, an office he held until 1941. The following year, he served as president of the United China Relief Fund, and was civilian deputy of the Office of Strategic Service, serving from 1943 to 1945. McConaughy won the 1946 Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected Connecticut’s 59th governor. During his tenure, legislation passed that subsidized local bonds for housing construction, and $20 million were granted for school construction that benefited rural communities over larger cities. The state’s first sales tax was also initiated, and unemployment benefits and old-age annuities were enhanced. Also, a Fair Employment Practices Commission was founded, and a state bonus was instituted for World War II veterans. Governor James L. McConaughy died before finishing his term, on March 7, 1948.


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 vol.

Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

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