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James Thomas Blair

Gov. James Thomas Blair

  • January 14, 1957 - January 9, 1961
  • Democratic
  • March 15, 1902
  • July 12, 1962
  • Missouri
  • Southwest Missouri State College, University of Missouri, Cumberland University
  • Married Emilie C. Chorn; two children
  • Army


JAMES T. BLAIR was born in Maysville, Missouri on March 15, 1902. His education was attained at Southwest Missouri State College, at the University of Missouri, and at Cumberland University in Tennessee, where he earned a law degree in 1924. He established his legal career in Jefferson City, serving as the city attorney in 1925. During World War II, he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and received several medals for his heroic service in battle. Blair first entered politics as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, a position to which he was elected in 1928 and 1930. He also served as the mayor of Jefferson City in 1947, and was the lieutenant governor of Missouri from 1948 to 1956. Blair next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor on November 6, 1956. He was sworn into office on January 14, 1957. During his tenure, the state highway patrol was expanded; a water pollution control board was organized; highway speed limits were instituted; and a state employee retirement plan was initiated. After completing his term, Blair left office on January 9, 1961 and retired from political life. Governor James T. Blair passed away on July 12, 1962, and was buried in the Riverview Cemetery in Jefferson City, Missouri.


Messages and Proclamations of the Governors of the State of Missouri (Produced by the Missouri Historical Society)

Missouri State Archives (Jefferson City, MO)

Official Manual of the State of Missouri (2005-2006)
Previous editions are not available online, but are in hard copy in the State Archives.

The Political Graveyard

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.

Recent Missouri Governors