JOSEPH W. FOLK was born in Brownville, Tennessee on October 28, 1869. His education was attained at Brownsville Academy, and at Vanderbilt University, where he earned a law degree in 1890. He then established a successful legal career, serving as the circuit attorney of St. Louis in 1900. Folk served as governor of Missouri from 1905 to 1909. During his tenure, a Sunday closing law was enacted; child labor legislation was authorized; racetrack-betting restrictions were initiated; and a direct primary law was sanctioned, as was a mandatory education bill. After completing his term, Folk left office and continued to stay active in politics. However, he was unsuccessful candidate for the Missouri Senate in 1908 and 1918. In 1912, he secured an appointment to serve as solicitor general of the state department, a post he held for two years. Governor Joseph W. Folk, who suffered a nervous breakdown in 1922, passed away on May 28, 1923. He was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Brownsville, Tennessee.
Messages and Proclamations of the Governors of the State of Missouri (Produced by the Missouri Historical Society)
Official Manual of the State of Missouri (2005-2006)
Previous editions are not available online, but are in hard copy in the State Archives.
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.