Back to former Washington governors
Monrad Charles Wallgren

Gov. Monrad Charles Wallgren

  • January 13, 1945 - January 10, 1949
  • Democratic
  • April 17, 1891
  • September 18, 1961
  • Iowa
  • Washington State School of Optometry
  • Married Mabel C. Liberty
  • Representative, Senator
  • Coast Guard, National Guard


Born in Des Moines, Iowa, MONRAD CHARLES WALLGREN moved to Galveston, Texas as a child and then to Everett, Washington after the Galveston hurricane of 1900. He graduated from the Washington State School of Optometry in Spokane in 1914 and engaged in the retail jewelry and optometry business until 1933. He was elected to four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and won a seat in the U.S. Senate from which he resigned after serving four years in order to make what became a successful run for governor in 1944. During his gubernatorial administration, he established unemployment compensation in the state. He also advocated public ownership of electrical power production and supported a state recreation and tourist program. Wallgren lost his bid for reelection in 1948, after which President Harry Truman sought to appoint him to the National Security Resources Board. However, his appointment was blocked in the Senate as a result of the strong opposition of a Republican Senator from his own state. Truman withdrew the nomination and instead appointed Wallgren to the Federal Power Commission, on which he served as Chairman until 1951. After retiring from public life, he was involved in real estate development in California. He died in Olympia and was buried in Everett, Washington.


Official Records at Washington State Archives, 1945-1949, 8.5 cubic feet.

List of finding aids available at the Division of Archives and Records Management, Office of the Secretary of State. Available in hard copy: Guide to the Papers of the Governors of Washington, Volume 3: 1919-1957—Governor Hart through Governor Langlie.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. G. New York: James T. White & Company.

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Washington State Library: Governors of Washington State

Recent Washington Governors