SPESSARD LINDSEY HOLLAND, Florida’s 28th Governor, was born in Bartow, Florida, on July 10, 1892. He graduated from Emory University in 1912, and earned a law degree from the University of Florida in 1916. During World War I, Holland enlisted and was commissioned a second lieutenant. He rose to the rank of captain and served in France in the Coast Artillery and the Army Air Corps. In December 1918, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor. Six months later, he resigned his commission and returned to his law practice in Bartow. Holland entered politics in 1919, as Polk County’s prosecuting attorney. He also served as a judge in Polk County from 1920 to 1929, and was a member of the Florida State Senate from 1932 to 1940. Holland won the 1940 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected Governor of Florida. During his tenure, the Everglades National Park and the Game and Fresh Water Commission were created, the state’s tax system was reformed, and a teacher’s retirement program was initiated. His administration also organized the state’s defense effort, as a result of the start of World War II. Military bases were established in the state and the home front was organized. After leaving office on January 2, 1945, Holland was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1946. He then was elected to four six-year terms, serving from September 25, 1946, to January 2, 1971. Governor Spessard L. Holland died on November 6, 1971, and he is buried at the Wildwood Cemetery in Bartow, Florida.
Florida State Archives holds the official papers of Governor Spessard Lindsey Holland.
- S. 406 Governor Spessard Lindsey Holland, Correspondence, 1941-1945
- MSS 76:5 Spesser Lindsey Holland Papers, 1891-1971. Special Collections, Robert Manning Strozier Library, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.
- MS 55 Spesser L. Holland Papers, 1913-1972, University of Florida Smathers Libraries – Special and Area Studies Collections.
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 vols.