Spessard Lindsey Holland

Gov. Spessard Lindsey Holland


January 7, 1941 - January 2, 1945

July 10, 1892

November 6, 1971


Emory University; University of Florida

Birth State

National Office(s) Served:

Military Service:

Married Mary Agnes Groover; four children

Distinguished Service Cross


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.