THOMAS BAHNSON STANLEY was born in Spencer, Virginia. After attending the public schools of Henry County, he worked for a time in the coal mines in Maybeury, West Virginia. He went on to graduate from the Eastman National Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1912, and worked as a clerk-bookkeeper for a number of businesses in North Carolina and Virginia. He rose steadily in the private sector, becoming an executive with several furniture companies and organizing the Stanley Furniture Company in 1924. He also raised purebred Holstein cattle. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1930 to 1946, serving as Speaker from 1942 to 1946. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to fill a vacancy and was reelected to four succeeding Congresses, serving from November, 1946 to February, 1953, when he resigned to run for governor. As governor, Stanley proposed a higher gasoline tax and favored federal aid for the maintenance of interstate highways. He also recommended an increase in teachers’ salaries while at the same time urging repeal of the state constitutional provision requiring the state to maintain a public school system. After leaving office, he returned to his furniture manufacturing business. He later became a Trustee of Randolph-Macon College, president and director of the First National Bank of Bassett, Virginia, and chairman of the Commission on State and Local Revenues and Expenditures.
Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1996. Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1996.
Library of Virginia, Virginia Governor, Executive Papers (1954-1958: Stanley). Accession 25184. Biographical/Historical Note. State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. I. New York: James T. White & Company.
Salmon, Emily and Edward D. C. Campbell, Jr. Hornbook of Virginia History. 4th ed. Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1994.
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.
Younger, Edward and Moore, James Tice, eds. The Governors of Virginia, 1860-1978. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1982.