THOMAS E. DEWEY, the fifty-first governor of New York, was born in Owosso, Michigan on March 24, 1902. His education was attained at the University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1923, and then at Columbia University, where he earned a law degree in 1925. He established a successful career as a public servant, serving as the chief assistant to the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, as well as serving as the U.S. attorney in 1933. From 1935 to 1937 he served as special prosecutor on the state’s organized crime unit that successfully convicted Lucky Luciano; and in 1937 he served as the district attorney of New York County. Dewey next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 3, 1942. He was reelected to a second term in 1946, and to a third term in 1950. During his tenure, a labor mediation board was created; discrimination in employment hiring was abolished; state agencies were restructured; and the state’s unemployment and disability benefits were advanced. In 1944 and 1948 Dewey was an unsuccessful presidential candidate, losing respectively to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. After leaving the governorship, Dewey returned to his legal career. In 1968 he declined an appointment to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court bench as chief justice. Governor Thomas E. Dewey passed away on March 16, 1971, and was buried in the Pawling Cemetery in Pawling, New York.
Smith, Richard Norton. Thomas E. Dewey and His Times. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.