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Walter Peterson
New Hampshire

Gov. Walter Peterson

  • January 1, 1969 - January 3, 1973
  • Republican
  • June 1, 2011
  • New Hampshire
  • Dartmouth College; College of William and Mary; University of New Hampshire
  • Married Dorothy Donovan; two children


WALTER PETERSON was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, on September 19, 1922. He received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1947. He also attended the College of William and Mary and the University of New Hampshire. His college years were interrupted by four years’ service as a U.S. Naval Reserve officer in the Southern Pacific. After graduation from Dartmouth, Peterson became a partner in The Petersons, Inc., a real estate firm in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He served as a member of the Peterborough Budget Committee (1957-63); and as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving as majority leader from 1963 to 1964 and as speaker from 1965 to 1968. He was elected governor in 1968 and reelected in 1970. As governor Peterson was much concerned with state revenues. The state was growing rapidly and costs of infrastructure were rising. A business profits tax was passed, and increased liquor sales helped produce a budget surplus during his administration. Efforts were made to reorganize state government so that it operated more effectively at less cost; a 300-person Citizens Task Force worked on this. In 1972 a special session of the legislature was called to consider the impact of New Hampshire’s property tax on cities and towns, and related fiscal matters. For two decades following his tenure as governor, Peterson was president of Franklin Pierce College. Governor Peterson died June 2, 2011.


Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories, National Governors' Conference, 1972.

New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources

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