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William Francis Quinn

Gov. William Francis Quinn

  • September 2, 1957 - December 3, 1962
  • Republican
  • July 13, 1919
  • August 28, 2006
  • New York
  • St. Louis University, Harvard Law School
  • Married Nancy Ellen Witbeck; seven children
  • Navy


WILLIAM FRANCIS QUINN, Hawaii’s first governor, was born in Rochester, New York, on July 13, 1919. In 1940, he graduated from St. Louis University, and seven years later, he graduated from Harvard Law School. During World War II, he served as an ensign in the U.S. Navy and then was commissioned a lieutenant commander, working in naval intelligence in the South Pacific. After his military service, he moved to Hawaii and established a legal career in Honolulu. Quinn entered politics in 1956, as a member of the Hawaii Statehood Commission. He also served as a member of the Harbor Board and was Hawaii’s territorial governor in 1957. After Hawaii entered statehood, Quinn was elected the state’s first governor. During his tenure, he supervised the state’s governmental transition, with state agencies administering new policies and delegating responsibilities. Land claims, tourism, agricultural developments, social service programs, and labor disputes in the pineapple industry, were all issues that were addressed during his administration. After running unsuccessfully for reelection in 1962, Quinn returned to his law practice. He served as president of the Dole Pineapple Company from 1965 to 1972 and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1976.


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.

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