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William Grant Stratton

Gov. William Grant Stratton

  • January 12, 1953 - January 9, 1961
  • Republican
  • February 26, 1914
  • March 2, 2001
  • Illinois
  • University of Arizona
  • Married Shirley Breckenridge; three children
  • Representative
  • Navy


WILLIAM G. STRATTON, Illinois’ thirty-fourth governor, was born in Ingleside, Illinois, on February 26, 1914. After graduating from the University of Arizona in 1934, Stratton established a career in public service. His first election was to the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held from 1941 to 1943, and again from 1947 to 1949. He was elected State Treasurer in both 1944 and 1950. World War II temporarily interrupted Stratton’s political course. He joined the U.S. Navy, where he served as a lieutenant from 1944 to 1946. After his military service, Stratton returned to politics, serving as a delegate to the 1952, 1956, 1960 and 1976 Republican National Conventions. He won the 1952 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into the Illinois governorship on January 12, 1953. He was reelected to a second term in 1956. During his tenure, state hospital reforms were instituted that included beds for inmates, a bond issue was approved that funded the state’s expressway system, the first woman was chosen in a cabinet level status, and an improved state sales tax was initiated and used in school programs. After running unsuccessfully for a third term, Stratton left office on January 9, 1961. Stratton retired from politics after a failed 1968 gubernatorial nomination. Governor William G. Stratton died on March 2, 2001, and was buried at the Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.


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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