Maine's Governors

Since William King was inaugurated as Maine’s first governor on June 2, 1820, the state has been led by 70 men and one woman. The position held today by Janet Trafton Mills has been occupied by such notable figures in our history as Hannibal Hamlin, Abraham Lincoln’s first vice president; Abner Coburn, generous benefactor to Maine educational institutions; Joshua L. Chamberlain, Civil War hero at the Battle of Gettysburg; Percival P. Baxter, donor of Mount Katahdin to the state; and Edmund S. Muskie, champion of Federal environmental protection legislation.

Only two governors are not represented by pictures. Of the balance, four are shown in portraits and the rest in photographs. Photographic images dating back to the 1840s enable us to study with complete clarity the faces of the men who governed Maine during the first decades of statehood before the Civil War as well as their more recent successors. These pictures come from three sources, the Maine State Archives, the Maine Historical Society, and the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

These pages are based upon research which I initially undertook in 2001 assisted by the Commission’s summer intern Adam M. Crowley of the University of Maine at Orono, now an Assistant Professor of English at Husson College in Bangor. At that point, the project was envisioned as a publication, but the ever expanding use of the internet during the last decade has led me to offer this information to a broader online audience. I want to thank the Friends of the Blaine House for hosting this information. 

Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.
Maine State Historian


Governor James B. Longley

James B. Longley

DATE OF BIRTH:  April 22, 1924
DATE OF DEATH:  August 16, 1980
PROFESSION:  Insurance
TERM IN OFFICE:  January 2, 1975 – January 4, 1979
FIRST LADY:  Helen Walsh

QUOTE: We are embarking on a new experiment in government and the prospect is an exciting one. No other state in the nation has an Independent Governor, a Democratic House of Representatives, and a Republican Senate. The eyes of the nation will be on Maine to see what can be accomplished. I am confident the nation will see that much can be accomplished… because I believe the Maine people, when the chips are down, will be fair and will set aside all other considerations to work together for the good of the entire state.

Inaugural Address, January 2, 1975

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: Chairman of the Maine Management and Cost Survey Commission


Johnson, Willis.  The Year of the Longley.  Stonington: Penobscot Bay Press, 1978.

Kennebec Journal, Augusta, August 18, 1980.

Methuin, Eugene H.  “The Governor Who Kept His Word,” The Reader’s Digest, December, 1979, pp. 2-6.

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