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 Joshua L. Chamberlain

Joshua L. Chamberlain

DATE OF BIRTH:  September 8, 1828
DATE OF DEATH:  February 24, 1914
PROFESSION:  College Professor
TERM IN OFFICE:  January 4, 1867 – January 5, 1871
FIRST LADY:  Frances C. Adams

QUOTE: It has been proposed to erect a monument to commemorate the virtues of the dead, which shall testify to coming generations our gratitude to heroism. But when so many widows and orphans are crying for bread, and so many wounded are over-worn and lying patiently by, hopeless of any active part in the country’s rejoicing, I for one feel that our first duty is to these.

Inaugural Address, January 4, 1867

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: Major General, President of Bowdoin College, Member of the 1878 Paris Exposition Commission, Collector of Customs for Portland


Chase, Henry.  Representative Men of Maine.  Portland: The Lakeside Press, 1893, p. 63.

MacDonald, William.  “Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain,” Dictionary of American Biography.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933, Vol. 3, pp. 597-598.

McIntyre, Philip W. and Blanding, William F.  Men of Progress.  Boston: New England Magazine, 1897, pp. 565-568.

Pullen, John J.  Joshua Chamberlain, A Hero’s Life & Legacy.  Mechanicsburg, Pa: Stackpole Books, 1999.

Pullen, John J.  The Twentieth Maine.  Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, Inc., 1997.

Simpson, Brooks D.  “Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain,” American National Biography.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, Vol. 4, pp. 635-636.

Wallace, Willard M.  Soul Of The Lion.  New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1960

Home of Maine's Governors since 1919.
Visit Us

PO Box 68
Augusta, ME 04332