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 Percival P. Baxter

Percival P. Baxter

DATE OF BIRTH:  November 22, 1876
DATE OF DEATH:  June 12, 1969
PROFESSION:  Lawyer, Manager of Family Business and Real Estate Interests
TERM IN OFFICE:  January 31, 1921 – January 8, 1925

QUOTE: In the heart of the wilderness of these woods stands Mt. Katahdin, the greatest monument of nature east of the Mississippi river. This mountain raises its head aloft, unafraid of the passing storm, and is typical of the rugged character of the people of Maine. The purchase of this mountain will constitute a fitting memorial to the past.

Inaugural Address, February 9, 1921

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: State Representative, State Senator (Senate President)


Hakola, John W.  Legacy of a Lifetime, The Story of Baxter State Park.  Woolwich: TBW Books, 1981.

Kennebec Journal, Augusta, June 13, 1969.

Rolde, Neil.  The Baxters of Maine, Downeast Visionaries.  Gardiner: Tilbury House Publishers, 1997.

Soares, Liz.  All For Maine, The Story of Governor Percival P. Baxter.  Mount Desert: Windswept House Publishers, 1995.


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