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 Sumner Sewall

Sumner Sewall

DATE OF BIRTH:  June 17, 1897
DATE OF DEATH:  January 24, 1965
PROFESSION:  Lawyer, Airline Executive
TERM IN OFFICE:  January 2, 1941 – January 4, 1945
FIRST LADY:  Helen Ellena Evans Sewall

QUOTE: Our system of education must advance in step with the demands of a changing society and economy. The reawakened national need for skilled workers makes it important that we place more emphasis on vocational training, through which our young people can develop the natural aptitudes which have made Maine famous as a reservoir of skilled and able workers…By vocational training they will better meet the tasks of their productive years and provide for well merited security in later years.

Inaugural Address, January 2, 1941

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: Service in World War I with the American Ambulance Field Service and the Aviation Section of the Army Signal Corps. State Representative, State Senator, Military Governor of Wuttemberg-Baden, Germany after World War II


Bangor Daily News, January 26, 1965.


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