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 Joseph E. Brennan

Joseph E. Brennan

DATE OF BIRTH:  November 2, 1934
TERM IN OFFICE:  January 4, 1979 – January 8, 1987

QUOTE: To the press, I welcome your watchful eye, your criticism, your helpful commentary, for to you are entrusted the means by which government and the people keep in touch with each other.

Inaugural Address, January 4, 1979

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: State Representative, Attorney General, Congressman


Hunt, H. Draper. “Governor Joseph E. Brennan,” The Blaine House, Home of Maine Governors. Augusta: Friends of the Blaine House, 1994, pp. 169-175.



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