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Harold E. Stassen: "Boy Governor" & Presidential Hopeful: Overview

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Harold Stassen Papers.
Papers documenting the life and career of a former Minnesota governor, presidential contender, naval officer, United Nations charter delegate, and Eisenhower cabinet member. The papers include correspondence and memoranda, speeches, campaign literature, schedules and itineraries, awards and certificates, press releases, press conference transcripts, magazine articles authored by Stassen, news clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, sound recordings, motion films, and video recordings. The collection highlights Stassen's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns, his role in post-World War II international diplomacy, and his involvement with civic, professional, and religious organizations.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Stassen Again, by Steve Werle. 
St. Paul, MN : Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2015.
MNHS call number: Reading Room E748.S78 W47 2015, also available for purchase

"Harold Stassen ..." by Robert Coughlan.
In Life, Vol. 16, no. 25 (June 26, 1944): pp. 94-96, 98, 100, 102, 105-106.
MNHS call number: E 748 .S78 C8

The Cost of Lasting Peace," by Harold E. Stassen.
In Collier's, Vol. 113, no. 16 (April 21, 1945): pp. 11, 76-80.
MNHS call number: FOLIO D 815 .S77c

"A Pattern for Peace."

Address of Minnesota Governor Stassen delivered at the Northern Baptist Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 30, 1942.
MNHS call number: E 748 .S78 P33


Harold Stassen is known for his many contributions to Minnesota and to the United States in his long career. Born in 1907 on a farm in Dakota County, Stassen graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1929. An attorney in South St. Paul, Stassen was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1938 at the young age of 31. Known as the “boy governor,” Stassen was the youngest person elected to that post. Stassen was reelected in 1940 and in 1942.

He resigned as governor of Minnesota in 1943 to take a key post in the Navy, serving as chief of staff for Admiral William F. Halsey in the South Pacific. Stassen had an illustrious military career and was appointed by President Roosevelt as a delegate to the United Nations charter conference in 1945. There, he played key roles in the development of the United Nations Charter and positioning the United States as a world leader.

Stassen was a strong contender for the Republican nomination for president in 1948 but was defeated by Thomas Dewey at the G.O.P. national convention. He went on to serve as president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1948-1953. Stassen also ran a strong campaign against Senator Robert Taft of Ohio for the 1952 Republican presidential nomination, but both Stassen and Taft were defeated by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Stassen continued to run for the Republican nomination for President until 1992.

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