Mills E. Godwin
Mills E. Godwin, Jr. has the distinction of having been the nation's only governor to serve one term as a Democrat and another term as a Republican. His two terms epitomized the switch by conservatives in the South who felt abandoned by an increasingly liberal Democratic Party and welcomed by an increasing conservative Republican Party. He graduated from the College of William and Mary and received his law degree from the University of Virginia. After working as a agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he entered politics in 1948, elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. He also served in the Virginia Senate during the years of desegregation. In 1962, he was elected Lieutenant-Governor.
During his first term in the governor's chair (1966-1970), he earned the title of "Virginia's Education Governor." though his efforts to improve public education and to raise revenue with passage of a retail sales tax. He served as chair of the Southern Governors Conference.
His papers at the Earl Gregg Swem Libraryare not his official papers as governor which rest in the Library of Virginia but are rather his personal paeprs, arranged chronologically from 1947 through 1978. They give insight into his political party interest and to his time of service during a critical period of Virginia's history. Subjects covered include material relating to civil rights, education and the expansion of industrial development in the Commonwealth. His speeches, some family papers, polilitical memorabilia, and audio-visual material are included along with extensive correspondence with such figures as Harry Byrd, Sr., Harry Byrd, Jr., Virginius Dabney, James J. Kilpatrick and Colgate Darden.
Material in the Special Collections Research Center
- Edwin Mills Godwin, Jr. in the SCRC database.
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