Exhibit of Governors' Portraits in the Governor's Reception Room, Maryland State House

[photograph the portrait of Governor Harry W. Nice]

HARRY W. NICE, 1877-1941
Fiftieth Governor, 1935-1939 (Republican).
Portrait by Hans Schlereth (b. 1897), 1938.
Commissioned by the Legislature.
MSA SC 1545-1093

Harry Whinna Nice was born on December 5, 1877, in Washington D.C. He was raised in Baltimore and attended Baltimore City College and Dickinson College. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1899, and practiced law throughout the rest of his life. He soon entered Baltimore City politics, and served as assistant to the State's Attorney, resigning to campaign as the Republican candidate for governor in 1919, losing to Albert Ritchie by a narrow margin. He challenged Ritchie again in 1934 using the motto, "Right the wrong of 1919," and won by 6,149 votes. Nice became governor in the midst of a national depression and precipitously declining state revenues. He appointed a committee to prepare a comprehensive relief plan which recommended a sales tax to fund a program more generous and costly than neither Nice nor the General Assembly was willing to support. Governor Nice made his mark on Annapolis by transforming Government House from a Victorian mansion to a Colonial Revival Georgian-style town house. He ran for re-election in 1938, despite loss of support from his own party, and was decisively beaten by Herbert O'Conor. After an unsuccessful attempt to gain a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1940, he practiced law in Baltimore until his death in 1941. He was married to Edna Viola Amos in 1905. They had two sons, Harry W., Jr., and William Stone, who died in childhood.

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