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

[photograph the portrait of Governor J. Millard Tawes]

J. MILLARD TAWES, 1894-1979

Fifty-fourth Governor, 1959-1967 (Democrat)
Portrait by Wilson Binebrink (b. 1916), 1970.
Commissioned by the Commission on Artistic.
MSA SC 1094

J. Millard Tawes was born in Crisfield on May 8, 1894 and attended Somerset County public schools and a business college where he studied banking and accounting. He worked in the lumbering and canning firms founded by his father.

Tawes won his first state-wide election as Comptroller of the Treasury in 1938. Re-elected in 1942, he unsuccessfully challenged William Preston Lane for the governorship in 1946. Governor Lane appointed him State Banking Commissioner in May 1947, a position he held until 1950, when he was appointed Comptroller.

In 1958 he successfully ran for governor. As governor for two terms, Tawes sought to bring new industry to Maryland and to reduce unemployment. To achieve this goal, he created a number of new government agencies including the Department of Economic Development. During his administration, Maryland became the first state in the south to enact a public accommodations law, and he issued directives prohibiting discrimination in state hiring, or by contractors doing business with the state. He also initiated significant reform in state aid to education, and appointed a Constitutional Convention Commission to begin the process of revising the state Constitution of 1867.

After retiring to Crisfield, Tawes was elected to the Constitutional Convention from Somerset County and he served as its Honorary President. In 1968, Governor Agnew appointed him the Chairman of the Board of Natural Resources and, in 1969, Governor Mandel appointed him the first Secretary of Natural Resources. On December 25, 1915, Tawes married Helen Avalynne Gibson, who is pictured in the background of his portrait. They had two children, Philip and Jimmie Lee (Tawes) Wilson. Governor Tawes died on June 25, 1979, in Crisfield.

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Copyright December 09, 1998 Maryland State Archives