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

[photograph the portrait of Governor Spiro T. Agnew]

SPIRO T. AGNEW, b. 1918
Fifty-fifth Governor, 1967-1969 (Republican)
Portrait by Robert Tollast, 1972.
Commissioned by the State.
MSA SC 1545-1091

Spiro Agnew was born in 1918 in Baltimore and grew up in the suburb of Forest Park. In 1941, he was drafted and served in France, winning a Bronze Star.

Agnew's public career began in 1957 with a seat on the Baltimore County Zoning Board. After being denied reappointment by a Democratic county council in 1962, Agnew ran for county executive and won. He served in that post from 1962-1966. In 1966, Agnew won the governorship, defeating George P. Mahoney.

The gubernatorial election of 1966 marked the culmination of a 20-year struggle over legislative reapportionment in the state. For the first time, the suburbs dominated both houses of the General Assembly. During Governor Agnew's administration state government was reorganized and the tax code was revised. It was a time of marked social unrest and Governor Agnew became increasingly outspoken on law and order issues, blaming the disturbances in Cambridge and Baltimore on outside agitators and inadequate community leadership. Initially a supporter of Nelson Rockefeller, Agnew was selected by Richard Nixon as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate in 1968. He was inaugurated as vice president in 1969 and re-elected in 1972.

A few days before his portrait was to be unveiled in the State House on February 26, 1973, it was removed to Washington by members of his staff. On October 10, 1973, while under investigation for corruption, Agnew resigned as vice president, entering a plea of nolle contendere which was accepted. His portrait was returned to the State House in January, 1974, where it remained until December 1979 when it was removed while the room was being redecorated.

Agnew married Elinor (Judy) Judefind Agnew on May 27, 1942 and they have four children: Pamela, James Rand, Susan, and Kimberly.

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Copyright December 09, 1998 Maryland State Archives