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Herbert O'Conor

  (Redirected from Herbert R. O'Conor)

Herbert Romulus O'Conor (November 17, 1896 – March 4, 1960) was the 51st Governor of Maryland, serving from 1939 to 1947. He also served in the United States Senate, representing Maryland from 1947 to 1953. He was a Democrat.[1][2]

Herbert O'Conor
Governor herbert oconor of maryland.jpg
United States Senator
from Maryland
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1953
Preceded byGeorge L. P. Radcliffe
Succeeded byJames Glenn Beall
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
June 21, 1942 – June 20, 1943
Preceded byHarold Stassen
Succeeded byLeverett Saltonstall
51st Governor of Maryland
In office
January 11, 1939 – January 3, 1947
Preceded byHarry Nice
Succeeded byWilliam Preston Lane Jr.
Attorney General of Maryland
In office
January 9, 1935 – January 11, 1939
GovernorHarry Nice
Preceded byWilliam Preston Lane Jr.
Succeeded byWilliam C. Walsh
Personal details
Herbert Romulus O'Conor

(1896-11-17)November 17, 1896
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
DiedMarch 4, 1960(1960-03-04) (aged 63)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Eugenia Byrnes
EducationLoyola University, Maryland (BA)
University of Maryland, Baltimore (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
UnitUnited States Naval Reserve
Battles/warsWorld War I

O'Conor was born in Baltimore, Maryland to James P. A. O'Conor and Mary Ann (Galvin) O'Conor. He received his B.A. degree from Loyola College and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1920. While in school, O'Conor was a reporter for the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Evening Sun from 1919 to 1920. On November 24, 1920, O'Conor married Mary Eugenia Byrnes (1896–1971) and they had five children, Herbert R. Jr., Eugene F., James Patrick, Robert and Mary Patricia.

From 1921 to 1922, O'Conor served as the assistant state's attorney for Baltimore. In 1923, he was elected State's Attorney of Baltimore City, and served there until he was elected as the Attorney General of Maryland in 1934. O'Conor also served in the National Association of Attorneys General in 1937. His secretary, Camilla Conroy, died in the burning of the luxury liner SS Morro Castle in 1934. O'Conor identified her body which was found face under close to the wreck site.

O'Conor was elected as Governor of Maryland in 1938, defeating incumbent Republican governor Harry W. Nice. In doing so, he became the first Roman Catholic of Irish descent to serve in that position. As governor, O'Conor created the Maryland Council of Defense during the Second World War. He also worked towards improving the state transportation system, and worked towards the construction of new bridges over the Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers. He also worked with other states to encourage inter-state cooperation, and served in positions including the Chairman of the Governor's Conference in 1941, and the President of the Council of State Government in 1943.

Near the end of World War II, O'Conor sought to improve the effects of the War and founded the Commission on Post War Reconstruction and Development. He also sought to improve the Maryland healthcare system.

O'Conor was elected to the United States Senate in 1946, but chose not to run for re-election in 1952. In the Senate, O'Conor served as chairman of the Special Committee on Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce from May to September, 1951, during the Eighty-first Congress. After his tenure in Senate, he continued the practice of law in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., until his death in Baltimore. He is interred in New Cathedral Cemetery.

Building dedicationsEdit

  • Herbert R. O'Conor State Building in Baltimore, Maryland. A building created by an early James Rouse and Guy T. O. Hollyday committee using the 1947 Federal Redevelopment Act funds to subsidize development and resale for a profit.[3] [1]


  1. ^ "Herbert R. O'Conor Biographical Series; Governor of Maryland 1939-1947 (Democrat)". Archives of Maryland, MSA SC 3520-1482. Maryland State Government. 14 March 2001. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  2. ^ White, Jr., Frank F. (1970). The Governors of Maryland 1777-1970. Annapolis: The Hall of Records Commission. pp. 271–276. ISBN 978-0942370010. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  3. ^ Joseph Rocco Mitchell, David L. Stebenne. New City Upon a Hill. p. 39.
  • Herbert O'Conor. December 9, 1998. Maryland State Archives. October 25, 2004. [2]

External linksEdit