Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Hildreth, Horace A.

 

Horace A. Hildreth (courtesy Maine State Museum)

Horace A. Hildreth (courtesy Maine State Museum)

(1902-1988 ) born in December 1902 in Gardiner, the son of an attorney, attended local schools before graduating from Bowdoin College in the class of 1925 and receiving his LL.B. from Harvard in 1928.

In Boston he joined the prestigious law firm of Ropes, Gray, Best, Coolidge & Rugg before returning to Maine with the desire for a political career. Elected to the Maine House in 1940 and the Maine Senate in 1942, he served as President of the latter body for the 1943-1944 term.

He won the Republican gubernatorial primary in 1944 and was elected Governor by a landslide margin. Reelected in 1946 by another large margin he was a supporter of the University of Maine and education for veterans.

 

Horace A. Hildreth (courtesy Maine State Archives)

Horace A. Hildreth (courtesy Maine State Archives)

In 1947 to 1948 he chaired the National Governors Conference and proposed that the retail sales tax be the exclusive province of the federal government as a trade-off for the elimination of federal gas, inheritance and alcohol taxes.

In 1948 he lost the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator to Margaret Chase Smith thus ending his political career and launching her’s in the Senate. He then assumed the post of President of Bucknell University which he held until 1967.

From 1953 to 1957, Hildreth served the Eisenhower administration as United States Ambassador to Pakistan. In 1967 he bought a controlling share of a Portland radio station, but withdrew from active participation in its operation in 1974.

Hildreth died on June 2, 1988.

Source: Maine State Senate

Additional resources

Modern Maine. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1951, Vol. 4, pp. 791-792.

Portland Press Herald, June 3, 1988.

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*Cited in Friends of the Blaine House at http://blainehouse.org/governors(accessed April 25, 2011) (accessed April 25, 2011)

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