Maine: An Encyclopedia

Brewster, Ralph Owen

Ralph Owen Brewster (courtesy Maine State Museum)

Ralph Owen Brewster (courtesy Maine State Museum)

(1888-1961) a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator from Maine was born in Dexter on February 22, 1888. He attended the public schools; was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1909, and from the law department of Harvard University 1913.

He became a high school principal 1910. Brewster was admitted to the bar in 1913 and commenced practice in Portland. A member of the Portland school committee (1915-1923) he was a member, Maine House of Representatives from 1917 to 1918, but resigned to enter military service in World War I. He served successively as a private, second lieutenant, captain, and regimental adjutant in the Third Infantry, Maine National Guard.

Elected again as a member of the Maine House of Representatives (1921-1923), Brewster followed as a member of the State Senate (1923-1925).

Relying in part on support from the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan, Brewster was elected Governor in 1924 and served from 1925 to 1929. He was the second governor, after Percival P. Baxter in 1920, to climb Mount Katahdin in 1925.

Though an unsuccessful candidate for election to the Seventy-third Congress in 1932, he was elected as a Republican to the Seventy-fourth, Seventy-fifth, and Seventy-sixth Congresses (January 3, 1935-January 3, 1941), but did not seek renomination in 1940, having become a candidate for United States Senator.

He was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1940, reelected in 1946, and served from January 3, 1941, until his resignation December 31, 1952, having been an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1952. In the senate he was chairman of the Special Committee on National Defense (Eightieth Congress). Brewster died in Boston, Massachusetts, December 25, 1961, with interment in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Dexter.

Additional resources

Brewster, Ralph O.  Dedicatory address of Hon. Ralph O. Brewster at the unveiling of the memorial to Hannibal Hamlin, Bangor, Maine.  Maine. 1927.

Brewster, Owen. World Peace, address by Owen Brewster. Washington, D.C. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1952. Cataloger Note: “Delivered at Monmouth, Maine, Sunday evening, April 6, 1952.” “Printed in the Congressional Record of April 16, 1952.”


Brewster, Ralph Owen. The Epic of Donn Fendler. 1939.

*Kennebec Journal, Augusta, December 26, 1961


Maher, Sister M. Patrick Ellen. “The Role of the Chairman of a Congressional Investigating Committee: A Case Study of the Special Committee of the Senate to Investigate the National Defense Program, 1941-1948.” Ph.D. dissertation, St. Louis University, 1962.


Maine. Legislature. Development and Control of Hydroelectric Power. Special message by Gov. Ralph O. Brewster, March 23, 1927, to the 83rd Legislature of the State of Maine in joint assembly.

*Modern Maine. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc., 1951, Vol. 3, pp. 18-19.


United States. Congress. Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack. Investigation of the Pearl Harbor attack. Report of the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor attack, Congress of the United States, pursuant of S. Con. Res. 27, 79th Congress, a concurrent resolution to investigate the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and events and circumstances relating thereto, and additional views of Mr. Keefe, together with Minority views of Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Brewster. Washington, DC. U.S. Government.. Printing Offffice. 1946.



*Cited in Friends of the Blaine House at April 25, 2011) (accessed April 25, 2011)

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