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Mills E. Godwin, Jr. (November 19, 1914 – January 30, 1999)  has the distinction of having been the nation's only governor to serve one term as a Democrat and another term as a Republican. His two terms epitomized the switch by conservatives in the South who felt abandoned by an increasingly liberal Democratic Party and welcomed by an increasing conservative Republican Party. He graduated from William & Mary and received his law degree from the University of Virginia. After working as a agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he entered politics in 1948, elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. He also served in the Virginia Senate during the years of desegregation. In 1962, he was elected Lieutenant-Governor.

Mills Godwin at 1969 Constitutional Revision Commission Meeting, University Archives Photograph Collection
Miles Godwin at 1969 Constitutional Revision Commission Meeting,
University Archives Photograph Collection, UA 8.

During his first term in the governor's chair (1966-1970), he earned the title of "Virginia's Education Governor." though his efforts to improve public education and to raise revenue with passage of a retail sales tax. He served as chair of the Southern Governors Conference.

His papers at Special Collections Research Center, William & Mary Libraries, are not his official papers as governor which are housed in the Library of Virginia but are his personal papers, arranged chronologically from 1947 through 1978. They give insight into his political party interest and to his time of service during a critical period of Virginia's history. Subjects covered include material relating to civil rights, education and the expansion of industrial development in the Commonwealth. His speeches, some family papers, political memorabilia, and audio-visual material are included along with extensive correspondence with such figures as Harry Byrd, Sr., Harry Byrd, Jr., Virginius Dabney, James J. Kilpatrick and Colgate Darden.


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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.