Williams, G. Mennen, 1911-1988

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Governor of Michigan (1949-1960), and Justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan (1970- ).

From the description of Gerhard M. Williams papers, 1949-1960 (Detroit Public Library). WorldCat record id: 495705218

Michigan Democratic Governor, 1949-1960; Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1961-1966; U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, 1967-1969; Michigan Supreme Court justice, 1970-1987.

From the description of G. Mennen Williams papers, 1883-1988. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34418871

G. Mennen Williams was a man born to privilege but who devoted his life to public service. His career included stints as governor of Michigan from 1949 to 1960, under-secretary of state for African Affairs from 1961 to 1965, and Michigan Supreme Court justice from 1970 to 1986. Williams was born in Detroit, February 23, 1911, to Henry P. and Elma Mennen Williams. After prepping at the Salisbury School in Connecticut, he received his AB degree at Princeton in 1933. Williams finished his formal education by taking a JD degree from the University of Michigan in 1936.

Williams began his career as an attorney for the Social Security Board in Washington, D. C. In 1938 he returned to Michigan to serve as assistant attorney general under Raymond Starr. His public career took him back to Washington where he acted as executive assistant to United States Attorney General Frank Murphy, from 1939 to 1940. He continued to work for Murphy until 1941 as special assistant in the Criminal Division.

With American entry into World War II, Williams' public service took a new form. Despite being thirty-one years old and the father of a young son, Williams sought and gained a commission as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He saw active duty as an air combat intelligence officer in the Pacific theater. After his discharge in 1946, Williams served as deputy director of the Office of Price Administra-tion for Michigan until 1947. He then took a position as the Democratic member of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and used this post to build a network of supporters for his gubernatorial campaign in 1948.

Williams was elected governor of Michigan on the Democratic ticket in November 1948. The result was something of an upset in that Michigan was a strongly Republican state. Williams continued to upset Michigan Republicans, narrowly winning re-election in 1950, then winning the 1952, 1954, 1956, and 1958 elections. His re-election in 1958 gave him an unprecedented sixth consecutive term.

By not running for state office in 1960, Williams left himself available to serve the nation as a whole. At one time thought to be under consideration for the vice-presidency, Williams was eventually tapped by President Kennedy to serve as undersecretary of state for African Affairs. Williams held this post until 1966 when he decided to campaign for the U.S. Senate; he lost to Robert Griffin. Williams returned to the public sphere when President Johnson appointed him ambassador to the Philippines in 1967. He held this post until Richard Nixon became president in January 1969.

Williams resumed his career of public service to the state of Michigan by winning election to the State Supreme Court in 1970. He headed a reform movement within the judiciary to make administration of justice "effective and efficient." He served so capably during his first term that he was easily re-elected in 1978 and was elected Chief Justice by his peers in April 1983. Williams retired from the bench in 1987 and died February 2, 1988. He was survived by his wife, Nancy Quirk Williams, and three children, Gery, Nancy, and Wendy.

From the guide to the G. Mennen Williams papers, 1883-1988, 1958-1980, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
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creatorOf G. Mennen Williams papers, 1883-1988, 1958-1980 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn G. Mennen Williams and Nancy Quirk Williams oral history project, 1980-1982 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
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creatorOf Burnett, Chauncey Vincent, 1892-1963. Chauncey Vincent Burnett papers, 1929-1958 Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
referencedIn Donald S. Leonard Papers, 1925-1966 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Macalla, Michael J. Michael J. Macalla papers, 1918-1956. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Michigan. Governor (1949-1960 : Williams). [Messages to the Legislature] / G. Mennen Williams. Library of Michigan
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referencedIn William J. Norton papers, 1906-1987, 1916-1972 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
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referencedIn Margaret Bayne Price Papers, 1918-1969, 1947-1968 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Michigan Historical Collections. G. Mennen Williams and Nancy Quirk Williams oral history project, 1980-1982. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
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referencedIn Paul L. Adams papers, 1924-1976 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
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Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Abrams, Alan E. person
associatedWith Adams, Clark J., 1904-1981. person
associatedWith Adams, Paul L. (Paul Lincoln), 1908- person
correspondedWith Alexander, Gabriel N., 1910- person
associatedWith American Committee on Africa. corporateBody
associatedWith Angelo, Frank. person
associatedWith Arnett, Judd, 1911-1990. person
associatedWith Austin, Richard H. person
associatedWith Baber, George W. (George Wilbur), 1898-1970 person
associatedWith Bagwell, Paul Douglas, 1913-1973 person
correspondedWith Baker, Edward Ashley. person
correspondedWith Baker, Edward L., 1906-1987. person
associatedWith Bartlett, Lynn M. (Lynn Mahlon), 1904-1970. person
associatedWith Bates, Henry Moore, 1869-1949 person
associatedWith Berthelot, Helen W. person
associatedWith Billings, Lucille. person
associatedWith Boyles, Emerson R., 1881-1960 person
associatedWith Bransdorfer, Arnold. person
correspondedWith Brown, Ivan. person
associatedWith Bruff, John B. (John Bowman), 1929- person
associatedWith Bumgardner, Eleanor M. (Eleanor Margaret) person
associatedWith Burnett, Chauncey Vincent, 1892-1963 person
associatedWith Burns, Carolyn Sinelli, 1915- person
associatedWith Carey, Edward. person
associatedWith Cavanagh, Jerome Patrick, 1928-1979 person
associatedWith Cerf, Bennett, 1898-1971. person
associatedWith Cleary, Owen J., 1900-1960 person
associatedWith Cobo, Albert Eugene, 1893-1957 person
associatedWith Conlin, Rollo G., 1903-1974. person
correspondedWith Connor, Edward, 1908-1967. person
associatedWith Conyers, John, 1929- person
associatedWith Cramton, Louis C. (Louis Convers), b. 1875. person
associatedWith Democratic Party (Mich.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Detroit Allied Printing Trades Council. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit News Lansing Bureau. corporateBody
correspondedWith Dingwell, Robert E., 1922- person
associatedWith Downs, Tom, 1916- person
correspondedWith Edwards, George C. (George Clifton), 1914-1995. person
associatedWith Emma (Guffey) Miller, 1874-1970 person
associatedWith Engel, Albert J. (Albert Joseph), 1888-1959. person
associatedWith Farrell, Lawrence Llewellyn, 1903-1971. person
associatedWith Feikens, John, 1917- person
associatedWith Ferency, Zolton A., 1922- person
associatedWith Fogarty, John Edward, 1913-1967 person
associatedWith Ford, Gerald R., 1913- person
associatedWith Ford, William D. (William David), 1927- person
correspondedWith Gelles, Catherine, 1907-1985. person
associatedWith Gilmore, Horace. person
correspondedWith Gilmore, Horace W., 1918-2010. person
associatedWith Gingrich, Arnold. person
associatedWith Gorman, Michael A. (Michael Arthur), 1892-1958 person
associatedWith Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Greene, Robert J. person
associatedWith Griffin, Robert P. (Robert Paul), 1923- person
associatedWith Hamilton, Charles D. person
associatedWith Hammonds, Oliver W. (Oliver Wendell), 1911- person
associatedWith Hart, Adelaide, 1900- person
associatedWith Hart, Philip A. (Philip Aloysius), 1912-1976 person
associatedWith Hassing, Robert, person
associatedWith Hatcher, Harlan, 1898-1998. person
associatedWith Hillman, James R. (James Robert) person
associatedWith Hutchinson, Edward, 1914- person
correspondedWith International Union, United Automobile, Aircraft, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America. Local 157 (Detroit, Mich.) corporateBody
correspondedWith International Union, United Automobile, Aircraft, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America. Special Projects Dept. corporateBody
correspondedWith Jeffrey, Newman, 1910- person
associatedWith Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 person
associatedWith Johnston, Eric A. (Eric Allen), 1895-1963 person
correspondedWith Kaiser, Anthony. person
associatedWith Karoub, James, 1929-1994. person
associatedWith Kemp, Edward Gearing, 1887-1962. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Edward Moore, 1932- person
associatedWith Kennedy, G. Donald (George Donald), 1900-1988. person
associatedWith Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 person
associatedWith Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968 person
associatedWith King, Martin Luther, c Jr., 1929-1968 person
correspondedWith Kroll, Jack, 1885-1971. person
associatedWith Laird, David Burrington, 1943- person
associatedWith Lawrence, Howard Cyrus, 1890-1961 person
correspondedWith Lederle, Arthur F., 1887- person
associatedWith Leonard, Donald S. (Donald Sparling), 1903-1976 person
associatedWith Loveless, Herschel C. (Herschel Cellel), 1911-1989. person
associatedWith Lyon, Norm. person
correspondedWith Lyons, George, 1904- person
associatedWith Macalla, Michael J. person
associatedWith Macalla, Michael J. person
associatedWith Marshall, Lenore, 1897-1971. person
associatedWith Martin, Edward, person
associatedWith Martin, Edward, collector. person
associatedWith Martin, John Butlin, 1909- person
associatedWith Maybee, Rolland Harper, 1901- person
associatedWith McDaniels, John D., b. 1898. person
associatedWith McIntire, Sam, 1915-1988 person
associatedWith Michigan. Governor. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Governor (1949-1960 : Williams) corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Historical Collections. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Supreme Court. corporateBody
associatedWith Miller, Emma Guffey, 1874-1970. person
correspondedWith Miller, Richard, 1931- person
associatedWith Mitchell, Donald J., 1914-1975. person
associatedWith Moody, Blair, 1902-1954 person
associatedWith Mudge, James Maxwell, 1914-1970. person
associatedWith Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949 person
associatedWith Murphy, George, 1897-1961 person
correspondedWith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Detroit Branch. corporateBody
correspondedWith Norris, Harold. person
associatedWith Norton, William J. (William John), 1883-1975. person
associatedWith Nowack, Edward A. person
associatedWith Nye, Kathryn C. person
associatedWith Nye, Russel B. (Russel Blaine), 1913-1993. person
associatedWith O'Hara, Michael Daniel, 1910- person
associatedWith Osborn, Stellanova, 1894-1988. person
associatedWith Panchuk, John, 1904-1981 person
correspondedWith Panzner, John, 1883- person
associatedWith Patterson, Barbara Ann, 1938- person
correspondedWith Petitpren, Vincent J. (Vincent Joseph), 1927- person
associatedWith Phillips, Harriett person
associatedWith Pollock, James K. (James Kerr), 1898-1968. person
associatedWith Porter, Elmer R. person
associatedWith Pray, George Washington, 1825-1890 person
associatedWith Price, Margaret Bayne, 1912-1968 person
associatedWith Rahoi, Philip, 1896- person
associatedWith Reid, Ogden R. (Ogden Rogers), 1925- person
associatedWith Republican Party (Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Roberts, Dennis Joseph, 1903-1994. person
associatedWith Robinson, James Herman. person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
associatedWith Russell, Walter W., d. 1973. person
associatedWith Ruthven, Alexander Grant, 1882- person
associatedWith Rychlicki, Joseph C., 1908-1981. person
associatedWith Sallade, George Wahr, 1922- person
associatedWith Schneider, Samuel F. person
associatedWith Schoenbrun, David. person
associatedWith Scholle, August, 1904-1972 person
correspondedWith Seabron, William M., 1908- person
associatedWith Shattuck, Marquis E., 1888-1971. person
associatedWith Shelley, Rebecca, 1887-1984 person
associatedWith Smith, Otis Milton, 1922-1994 person
correspondedWith Snyder, Joseph M., 1915- person
correspondedWith Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. corporateBody
associatedWith Staebler, Neil, 1905- person
associatedWith Staebler, Neil, 1905-2000. person
associatedWith Starr, Raymond Wesley, 1888-1968. person
associatedWith Steinman, D. B. (David Barnard), 1886-1960 person
associatedWith Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965 person
associatedWith Sugden, Howard. person
associatedWith Swainson, John Burley, 1925- person
associatedWith Travis, DeHull N., 1882-1960. person
associatedWith Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972 person
associatedWith United States. Dept. of State. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Media Resources Center. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Oklahoma. Political Commercial Archive. corporateBody
correspondedWith Vanderploeg, Jan B., 1900- person
associatedWith Van Dusen, Richard C. (Richard Campbell), 1925- person
associatedWith Van Peursem, George M. person
associatedWith Van Wagoner, Murray Delos, 1898- person
associatedWith Wasem, Ruth Ellen. person
associatedWith Weideman, Carl May, 1898-1972 person
associatedWith Williams family. family
associatedWith Williams, Gerhard Mennen. person
associatedWith Williams, G. Mennen, Mrs. person
associatedWith Williams, John F., 1909- person
associatedWith Woodfill, William Stewart, 1896- person
associatedWith Ziegler, Charles M., 1888-1959. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Michigan
Philippines
Africa.
United States
United States
Philippines
Mackinac Bridge (Mich.)
Africa
Subject
Governors--Michigan
Television advertising
Elections--Michigan--1960
Elections--Michigan--1950
Advertising, political
Elections--Michigan--1952
Political elections
Radio advertising
Elections--Michigan--1966
Politics and government--1961-1970
Elections--Michigan--1954
Elections--Michigan--1958
Judges
Politics and government--1946-1960
Elections--Michigan--1956
Judges--Michigan
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1911-02-23

Death 1988-02-02

English

Information

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Ark ID: w6474c7p

SNAC ID: 49665154