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Edward John Thye

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Title: Edward John Thye  
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Subject: Minnesota gubernatorial election, 1944, Harold Stassen, Henrik Shipstead, John Sparkman, Eugene McCarthy
Collection: 1896 Births, 1969 Deaths, American Lutherans, American Military Personnel of World War I, American Military Personnel of World War II, American People of Norwegian Descent, Governors of Minnesota, Lieutenant Governors of Minnesota, Minnesota City Council Members, Minnesota Republicans, People from Brown County, South Dakota, People from Northfield, Minnesota, People from Rice County, Minnesota, Republican Party State Governors of the United States, Republican Party United States Senators, United States Army Air Forces Soldiers, United States Navy Personnel, United States Senators from Minnesota
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Edward John Thye

Edward J. Thye
United States Senator
from Minnesota
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1959
Preceded by Henrik Shipstead
Succeeded by Eugene McCarthy
26th Governor of Minnesota
In office
April 27, 1943 – January 8, 1947
Lieutenant C. Elmer Anderson
Archie H. Miller
Preceded by Harold Stassen
Succeeded by Luther Youngdahl
31st Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
In office
January 4, 1943 – April 27, 1943
Governor Harold Stassen
Preceded by C. Elmer Anderson
Succeeded by Archie H. Miller
Personal details
Born (1896-04-26)April 26, 1896
Frederick, South Dakota
Died August 28, 1969(1969-08-28) (aged 73)
Northfield, Minnesota
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Hazel Ramage (1921), Myrtle Ennor Oliver (1942)
Profession politician
Religion Lutheranism

Edward John Thye (April 26, 1896 – August 28, 1969) was an American politician. A member of the Republican Party, he was the 26th Governor of Minnesota (1943–1947) before serving as a United States Senator from 1947 to 1959.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Early career 2
  • Governor of Minnesota 3
  • U.S. Senate 4
  • Death 5
  • Papers 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life and education

Edward Thye was born on a farm near Frederick, South Dakota.[1] One of nine children, he was the son of Andrew John and Bertha (née Wangan) Thye.[2] His father, a farmer, was born in Norway and immigrated to the United States in 1872.[3] His brother was Ted Thye, who became a professional wrestler in the Pacific Northwest.[4]

In 1904, Thye and his family moved to Northfield, Minnesota, where he received his early education at local public schools.[5] He took courses at the Tractor and Internal Combustion School in Minneapolis in 1913, and graduated from the American Business College in 1916.[2] Following the entry of the United States into World War I, he enlisted as a private in the United States Army Air Corps in 1917.[1] He served overseas in France, and was eventually promoted to the rank of second lieutenant.[3]

Early career

Following his military service, Thye returned to Minnesota in 1919 and was employed as a tractor expert with the Deere & Webber Company in Minneapolis, becoming a salesman in 1920.[5] He married Hazel Ramage in 1921, and the couple remained married until her death in 1936; they had one daughter, Jean Roberta.[3] He continued to work for Deere until 1922, when he became manager and owner of a dairy farm near Northfield.[6]

In 1925, Thye was elected to the town council of Sciota.[7] He later served a number of years on the Sciota school board.[7] He was president of the Dakota County Farm Bureau (1929–1931), director of Twin City Milk Producers Association (1933), and appraiser for the Federal Land Bank of Minnesota (1933–1934).[6] He became friends with Harold Stassen, and actively supported his successful campaign for Governor of Minnesota in 1938.[6] He subsequently served as the Dairy and Food Commissioner of Minnesota and deputy commissioner of agriculture (1939–1942).[1]

Governor of Minnesota

Thye was elected the 31st Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota in November 1942.[1] That same month, he was remarried to Myrtle Ennor Oliver; the couple remained married until his death.[2] On April 27, 1943, Governor Stassen resigned to serve in the United States Navy and Thye succeeded him as the 26th Governor of Minnesota.[7] He was elected governor in his own right in November 1944, receiving the largest majority ever won by a gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota.[4]

Thye in the 1944 presidential election joined U.S. Senator Henrik Shipstead, an isolationist in foreign policy in supporting Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey, the governor of New York, However, Minnesota's other Republican senator at the time, Joseph H. Ball, later defeated by Hubert H. Humphrey, refused to support Dewey on foreign policy and crossed party lines to back Franklin D. Roosevelt, who won Minnesota's eleven electoral votes.[8]

During his state administration, Thye established the Department of Aeronautics, the Iron Range Rehabilitation Commission, a post-war planning commission, and a human rights commission.[5] He also increased spending for highway construction and unemployment compensation.[5]

U.S. Senate

Thye was elected as a 80th, 81st, 82nd, 83rd, 84th, and 85th Congresses. He lost his reelection bid in 1958 to Eugene McCarthy.


He died on August 28, 1969 in Northfield, Minnesota, aged 73.[4] He was buried at the Oaklawn Cemetery in Northfield.


Edward J. Thye papers including correspondence, speeches, background materials, bills and reports, clippings, campaign literature, and related materials reflecting Thye's public and official activities as U.S. senator (Republican) from Minnesota, 1947-1958, are available for research use.


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ a b c d
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^ David M. Jordan, FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 (Blomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2011), pp. 276-277) ISBN 978-0-253-35683-3

External links

  • A film clip "Longines Chronoscope with Edward J Thye" is available for free download at the Internet Archive
Political offices
Preceded by
C. Elmer Anderson
Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Archie H. Miller
Preceded by
Harold Stassen
Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Luther Youngdahl
United States Senate
Preceded by
Henrik Shipstead
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Joseph H. Ball, Hubert Humphrey
Succeeded by
Eugene McCarthy
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