Governors of Connecticut

Resources and Publications

This Connecticut State Library Pathfinder leads to online and print resources about Connecticut’s Governors, past and present.

State Capitol

Governors’ Web Pages
History of the Office of the Governor

Under the Fundamental Orders of 1639, and the Royal Charter of 1662, colonial Governors had limited authority over the other magistrates and the legislative body. The Constitution of 1818 provided for a distinct “supreme executive power” balanced by the legislature and the judiciary. It was not until the twentieth century however, that the Governor became a full-time chief executive. Wilbur L. Cross was the first full-time Governor. In 1945, Raymond E. Baldwin was the first chief executive to occupy the official residence, located at 990 Prospect Avenue in Hartford.

The State Constitution of 1965 transformed the Office of the Governor. Today, the Governor exercises powers common to chief executives: proposing legislation and reporting to the legislature; signing or vetoing bills; appointing or nominating commission and board members and higher judicial and executive branch officers; convening or adjourning the legislature during emergencies; and taking care “that the laws be faithfully executed” through budgetary powers and executive direction of state agencies under the office’s jurisdiction.

The laws of Connecticut did not allow governors to serve consecutive terms until 1660. In 1875, voters approved an amendment to the State Constitution increasing the term of the governor to two years. The 1965 State Constitution increased the term from two to four years. See the Roster of Connecticut Governors with With Links to Biographical Sketches, Portraits, and Finding Aids for a complete list of Connecticut Governors.

Archival Records

Please see the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections Materials.

Related Collections:

Published Materials:

The Connecticut Historical Society published several governor’s papers within the series Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, [CSL call number F 91 .C7], including George Wyllys (Volume 21), Joseph Talcott (Volumes 4 and 5), Jonathan Law (Volumes 11, 13, and 15), Roger Wolcott (Volume 16), Thomas Fitch (Volumes 17 and 18), William Pitkin (Volumes 19), and John Cotton Smith (Volumes 25 through 31).

Biographical Resources

Please see the Roster of Connecticut Governors with With Links to Biographical Sketches, Portraits, and Finding Aids.

Published Materials at the State Library:

  • Biographical Directory of American Colonial and Revolutionary Governors, 1607-1789, by John Raimo [CSL call number E 187.5 R34].
  • Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1994, by Robert Sobel and John Raimo [CSL call number GIRS Ref E 176 .B573].
  • The Governors of Connecticut… , by Frederick Calvin Norton [CSL call number History Reference F 93 .N 88 1905]. Includes biographies, portraits, and signatures of many Connecticut governors from John Haynes (1639) to Henry Roberts (1905).
  • Check the State Library catalog under the subject heading “Governors – Connecticut – Biography.”
  • Also search the subject field in the catalog under the names of individual governors for autobiographies.  Three examples are: Connecticut Yankee, an Autobiography, by Wilbur L. Cross; Promises to Keep; My Years in Public Life, 1941-1969, by Chester Bowles; and Maverick: A Life in Politics, co-authored by Lowell P. Weicker.

Clipping Files:

  • See the History and Genealogy Unit’s Biography Vertical File. There is also a folder entitled ‘Connecticut Governors’ in the History Vertical File.
  • The Law and Legislative Reference Unit’s biographical newspaper clipping file spans 1940-present.
  • A newspaper clipping file in the Newspaper Microfilm Room spans 1932-1992. Each year includes a folder entitled “Governor.”

Executive Orders are issued at the Governor’s discretion and do not require prior notice or hearing. They carry the full force of law.

All Executive Orders.

  • Executive Orders, 1955-present  [CSL Call Number ConnDoc G746 ex]
  • Executive Orders issued by Governor Dannel P. Malloy
  • Executive Orders issued by former Governor M. Jodi Rell, and her Executive Order 7A and Executive Order 7B concerning the State Contracting Standards Board
  • Executive Orders issued by former Governor John Rowland, and his Executive Order 16, concerning violence in the workplace
  • Executive Order 3, and Executive Order 17, issued by former Governor Thomas Meskill concerning equal opportunity in state contracts. See also: Thomas J. Meskill, RG 005:035, Executive Orders, 1971-1974

Official Statements are issued as broad ceremonial statements of general interest.

Press Releases

Proclamations are issued as required by Connecticut General Statutes 10-29a to proclaim certain days and weeks.

State of the State Addresses are also referred to as the Governor’s Annual Message to the General Assembly; delivered in compliance with the Constitution of the State of Connecticut (Conn. Constitution art. IV ss 11).

  • Connecticut Governor’s Messages, 1812-1959, [CSL Call Number ConnDoc G746]
  • Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Connecticut, 1846- present [CSL Call Number ConnDoc G253 jou]

Veto Messages

  • Connecticut Governor Veto Messages, 1943-1969 [CSL Call NumberConnDoc G746 ve]
  • Governor’s Press Releases,…Public Act Signatures, Veto messages, 1981-1998 [CSL Call Number ConnDoc G746 ppv]
  • Public and Special Acts, 1972-present  [CSL Call Number KFC 3625.A24]

For additional publications, check the State Library catalog under the author heading “Connecticut. Governor

Materials may be located within the Subject Files of individual governors in State Archives Record Group 005, Records of the Office of the Governor, 1630-2004.

Statutory Authority
Related Topics

Prepared jointly by the Government Information Reference Services Unit and the History and Genealogy Unit, January 2009. Revised January 2011 & 2019.