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Governor Charles A. Sprague's Administration

Biographical Note

Charles Arthur Sprague was governor from Jan. 9, 1939 to Jan. 11, 1943.

Sprague was born in Lawrence, Kansas on November 12, 1887. In 1910, he received a degree in education from Monmouth College in Illinois. He then moved to the state of Washington where he eventually became assistant superintendent of public instruction. In 1915, he left the education field and turned to journalism, buying part interest in the Ritzville Journal Times. Coming to Oregon in 1925, Sprague assisted in the publishing of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and in 1929, became editor and manager of the Oregon Statesman in Salem. Sprague continued to publish the paper during his tenure as Governor. He served as a trustee of Albany College in 1937 and Willamette University in 1939.

Sprague was elected governor in 1938 and served only one term. During Governor Sprague's administration, Oregon became the first state to initiate control over logging operations to insure enforcement of progressive forest practices. These practices included reasonable protection of trees from slash burns, not harvesting immature trees during cutting operations, and retaining some mature trees for seeding purposes. In addition, a state forestry research program was adopted. Governor Sprague also dealt with labor disputes initiated by strong-willed labor leaders, and closely followed Oregon's participation in World War II.

Additional resources

McKay, Floyd J. An Editor for Oregon: Charles A. Sprague and the Politics of Change. Oregon State University Press, 1998.

Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722
Phone: (503) 986-1523 • Fax: (503) 986-1616 • oregon.sos@state.or.us

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