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Edward F. Arn

Politician, governor. Republican. Born: May 19, 1907, Kansas City. Died: January 22, 1998, Wichita Kansas. Served as 32nd Governor of Kansas: January 8, 1951, to January 10, 1955. 

Edward ArnEdward Ferdinand Arn was born in Kansas City on May 19, 1906, to Edward F. Arn and Grace Bell Edwards Arn. His father—a coal, feed, and building materials salesman—died when his son was only four months old. Arn was raised by his mother in Kansas City and Muncie, Kansas, where he also attended school. During his youth Arn performed various jobs to earn money for his education, doing such things as delivering groceries and newspapers, and working as a filling station attendant. In college Arn attended Kansas City Junior College, the University of Kansas, and in 1931, he graduated from the Kansas City School of Law. He was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1930 and the Kansas Bar in 1931.

Early in his career Arn worked as an investigator for the State Highway Commission of Kansas. Beginning in 1936 he practiced law in Wichita. During World War II he served as a lieutenant and security officer on board an aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy. Arn was heavily involved in Republican Party politics as early as his university days. While still a freshman in college he was chairman of the Wyandotte County Republicans. He was also a precinct committeeman for six years and a chairman of a congressional district of Young Republicans for six years.

During the gubernatorial campaigns of both Payne Ratner and Andrew Scheoppel, Arn served as campaign chairman. In this capacity he gained a statewide reputation within the Republican Party. In 1947 Arn was elected to the position of Kansas attorney general. In that position he attempted to strictly enforce the state 's prohibition laws, but concluded that successful enforcement would require legions of investigators and law enforcement officials. In 1949 Governor Frank Carlson appointed Arn to fill a vacancy on the State Supreme Court, a position he held only briefly.

In 1950 Arn resigned from the state's highest court to run for governor. He defeated Kenneth T. Anderson by more than 57, 000 votes and was elected the 35th governor of Kansas. Arn was re-elected in 1952, defeating the Democratic challenger, Tom Rooney.

Arn returned to Wichita to practice law after completing his second term in January 1955. In 1962 Arn tried for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, but lost to James B. Pearson. In 1973 the chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court appointed Arn to chair the Judicial Study Advisory Committee.

Arn first married Marcella Ruth Tillmore; they had two daughters, Barbara Claire and Delores Louise. Following Marcella's death in 1966, Arn married Catharine Phillipi Ross.

Arn was a member of several legal associations, clubs, and fraternal orders, such as the American Bar Association, the Kansas Bar Association, and the American Judicature Society. His fraternity was Delta Theta Pi. He was a member of the Masons, Lions International, Sojourners, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and Congregational church. Arn died in Wichita on January 22, 1998.

Entry: Arn, Edward F.

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2011

Date Modified: February 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.