Edward J. Thye
|United States Senator|
January 3, 1947 - January 3, 1959
|26th Governor of Minnesota|
April 27, 1943 - January 8, 1947
|Lieutenant||C. Elmer Anderson|
Archie H. Miller
|31st Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota|
January 4, 1943 - April 27, 1943
|C. Elmer Anderson|
|Archie H. Miller|
Edward John Thye
April 26, 1896
Frederick, South Dakota, U.S.
|Died||August 28, 1969 (aged 73)|
Northfield, Minnesota, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Hazel Ramage (1921), Myrtle Ennor Oliver (1942)|
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.
Edward Thye was born on a farm near Frederick, South Dakota. One of nine children, he was the son of Andrew John and Bertha (née Wangan) Thye. His father, a farmer, was born in Norway and immigrated to the United States in 1872. His brother was Ted Thye, who became a professional wrestler in the Pacific Northwest.
In 1904, Thye and his family moved to Northfield, Minnesota, where he received his early education at local public schools. He took courses at the Tractor and Internal Combustion School in Minneapolis in 1913, and graduated from the American Business College in 1916. 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. He served overseas in France, and was eventually promoted to the rank of second lieutenant.
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. He married Hazel Ramage (daughter of Robert and Bertha (Frink) Ramage) in 1921, and the couple remained married until her death in 1936; they had one daughter, Jean Roberta. He continued to work for Deere until 1922, when he became manager and owner of a dairy farm near Northfield.
In 1925, Thye was elected to the town council of Sciota. He later served a number of years on the Sciota school board. 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). He became friends with Harold Stassen, and actively supported his successful campaign for Governor of Minnesota in 1938. He subsequently served as the Dairy and Food Commissioner of Minnesota and deputy commissioner of agriculture (1939-1942).
Thye was elected the 31st Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota in November 1942. That same month, he was remarried to Myrtle Ennor Oliver; the couple remained married until his death. On April 27, 1943, Governor Stassen resigned to serve in the United States Navy and Thye succeeded him as the 26th Governor of Minnesota. He was elected governor in his own right in November 1944, receiving the largest majority ever won by a gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota.
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.
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. He also increased spending for highway construction and unemployment compensation.
Thye was elected as a United States Senator in 1946 after defeating Henrik Shipstead in the Republican primary and defeating the Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate, Theodore Jorgenson, with 58.9% of the vote. He served in the Senate from January 3, 1947, to January 3, 1959, in the 80th, 81st, 82nd, 83rd, 84th, and 85th Congresses. Thye voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He lost his reelection bid in 1958 to Eugene McCarthy.
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.
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of Minnesota
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
1946, 1952, 1958
Wheelock Whitney Jr.
C. Elmer Anderson
| Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
Archie H. Miller
| Governor of Minnesota
| U.S. senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Joseph H. Ball, Hubert Humphrey