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21st Governor of
California, January 6, 1903 - January 8, 1907

Born:  July 25, 1857, in San Francisco, California

Died:  September 1, 1941, in Oakland, California

Marriage:  Helen Newhall Penniman (1887), 4 daughters


George Pardee was the first California governor to be born in California after it became a state. He was a medical doctor and kept his doctor’s bag ready to provide assistance while he was governor.


Early Life

George was born in San Francisco in 1857 and went to school there until his family moved across the bay to Oakland. His father was a medical doctor. George attended the University of California, earning a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1879 and a Master of Arts degree in 1881. He continued his education at Cooper Medical College and at the University of Leipzig (Germany), where he received a medical degree.



Pardee came back to Oakland to join his father in a medical practice, specializing in ear and eye medicine. Pardee’s political career began with a term on the Oakland City Council, followed by two years as mayor of Oakland. He was a candidate for governor in 1898, but withdrew in favor of Henry Gage, who then appointed him to the University of California board of regents. He was elected governor in 1902 by a small margin, with some ballots in dispute. The State Supreme Court decided the election in favor of Pardee



As governor, Pardee kept his door open to anyone with concerns. He was able to get much of his program, including support for high schools and a plan for conserving natural resources, passed by the legislature. Pardee spent time selecting school textbooks. His fiscal plan brought the state budget back into balance. During his term, the legislature named the Golden Poppy as California’s official state flower.

Pardee had the sad task of helping the San Francisco Bay area clean up after the 1906 earthquake and fire. He stayed in the disaster area where he took charge of sanitary regulations and declared daily bank holidays for six weeks.


Later Years

After his term, Pardee returned to his medical practice in Oakland. He worked for nature conservation causes, and on various city boards and commissions. In 1932 he was named “Outstanding Oakland Citizen.” Pardee died at the age of 84. Pardee Reservoir on the Mokelumne River was named for him.


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