Herbert O'Conor

Herbert R. O'Conor
United States Senator
from Maryland
In office
January 3, 1947  January 3, 1953
Preceded by George L. P. Radcliffe
Succeeded by James Glenn Beall
51st Governor of Maryland
In office
January 11, 1939  January 3, 1947
Preceded by Harry W. Nice
Succeeded by William Preston Lane, Jr.
Attorney General of Maryland
In office
Preceded by William Preston Lane, Jr.
Succeeded by William C. Walsh
Personal details
Born (1896-11-17)November 17, 1896
Baltimore, Maryland
Died March 4, 1960(1960-03-04) (aged 63)
Baltimore, Maryland
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Eugenia Byrnes
Children Herbert R. Jr., Eugene F., James P., Robert, and Mary P. O'Conor
Residence Baltimore, Maryland
Alma mater Loyola College
University of Maryland School of Law
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Unit Reserves
Battles/wars World War I

Herbert Romulus O'Conor (November 17, 1896  March 4, 1960) was the 51st Governor of Maryland, serving from 1939 to 1947. He also served in the United States Senate, representing Maryland from 1947 to 1953. He was a Democrat.

O'Conor was born in Baltimore, Maryland to James P. A. O'Conor and Mary Ann (Galvin) O'Conor. He received his B.A. degree from Loyola College and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1920. While in school, O'Conor was a reporter for the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Evening Sun from 1919 to 1920. On November 24, 1920, O'Conor married Mary Eugenia Byrnes (1896–1971) and they had five children, Herbert R. Jr., Eugene F., James Patrick, Robert and Mary Patricia.

From 1921 to 1922, O'Conor served as the assistant state's attorney for Baltimore. In 1923, he was elected State's Attorney of Baltimore City, and served there until he was elected as the Attorney General of Maryland in 1934. O'Conor also served in the National Association of Attorneys General in 1937. His secretary, Camilla Conroy, died in the burning of the luxury liner SS Morro Castle in 1934. O'Conor identified her body which was found face under close to the wreck site.

O'Conor was elected as Governor of Maryland in 1938, defeating incumbent Republican governor Harry W. Nice. In doing so, he became the first Roman Catholic of Irish descent to serve in that position. As governor, O'Conor created the Maryland Council of Defense during the Second World War. He also worked towards improving the state transportation system, and worked towards the construction of new bridges over the Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers. He also worked with other states to encourage inter-state cooperation, and served in positions including the Chairman of the Governor's Conference in 1941, and the President of the Council of State Government in 1943.

Near the end of World War II, O'Conor sought to improve the effects of the War and founded the Commission on Post War Reconstruction and Development. He also sought to improve the Maryland healthcare system.

O'Conor was elected to the United States Senate in 1946, but chose not to run for re-election in 1952. In the Senate, Hughes served as chairman of the Special Committee on Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce during the Eighty-first Congress. After his tenure in Senate, he continued the practice of law in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., until his death in Baltimore. He is interred in New Cathedral Cemetery.

Building dedications


  1. Joseph Rocco Mitchell, David L. Stebenne. New City Upon a Hill. p. 39.
Legal offices
Preceded by
William Preston Lane, Jr.
Attorney General of Maryland
Succeeded by
William C. Walsh
Political offices
Preceded by
Harry W. Nice
Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
William Preston Lane, Jr.
United States Senate
Preceded by
George L. P. Radcliffe
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Maryland
Served alongside: Millard Tydings, John Butler
Succeeded by
James Glenn Beall
Party political offices
Preceded by
George L.P. Radcliffe
Democratic nominee for United States Senator from Maryland
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
George P. Mahoney
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