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Horner, Henry


HORNER, HENRY (1878–1940), governor of Illinois from 1932 to 1940. Horner was born in Chicago, grandson of Henry Horner, an immigrant from Bavaria (1840) who was instrumental in founding the Chicago Board of Trade. The younger Horner began legal practice as a partner in the firm Whitney and Horner. In 1914 he became active in the Democratic Party, and was elected judge of the Probate Cook County, an office which he held for 18 years. During his career as probate judge, Horner gained national fame for promulgating the "Horner Plan," a method of protecting and probating the estates of servicemen without charge. In 1932 he was elected governor of Illinois by the largest popular vote ever received for that office to that time. He broke with the Chicago Democratic machine, yet was reelected in 1936. Horner fought corruption, supported President Roosevelt's New Deal Policy, and was unequivocally devoted to good government. Carl Sandburg, praising his integrity, said: "In an age flagrant with corruption, he was among those who came through clean and unspotted."

Horner participated actively in Jewish and general civic community life. He was a member of the board of directors of the Home for the Aged, Jewish Aid Society, Michael Reese Hospital, Central Council for Nursing Education, and Chicago Council of Boy Scouts. He was president of the Young Men's Associated Jewish Charities, and was involved in the U.S. Veteran's Bureau, the Masons, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Association of Commerce, and the Chicago and American Bar Associations. He had a great interest in Lincoln, and owned the world's most extensive collection of Lincolnia, which he contributed to the Illinois State Historical Society in 1933.

[Morris A. Gutstein]

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