Wisconsin History Day By Day

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"Kohler: A Political Birography of Walter J. Kohler, Jr." by Gregory Fossedal

"Wisconsin Blue Book" 1960


Ph.B. degree

Interesting Fact:

President Dwight Eisenhower once mentioned Kohler as a possible future Republican presidential prospect, and Kohler was among those talked about as possible vice-presidential candidates in 1956.

Study Questions:

  • What products are manufactured by the Kohler and Vollrath companies?
  • What were the major political issues while Kohler was governor in the 1950's?
  • How could Kohler defeat Proxmire twice in statewide elections, then lose the third? What were the vote totals in the three elections?

    U.S. historical events that occurred on April 4:

    1968: Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.

  • April 4

    Wisconsin's Governors

    Walter Kohler, Jr., 33rd governor of Wisconsin, was born on April 4, 1904 in Sheboygan. His father, Walter Kohler, Sr., was the 26th governor of Wisconsin. After receiving his Ph.B. degree in 1925, Kohler went to work for the family companies, first the Kohler Company and after World War II the Vollrath Company. In 1948 Kohler entered politics by becoming the delegate to the Republican National Convention. He won the election for governor in 1950 and was re-elected twice, defeating William Proxmire both times. Kohler ran for the U. S. Senate seat vacated by Joseph McCarthy but lost to Proxmire. Kohler returned to his position as president of the Vollrath Company. Died: March 21, 1976.

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