David Ignatius Walsh
Painting: by Edmund Charles Tarbell, 1924

Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:1914-1916

David I. Walsh was Massachusetts' first Governor of Irish-Catholic heritage and the Commonwealth's first Irish-Catholic Senator. His two terms as Governor focused on labor issues, education, and securing voting rights for women.

Born the son of a comb maker in Leominster, Massachusetts, Walsh attended public schools before attending Holy Cross and Boston University School of Law. He began legal practice in Fitchburg, serving a single term as a member of Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1900-1901. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1913, serving until his election as Governor in 1914.

Governor Walsh campaigned to secure women's voting rights and to reform Massachusetts' workers compensation system. Though he lost his second bid for reelection, Walsh reentered politics as a U.S. Senator 1918-1925. After losing his Senate reelection effort in 1925, he was appointed to complete the term of Henry Cabot Lodge who died in office. Senator Walsh would win reelection to this seat every year until 1947, serving as the Chair of the Senate's Education and Labor Committees.