Christian Archibald Herter
Painting: by Gardner Cox, 1957

Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: 1953-1957

Born in Paris in 1895, Christian Herter was an architect of American foreign policy and served in top state legislative and executive roles. Mr. Herter was educated in Paris and New York and graduated from Harvard College in 1915. He received a posting as attaché at the American Embassy in Berlin (1915-16) and served in the State Department in Washington, D.C., (1917-1919).

Mr. Herter was Herbert Hoover's Executive Secretary at the European Relief Council in 1920, and joined him as Executive Assistant when he became U.S. Secretary of Commerce. He edited and published the newspaper, The Independent and relocated to Boston where he served as a visiting lecturer on government at Harvard. Mr. Herter was elected a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1931-1943), where he served as Speaker of the House (1939-1943). Between 1943 and 1952, he represented Massachusetts in Congress, before running as a Republican and winning the Massachusetts Governorship.

Governor Herter introduced statewide merit based auto insurance, group insurance to state employees, and public housing for the elderly. In 1954, Republicans lost their majority in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, which stymied the majority of Herter's remaining initiatives. In 1956, he declined to run for a third term and that year was a candidate for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination. He was appointed Under Secretary of State in 1957, and two years later Herter was named Secretary of State. In 1961, he received the United States' highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal of Freedom and served as the President's special representative for trade negotiations from 1963 until 1967.