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  Olson, Culbert L.
NameCulbert L. Olson
Los Angeles, California , United States
Born November 07, 1876
DiedApril 13, 1962 (85 years)
ContributorKarma Policeman
Last ModifedRBH
Jul 04, 2019 11:09pm
Tags Caucasian - Atheist - Secular Humanist - Straight -
InfoCulbert Olson was born in Filmore, Utah on 7th November, 1876. His mother was involved in the campaign for women's suffrage and eventually became the first female elected official in Utah. He was brought up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) but rejected religion at an early age.

At the age of fourteen Olson left school and found work as a telegraph operator. In 1890 Olson enrolled in the Brigham Young University at Provo, Utah. After graduating he found work as a journalist for the Daily Ogden Standard.

Olson took a keen interest in politics and in 1896 campaigned for William Jennings Bryan. He later moved to Washington as a newspaper correspondent.

Olson studied law at George Washington University and the University of Michigan and was admitted to the Utah Bar in 1901. Olson became a lawyer in Salt Lake City. A member of the Democratic Party, Olson was elected to the state legislature of Utah in 1916. Over the next four years he advocated an end to child labour, progressive taxation, old age pensions, government control of public utilities and legislation to protect the rights of trade unionists.

In 1920 Olson moved to Los Angeles. In his law practice he gained a reputation for investigating business fraud. In the 1924 presidential election he campaigned for Robert La Follette and the Progressive Party and later for the novelist, Upton Sinclair, when he tried to become Governor of California.

A strong supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, in 1934 Olson became state chairman of the Democratic Party. In November 1938 Olson was elected as Governor of California, the first Democrat to hold this office for forty-four years.

One of the first acts was to pardon Tom Mooney, a trade union leader who had been convicted of a bombing which occurred in San Francisco in 1916. Although strong evidence existed that the District Attorney of the time, Charles Fickert, had framed Mooney, the Republican governors during this period, William Stephens (1917-1923), Friend Richardson (1923-1927), Clement Young (1927-1931), James Rolph (1931-1934) and Frank Merriam (1934-39) refused to order his release. In October 1939, Olson pardoned Warren Billings, a friend of Mooney's who had also been imprisoned for the bombing.

As governor Olson tried to introduce an advanced New Deal in California. In Olson's words that would provide "economic security from the cradle to the grave, under a government that recognizes the right to an education, to employment on a basis of just reward, and to retirement at old age in comfort and decency, as inalienable as the right to life itself."

Olson was defeated in his campaign to be re-elected in 1942. Olson, an atheist, told a friend that he lost "because of the active hostility of a certain privately owned power corporation and the Roman Catholic Church in California."

In 1957 Culbert Olson became president of the United Secularists of America and held the post until his death in Los Angeles on 13th April, 1962.



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Mother Delilah King Olson 1841-1907
Grandfather Thomas Rice King 1813-1879
Uncle William Rice King 1834-1892
1st Cousin William H. King 1863-1949

Governor Culbert Olson Inaugural Address January 2, 1939  Discuss
  11/03/1942 CA Governor Lost 41.75% (-15.32%)
  08/25/1942 CA Governor - R Primary Lost 0.52% (-93.70%)
  08/25/1942 CA Governor - D Primary Won 51.98% (+10.99%)
  11/08/1938 CA Governor Won 52.49% (+8.32%)
  08/30/1938 CA Governor - D Primary Won 41.97% (+23.02%)
  08/30/1938 CA Governor - R Primary Lost 0.60% (-54.25%)
  08/30/1938 CA Governor - Prog. Primary Lost 41.18% (-15.44%)
  11/06/1934 CA State Senate 38 Won 47.86% (+3.05%)
US Vice President - D Convention - Jul 21, 1944 D Henry A. Wallace
CA US President - Nov 05, 1940 D Franklin Delano Roosevelt
CA US President - Nov 03, 1936 D Franklin Delano Roosevelt
CA Governor - Nov 06, 1934 D Upton Sinclair
CA Lt. Governor - Nov 06, 1934 D Sheridan Downey
CA Governor - D Primary - Aug 28, 1934 D Upton Sinclair
CA US President - Nov 08, 1932 D Franklin Delano Roosevelt
CA US President - D Primary - May 03, 1932 D Franklin Delano Roosevelt
CA US President - Nov 04, 1924 R Robert Marion La Follette
UT US President - Nov 03, 1896 D William Jennings Bryan