Thomas LeRoy Collins

Thomas LeRoy Collins

The Collins Family,1957

33rd Governor of Florida (1955-1961)

Personal Background:

  • Born March 10, 1909- Tallahassee, FL
  • Died March 12, 1991- Tallahassee, FL
  • First Lady Mary Call Darby Collins, married 1932, four children


  • Graduated from Leon High School, Tallahassee, FL
  • Attended Eastman School of Business, Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Graduated from Cumberland University's law school, Lebanon, TN

Service to Florida:

Elected Florida House of Representatives- Leon County, 1934; Re-elected- 1936, 1938. Elected Florida Senate, 1940, 1942. Resigned to serve in United States Navy World War II; Re-elected Florida Senate 1946, 1950.Elected governor 1954 to complete remaining term of late-Governor Dan McCarty; Re-elected governor four-year term, 1956. First American governor to simultaneously serve as Chairman of the Southern Governors' Conference and National Governors' Conference. Since Civil War, first governor to serve as permanent chairman of Democratic National Convention, 1960, Los Angeles, CA.

The Collins Family, 1957

Most Notable Contributions as Governor:

Governor Collins created the State Development Commission to promote Florida industry, agriculture and tourism at every opportunity. His lasting legacy was the modernization of Florida's public school system from elementary school through university. He sponsored the state's first community college system and the expansion of additional universities. His moderation in respect to race relations during the turbulent late 50's and early 60's ensured that Florida experienced calmer racial integration than other states.

For Additional Information:

  • Floridian of His Century: The Courage of Governor LeRoy Collins, by Martin Dyckman
  • First Families in Residence: Life at the Florida Governor's Mansion by Ellen Uguccioni
  • Governor LeRoy Collins of Florida, Spokesman of the New South, by Thomas Wagy
  • 700 North Adams Street, by First Lady Rhea Chiles and the Florida Governor's Mansion Foundation, Inc.
  • LeRoy Collins Institute, Florida State University
  • LeRoy Collins Letters, Florida State University