Wilbur Lucius Cross, Ph. D.
1862 – October 5, 1948) was an American educator and political figure who was Governor of
Connecticut for eight years.
1862 in Mansfield,
Connecticut, Cross graduated from Yale University (B.A.
served as principal of Staples High
School in Westport, Connecticut for a short time around 1885 before returning to
Yale as a graduate student, earning a Ph.D. in
literature in 1889.
became a well-known literary
critic, was Professor of English at Yale University and the first Dean
of the Yale Graduate School, from
1916 to 1930.
Along with Tucker Brooke, Cross was the editor
of the Yale Shakespeare
; he also
edited the Yale Review
almost 30 years. He wrote several books, including Life and
Times of Laurence Sterne
(1909) and The History of Henry
(1918), and several books on the English novel.
retiring from Yale, Cross was elected governor of Connecticut as a Democrat in 1930 and served
as Governor for four two-year terms, from 1931 to 1939.
was defeated in 1938 in his attempt to gain re-election for a fifth
term. He is credited with passage of several items of reform
legislation during his tenure of governor, including measures
related to the abolition of child labor
governmental reorganization, and improved factory laws.
Wilbur Cross High School in
Connecticut, Wilbur Cross School in Bridgeport,
Connecticut, and Connecticut's Wilbur Cross Parkway were named in his
honor, as was the Wilbur L.
Cross Medal for outstanding
achievement in professional life, awarded by Yale. The first campus
library at the University of Connecticut (then Connecticut State College), built with bond
revenues authorized during Cross' governorship and opened in 1939,
was named for Cross in 1942.
Wilbur Cross's autobiography
, was published in 1943. He died on
October 5, 1948 in New Haven, aged 86.
Literary Figure, Not Politician, University of
Connecticut Advance, November 12, 2002