Reference Entry

Folsom, James E.

Randy Finley

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Folsom, James E. (09 October 1908–21 November 1987), governor of Alabama, , known as "Big Jim" Folsom, was born James Elisha Folsom on a farm in Coffee County, Alabama, the son of Joshua Marion Folsom, a planter and county official, and Eulala Cornelia Dunnavant. Growing up in the wire grass region of southeastern Alabama, he spent hours with his father soaking up the rural political culture. After Folsom’s father died of alcohol poisoning in 1919, the family endured economic hardship. Able to attend the University of Alabama and Howard College (later Samford University) only sporadically, Folsom joined the merchant marine and worked in Europe and Asia. He then returned to Alabama, and family connections helped him gain a Civil Works Administration post in 1933. He proved to be a creative administrator who responded to farmers’ actual needs. From that Marshall County position he went to work in Washington, D.C., and attended night classes. In 1936 he returned to Alabama and married Sarah Carnley. They had two children before she died in 1944....

Reference Entry.  1135 words. 

Subjects: US Politics ; State and Local Government

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