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Willkie, Wendell (1892–1944)

WENDELL WILLKIE WAS the Republican candidate for president in 1940 and the only major-party candidate of the 20th century who never held elective office. He lost to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who became the only person ever to win a third term. Lewis Wendell Willkie was born in Elwood, Indiana, fourth of the six children of German immigrants Herman and Henrietta (Trisch) Willkie. Henrietta Willkie was the first woman admitted to practice law in Indiana. The Willkies stressed education for their children; their personal library contained nearly 6,000 volumes. Willkie graduated from the Culver Military Academy and went on to the University of Indiana.

His political enemies later alleged that he was a rabble-rousing socialist in his college days, but in reality, he merely recruited students ...

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