Michigan and the Great Lakes

The Boy Governor

Stevens T. Mason and the Birth of Michigan Politics
Don Faber
The definitive biography of the youngest state governor in American history


In 1831, Stevens T. Mason was named Secretary of the Michigan Territory at the tender age of 19, two years before he could even vote. The youngest presidential appointee in American history, Mason quickly stamped his persona on Michigan life in large letters. After championing the territory's successful push for statehood without congressional authorization, he would defend his new state's border in open defiance of the country's political elite and then orchestrate its expansion through the annexation of the Upper Peninsula—all before his official election as Michigan's first governor at age 24, the youngest chief executive in any state's history.

The Boy Governor tells the complete story of this dominant political figure in Michigan's early development. Capturing Mason's youthful idealism and visionary accomplishments, including his advocacy for a strong state university and legislating for the creation of the Soo Locks, this biography renders a vivid portrait of Michigan's first governor—his conflicts, his desires, and his sense of patriotism. This book will appeal to anyone with a love of American history and interest in the many, larger-than-life personalities that battled on the political stage during the Jacksonian era.

"With exhaustive research and engaging writing, Don Faber weaves an extraordinary account of one of Michigan's most extraordinary political figures, the Boy Governor who led Michigan to statehood. Stevens T. Mason, branded 'Young Hotspur' by President Andrew Jackson, achieved young and died young in the 19th century but remains a compelling story today for those who follow and pursue politics, with all its highs and lows."
—George Weeks, Syndicated Columnist, "Michigan Politics"

Cover: Portrait of Stevens T. Mason by Alvin Smith. Courtesy State Archives of Michigan.

Don Faber is author of The Toledo War, winner of the 2009 Michigan Notable Book Award. Former editor of the Ann Arbor News, he also served on the staff of the Michigan Constitutional Convention, won a Ford Foundation Fellowship to work in the Michigan Senate, and was a speechwriter for Michigan governor George Romney.

Praise / Awards

  • "[An] excellent addition to American political biography shelves."
    The Midwest Book Review

  • "This book deserves to be read, and Stevens T. Mason's brilliant and tragic story deserves to be remembered."
    —Jack Lessenberry, The Toledo Blade

  • Michigan Notable Book Award 2013

News, Reviews, Interviews

Watch: Don Faber discusses The Boy Governor | Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library | January 24, 2013
Read: A notable book for a notable governor | Traverse City Record-Eagle | December 30, 2012

Read: Michigan's 'boy governor' Tom Mason: 'lightning rod, prophet, and statesman | Toledo Blade | December 2, 2012

Listen: Jack Lessenberry discusses The Boy Governor | Michigan Radio | October 26, 2012 

Read: Boy governor's remains can't be found | Detroit News | June 29, 2010 


Media Kit

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 224pp.
  • 12 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2012
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05158-8

Add to Cart
  • $26.95 U.S.

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  • Michigan territory, Northwest Ordinance, Toledo War, Young Hotspur, Sault Locks , Upper Peninsula, Andrew Jackson